Thursday, December 30, 2010



This is the "Mommy, is Grandma making this quilt for me because she knows how much I love flowers?" quilt. I really intended it to be just a 'utility' quilt for around here in the summer but how can a grandma resist a request like that? It occurred to me the other day as I was trying to fold the many quilts she already owns and she insisted she likes them "jumbled" that she doesn't even like being covered up when she sleeps! For a couple of years I scrounged pink flower fat quarters intending to make a pink and white dresden plate quilt. One day last summer I just got tired of moving the stash from one place to the next so I cut triangles, sewed them back together in no order and bordered it in a soft pink. Utility quilt. It is girly pretty, though. And I still have scraps.

Today, Patient Husband and I saw a phenominally good movie. Run, don't walk to the theater to see The King's Speech ! Oh, my goodness.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All is calm

All is calm, all is bright
This is the picture of the beach and lighthouse this morning. The church has the best real estate in town and after Mass this morning we stopped so I could take a picture of the ice encased light house, snowy quiet beach and the blue sky just starting to peek through the clouds. It really was beautiful, and a sight the summer people just don't appreciate. But we do.

We had a quiet day today, just Patient Husband and I. You'd never have known it was the holiday. We had our time with our kids the weekend before so this weekend was very quiet. After a nap we went to some friends' house to help eat the leftovers from their Christmas after their kids left. We love their company so the evening was good.

Last night, Christmas eve, we, my siblings, their children and ours spent the evening with my mom. That's us. You know Elizabeth and wiggly Adelaide. My daughter, Lisa, my mom and me.

Yummy in your tummy!!!

Now Christmas is over, it's time to start thinking of gooey goodies for the New Year's celebration. That, too, is very quiet for Patient Husband and I. We decided long ago not to pay the prices of going out on New Year's Eve, the weather is usually snowy horrid, and believe it or not, the New Year arrives even without our supervision. BUT I must tell you about this wonderful recipe I ripped from a magazine just before Christmas. I made it and it's a wonderful (shhh....healthy!), delicious snack that could easily be a meal.

Take three different kinds of olives, I used a pimento stuffed green, a black and a burgundy. Next time I'll be more adventurous. Drain them. The recipe calls for one cup of each but I just used the whole jar. It was close enough.
Toss the olives with:
1/4 cup olive oil,
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence (a mixture of rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram),
8 cloves garlic (I used two tablespoons jarred minced garlic)
One pint grape or cherry tomatoes (I used two pints)
Bake at (our) 350 degrees till the tomatoes pop

Serve at room temperature spooning some of the mixture and olive oil onto slices of toasted baguette or crackers.
This was amazingly good. I told Patient Husband I could make a meal of it. And what part of it isn't good for you?

I just looked at the clock and it's ten minutes past Christmas. Hope yours was a nice one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Deja Vu

Fifty nine years ago this is what I looked like.

She's pretty darned cute in that apron she got from Aunt Erin for Christmas! Isn't that the cutest apron you've ever seen? Isn't she the cutest little girl? She took to it like I take to aprons, too. She wore it all day Saturday and Sunday.

Everyone kept saying this is what I look like in an apron NOW! Top to bottom. All she needs is the ladle in her hand. I guess it could be worse than to look like this sweetie.

We had our family Christmas last weekend so we corralled the kids for a picture but poor Charlie was feeling very poorly - isn't someone always sick (or pregnant) over Christmas? Around here it seems so. Usually it's me after being exposed to 450 children at school, more than half of them coughing and sneezing. Charlie was battling a bad fever and just couldn't get his little self off the couch or someone's lap. It was sad to have him miss the fun of playing with Elizabeth and Adelaide but he just couldn't move. His little sister Cecilia was in top form for the both of them, though. Sweethearts all. We had a good weekend. I hope all of you have a good one this Christmas weekend coming up.

This is my recipe file. It's one of those challenges in life. When I need something I sit on the couch or at the dining table and start going through it. Problem is, I know if it's in here somewhere. I know if it's a torn out magazine page or a newspaper clipping or a notecard or something scribbled on a napkin. I know what I'm looking for, and if I tried to organize this, or as Patient Husband suggested, putting them on the computer, then I wouldn't know what I'm looking for. I did once, when the kids each got married I typed out a cookbook for them to take with them to their new life. I included all of the things they liked and the things they'll wish they asked for when I'm dead. It would have been so easy to print one out for myself, but I didn't. I wouldn't know what I'm looking for.

Friend Marilyn tried to make the peppermint patties from a previous post. I heard from my daughter that Friend Marilyn was not happy. She didn't have much fun and said she wouldn't make them again. Whoa! Friend Marilyn! Not so fast! Before going to that extreme, let's go over this a little. Turns out the problem for her was the chocolate. I melt mine in the microwave so the chocolate can be very runny. Hers was over a double boiler and was thicker than mine. My trick to melting chocolate in the microwave is a trick Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten also uses (and, by the way, a technique I am pleased to say I used before seeing her do this). When microwaving the chocolate, first temper it a little by putting the control on defrost for a slow, slow start. Then I put it on a higher temperature for one minute at a time till it's melted. I can then control how thick its consistency is and it won't seize. You want the chocolate runny, not thick. So, Friend Marilyn, don't give up. These are the easiest thing you will ever make. Give them another try. Valentine's day is coming and they can be tinted a sweet pink.

We hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first one to find it gets an extra gift. It was daughter Lisa's turn to hide the pickle and provide the gift (each year's finder is next year's hider/gifter). Patient Husband found it and this was the gift. Well, I was excited about this book because just a couple of weeks ago I tore out an article from the newspaper about this and tucked it away for future reference. Patient Husband heard a story on NPR yesterday with the author. I'm sorry I missed it. It's very interesting and I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening with it. I'm always interested in the historical record and this is fascinating.

All in all it's been a festive Christmas weekend for us. Patient Husband is back at work till end of day tomorrow, I've been catching up on sleep with a long, long nap yesterday and one coming up yet today, and reading and when I can keep my eyes open for more than an hour I'll start stitching again. I never realize how tired I am from my job until I have a few days off and can let down for more than a weekend.
As you all prepare for this coming weekend of festivities with families, I hope it's all good.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Is there anything that says "Christmas Baking" like butter? At Christmas you have to be a purist on this. Nothing says lovin' like something baked with butter! It smells wonderful while it's baking and with the very first taste it says you cared enough to use the best.
I made a small batch of cookies Sunday. It was my one nod to an old tradition of baking lots and lots of kinds of Christmas cookies, but as the years have passed I whittled down the dozens to three kinds and now that everyone is gone but Patient Husband and me, we certainly don't need anything like dozens of cookies around the house. So this year I made one kind. A simple sugar cookie that everyone will eat so there won't be many left when they all go home Sunday afternoon. They are in the freezer, staying fresh, waiting for the frosting and sprinkles. I can hear them giggling when I open the freezer.
The telephone rang this morning at 5:45 a.m. and I jumped out of bed pumping the air in a "YES!!" cheer because the only phone call I get at that time of the morning is the robot call saying we have a snow day! We didn't get much snow here but we had rain that turned to snow and bitter cold with blizzard winds that froze every surface solid. We didn't have to dig out from several inches of snow but we surely had to watch our step on the ice. Driving would have been tragic for the kids on school busses and people like me who have to drive for an hour on a good day. I had SO much to do to get ready for next weekend when the kids come for our Christmas a whole week earlier than actual Christmas. While we will finish sooner than everyone else, we also have to be ready before everyone else! Over the weekend I wrapped, cleaned corners, dug out pots and pans, made lists and today did more of the same. In the afternoon we ventured to the grocery to buy supplies. Tomorrow we go back to work but with the feeling of much accomplished.
This day was a gift. I hope yours had gift moments, too.

Saturday our good friend Bob treated Patient Husband and I to the experience of WICKED! Oh, my goodness, it was the most amazing performance I've seen in years. If you ever, ever get the chance to see this play, run don't walk to the ticket office.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I, Bookwoman, went from this:


Yes, I did it. I, Bookwoman, bought a gadget. A book gadget. I'm very excited about it. After months of research and years watching the price come finally down to my level, I bought a Kindle. And I'm really loving it! Everyone looks at me askance " You? YOU have a Kindle???!!!???"

Yes, me. Will I stop buying books? Not ever! But I've put two books on this dandy little thing and have one in the wings. There's a nice feature that lets you read a chapter or two before committing to a purchase, and of course, after reading a chapter or two you DO make the purchase. One of the biggest selling points for me was the text to audio feature. With the push of a button the book is being read TO me. This little feature will make the reading go much faster on the two hour commute everyday. I'll get so much more reading done! The commute will no longer be boring and long! Something productive can be happening!

I love my books. I love smelling my books. I love stroking my books. I love buying and reading my books. I love looking at my books all lined up crookedly on the bookshelves (this is just one room o' books in this house.) I love pulling one down and remembering how much I enjoyed it. I love looking at the photography books with a magnifying glass.

But, from the moment the Kindle was on the market I told Patient Husband there was a place for this gadget. Little did I know it would be such a BIG place. I carry the gadget with me and it's a lot lighter than the book. It's easier to read while eating because I'm not trying to hold the book open with my beverage container, and if I finish a book I can buy another one immediately. This will come in very handy when on vacation and the most trying thing I pack is the bag o'books. I can't take just one. What if I finish it and what if the one I take as a replacement I find I don't like? I have to have three or four with me at all times, just in case, and that takes up room in the suitcase or car. This handy little device will do nicely.

I have to go now. I have a real book waiting. I chose The Distant Hours by Kate Morton and recommend it. I also recommend her other books: The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yummy in your tummy

Today I made a batch of peppermint patties. These are luscious, rich, minty treats that are just too easy to make. A little goes a long way with these!
Peppermint Patties
12 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Melt 1 cup butter
3/4 tsp. peppermint oil (not extract, OIL. You can find the exact size bottle needed in cake decorating supply stores)
2 12 oz. bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 TBSP. solid white shortening
I know, it sounds like nothing but fat with the butter and shortening, but these are so rich you really can't (read: shouldn't) eat more than one per sitting so the fat stretches itself out.
Cool the melted butter to room temperature. Stir together the sugar and milk. It will be dry and lumpy till you add: the butter and peppermint extract and mix, ending with kneading the mixture. It should look and feel like PlayDoh. Roll into whatever size balls you want - large as a walnut or small as a...well, smaller than a walnut. Then flatten into a disk. Put on a parchment or plastic lined cookie sheet in rows. You can put them really close together, then I put another piece of plastic on top and layer the next row so I'm using just one cookie sheet. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Melt the chocolate chips and solid white shortening (Crisco here) slowly together. Drop a pattie into the chocolate, scoop out with a fork, dangle some of the chocolate off and carefully put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or plastic. Here's where you need more than one cookie sheet. You can't stack them at this stage. I put them out on the unheated back porch to set the chocolate then layer them in tins with plastic wrap between each layer.
I know it sounds complicated but you can make these in less than an hour's actual hands on time even if it's over two days. I like that part, actually. The first batch I made sat in the fridge for several days till I got to the chocolate part. Keep them covered, though, so they don't form a crust in the fridge.
Bon Apetit!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trees and books

We went hunting for our Christmas tree yesterday. We're feeling our age as we tromp through the fields of the Christmas tree farm managing to find the biggest tree farthest from the car - and nowadays it's just the two of us dragging and carrying it back. Luckily the place we go to drills the standing hole in the bottom and then trusses it so we can get it home and in the stand before cutting the netting and standing back as it poofs out to fill the room.
This one is 10 feet tall. I love our trees. I always think they look like a charm bracelet, the sparklies dangling from the ends of the branches. Over the years I've hung found objects, spoons from my mom, pretty forks, glass or brass or silver cups, lids from dishes long broken or flea market finds, hand carved wooden birds and Santas and angels, the treetop angel(s) are construction paper cones my kids made in preschool when they were three years old. Over the years I gave each of them an ornament as we decorated Every year for my son a toy soldier and my daughter an angel. When they married they took their ornaments with them, but I kept the treetop angels.
Last year as our couple of days together was winding down, the babies in bed, we sat quietly together, I pulled from the tree 5 envelopes. In the envelopes was a piece of paper listing for each of the adults in my family the 10 reasons why I love them. Each one written personally. I started to read to Patient Husband first and as I read my daughter started to cry and my son-in-law asked if there was something they should know - was I sick? Was I going to die? No, I said. And then read my daughter's, then my son's, then my son-in-law's and then my daughter-in-law's. I don't know about them, but it made MY day.

We're enjoying the last two days of our Thanksgiving holiday weekend. One of the simple things I enjoy very much when I don't have to get up in the morning is to stay up late, late, reading. Last night I finished this book and wanted to pass along how much I enjoyed it. I learned, a little bit before I read it, that Christopher Robin Milne absolutely hated being Christopher Robin in the Pooh books. He was so intensely upset he was estranged from his parents for years and never reconciled before their deaths. It isn't about Christopher Robin Milne, but his situation was the catalyst for the idea of this book. With that in mind, this book was conceived and written and is a debut novel for this author. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it highly to anyone walking past. It's that good. I don't say that about a lot of books but when I find one like this I do kind of make a pest of myself.
Up next? Well, I bought a Kindle last week (!!!!) and have one book loaded, Saving CeeCee Hunnicutt by Beth Hoffman. I haven't read a single review that wasn't glowing. It isn't a long heavy book, but light, and at this time of year I need light! There are dozens on thebookshelf waiting for me and as I look at them I'm drawn to The Distant Hours by Kate Morgan, an author I enjoy very much. She wrote The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, both good reads, but heavier. Then there's Fannie Flagg's new book, I Still Dream About You. I do love reading Fannie Flagg. I can hear her speaking voice and her books read like she's sitting across from me telling me a fantastic story. Last week I also finished Doc by Mary Doria Russell. Now SHE is an author to follow! Doc is about Doc Holliday and that shouldn't scare you away. It's a winner.
But tonight, while the Kindle recharges ( I guess the last time I used it I didn't turn it off!!!) I think I'll attack that floral scrappy quilt Elizabeth is waiting for.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Santa comes early!

I am coming to you today from my brand new computer!! This one works! This one isn't as old as I am! And there is only ONE on this desk! For months and months and months I was operating with three ten year old computers on this desk, and each one of them did just one thing. I kid you not. One would resize my pictures for me because it had Microsoft Office one it but it wouldn't connect to the internet. One would connect to the internet but didn't have Office and one had a printer but no internet and Office was so old it didn't resize pics. And all of them moved arthritically slow. The frustration level was so high I got to the point of not even turning them on unless it was an emergency. I'd go to work an hour early so I could use the computer there on my own time. But now! Wow! This is so amazing! And we got a printer/scanner/copier. I am delirious!

The girls came to visit today. Their daddy was working all weekend and it was cold and dreary so their mommy packed them off to have lunch and naps here. Elizabeth napped in grandma's bed. Adelaide is cutting six teeth at once and had roseola all last week so she isn't sleeping much these days. After a short nap we played. I told her she had feathers for hair and she had to feel to be sure.
What was going to be a computer set up and nap day turned out to be a fun adventure day with the girls.
Now that I am not computer challenged anymore maybe I hope to foray into blogland more often!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holy Stash!!!

Lest you think I don't really quilt, that I just talk about it, take a look at this mess! I was so tired of scrounging through the drawers where I keep my stash that I spent Sunday afternoon organizing. Now, there is a place in a drawer for like colors (never mind values!) and one full drawer of this mess. Scraps!!! Some are left over binding, some are leftover from string quilts, some are just small pieces and some are truly large-enough-to-do-something-with scraps. What a mess my room was!!!
But now I've sorted this pile into clear bags of colors and in a drawer. At one point Patient Husband walked into the room, took one look and turned and walked out.
I have enough here for several scrappy quilts - which I love anyway - and enough yardage in my other drawers to last the rest of my life. I even found projects I completely forgot about, one a bag of 18 10-inch squares - all finished just not completed into a top! Another project had many, many more blue and white pinwheels. Another pile of squares probably 50 years old that I got at a flea market for $2.00. I used some of them to make one quilt, and these left were the truly ugly ones. But if I find some poison green somewhere they could become a top.
Anyway, if the scraps are any indication, I really DO quilt. I'm just not a FAST quilter. I'm a relaxing-comfort-at-the-end-of-the-day quilter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

something to show, finally

Yes, I actually spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening piecing and I have pics to prove it! I'm making six ornaments. I tried to think what I would like...something that was Christmassy or something traditional? I opted for the traditional, being traditional myself. Here's an appliqued blue flower.... I also did a red one, you can just see it peek out from the underneath.
a cardinal...because what's winter without a cardinal?

a grouping of some of the others. I think a traditional block hanging on the tree will be prettier than a snowman or candycane, don't you?

I've been spending time with my flock of geese and am almost finished with the 64 of them. They're very pretty in black, ecru, white-ish and creams.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

snappy children

Snappyfriends challenge a week or so ago was children and I'm late!

Our Cecilia's christening was last weekend. These are her cousins on her mother's side and our Elizabeth and Adelaide on the left. Charlie is proudly sitting next to Adelaide, who, by the way, thought something in the back of the church was more interesting. The baby was beautiful and sweet and didn't cry a peep.
And here we all are at our quilt retreat showing off our projects for the weekend. I must say WE felt like children all weekend. Playing, laughing, doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. Someone was there to cook our meals and make our beds and pick up our socks. We ate candy and cookies and drank pop. It was truly a weekend to be children again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My gosh, I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted but it's been a particularly busy time and time is something I just don't seem to have lately.
This weekend I went on a much anticipated and planned for quilt retreat. Call it Mental Health Day. Call it anything you want but this place is in a stunningly beautiful setting. The weather
was perfect, the colors at or just past peak. We laughed, stitched, laughed some more. The only bad part for me was being there just Thursday evening and Friday. I had to leave Saturday morning for a trip to my newest granddaughter's christening that afternoon 3.5 hours away. But for the short time I was there ...
Part of the wonderment of this place, The Inn at the Rustic Gate, was the food. We had requested an ethnic meal one of our evenings and chose Polish because the proprietors are Polish and our chef Sharon is a master. So, we had kielbasa and kapusta (sauerkraut)

and golumbki

and pierogi - all made by hand, mind you.

There were groans of approval and appreciation and we waddled out of the room when dinner was over. After all of this wonderment there was dessert, too. Sharon feeds us well. We found this place last year and booked it again for this year on the spot. As we gratefully pushed back our chairs I made the remark that for a weekend, WE get to have the wife...someone to cook wondrous meals and make our beds and let us do whatever we wanted. Someone else commented this was OUR deer camp! Whatever we call it, we had a good and much needed time together.

This is the Christmas tree skirt Friend Marilyn finished for her daughter-in-law.

Sally does beautiful work. The navy blue/white snowflake design is gorgeous. I'm a real fan of navy and white.
One year ago, just after our retreat weekend, Val's parents both passed away within three days of each other. Her father flew planes so she is making a quilt for herself and her siblings and the airplanes are from her father's shirts. I love the starry sky they're flying through. Val is a meticulous quilter and this will be a treasure.

What did I work on this weekend? I had a pile of flying geese to make so I sat next to a good window and stitched geese. I'm making a border for a quilt and I had 64 of them to stitch together. Knowing I wasn't going to be there the whole weekend I took a small project - and still didn't finish them all (remember, I stitch by hand.)

Friend Marilyn finished her day with a toddy, popcorn and a book.

I know I'm behind on Snappyfriends and I don't know what the next set of 'assignments' is, but I'm working on catching up.

Monday, October 4, 2010

birthdays and cake and brightness

Our Adelaide turned One last week and we celebrated her birthday this past weekend. She's very proud of being one:
She was stylish in her birthday hat:
and dove in with both hands when it was time for cake:She had a big year - from being in the Intensive Care unit at birth, tethered to tubes, to a walking, climbing eating machine for her first birthday. One half hour spent with her tells us who the comedian in the family is going to be.

While at the party I saw my entry for "colorful" in the Snappyfriends challenge.

They have everything from feathered boas to tutus to lighted construction helmets, fireman helmets, fairy wands and a WonderPets cape. Oh, and don't forget the wings!! Elizabeth's play is very imaginative!

Quilting....what's that??? I am working on E's flowered quilt, the scrappy thing I was planning on using at my house but she claimed as hers. I'm hand quilting it with perle cotton and really having a fun time with that. I'm to the border rows so it's almost finished. I just don't have the time. It's a crazy life right now and trying to stay sane is the priority. Quilting is a refuge but there just isn't the time! Stitch by stitch, one stitch at a time.
The immediate to-do list includes a felted stocking for Cecilia, 6 ornaments, putting together the flying geese for one quilt's borders and a gazillion ideas for others. The stocking and ornaments come first.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Tis the season

It's spider season. They're everywhere. I can't hang clothes without a thorough inspection of the nooks and crannies of the clothespin. They're in there. Waiting. For me. They wait to crawl into the pockets of my blouses or jeans. Wait. Till I wear the clothes. So they can come crawling out. And get me. They're out there. And sometimes they're very big. They don't have to be big to elicit the response they get from me. Many years ago while visiting an aunt and uncle in Acapulco, my uncle said when I screamed he didn't know whether to bring a newspaper or a shotgun. The scream was the same! I keep Patient Husband handy now. All I have to do is yell, "Spider!!!" and he comes, dragging to where I am. Sometimes it's a precariously out of reach place, but I don't care. I just keep hopping from one foot to the other imploring, "don't miss! don't miss! don't you dare miss!" I don't do spiders.
We are back into the work groove, so to speak. But the 6 a.m. wakeup call is brutal. I finally figured out today why it's so hard. On weekends or non-school days I can wake up, lay there a few minutes, feel myself slowly becoming conscious. But on work days when the alarm goes off we have to hit the floor running. Tonight, just now, we both put our faces into the mirror and compared dark circles under our eyes. And then debated whose were worse. Sigh.
Not getting much quilting done during the week. Over the weekend though I finished cutting the triangles for a flying geese border, worked on the flower quilt Elizabeth wants (I'm closing in on that one) and started thinking of a stocking for Cecilia.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Snappy "J"

This was hard! I was having a very hard time thinking of something beginning with "J" - everything was an adjective! Juicy apple?...nope. Gin and tonic?....oops! I finally asked Patient Husband if he could think of something beginning with "J" and immediately he said, "jumprope!" Well, THAT was easy! I work in a school! This morning I went to the very tall gym teacher and asked him to bring down the box of jumpropes from the top shelf so I could take a pic.

When I saw them I wondered if I should save them for the NEXT Snappyfriends challenge. But no, "J" was too hard.
We found a car to replace the one totalled in the accident. Elizabeth told her daddy on the phone when it happened, "Daddy, someone bumped into Grandma's car and BROKE it!" Yup. And it's been a lot of fun driving a VW Beetle in the meantime. It's a zippy little car.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I don't know where the time went this week. School started. I didn't have the kids yet but will starting tomorrow. This year the library will be very different because I'll see the little ones twice a week instead of once. I'm a little excited but I'm a little worried, too. The week will be very intense and sometimes I just lose track of whole weeks when that happens. I can't afford to not notice things anymore!

I was in an accident Tuesday. I was sitting at a red light and a very much older gentleman was more concerned about the ice cream sundae he purchased at McDonalds than where he was going and slammed into me from behind. I was very lucky to be wearing my seat belt because I'd have been thrown into the windshield, but as it happened, I was just sore and tender the rest of the week. Lucky me!

Unlucky for the car, though. Because the car is 8 years old and has 200,000 miles on it, the decision will more than likely be to total it. A new car is not in the budget right now. But my rental is a special treat. I am driving a pale blue VW Beetle! What a fun little car! It's SO cute and I smile as I'm driving. We should get the final verdict on "my" car tomorrow.

There has been no quilting and no reading this week. How does THAT happen!! I haven't even been in "my" room all week. So there's nothing to show or tell.
I have to go read some blogs....till later....

OH! Guess who bid on and won Christine! My son and daughter-in-law! Christine is still in the family! Who would have thought!

We were thrilled to see them at the event and here's the latest on Charlie and Cecilia.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quilt Christine

Meet Christine.

Christine started out to be something very different than she turned out. She was supposed to be a landscape collage of farm fields in October. She decided from the day I made the first cut in the first piece of fabric I collected for almost a year for her, that she was in charge of this project. As often happens, when you start out to create something new. Authors talk about their characters taking over the story and sometimes star in a book of their own. Paintings become "possessed" of their spirit. So, Christine was born.

Her colors are more beautiful than the picture. Maybe a closeup...nope...just trust me. Every single thing I did to bring the picture in my mind to the cloth failed. She kept telling me this project was going to go her way. I was frustrated to the point of a battle of wills but I kept on with her. I needed to see what it was SHE wanted to be.

Now for her backside..

I know you quilters have had persnickety projects and you probably chose to stuff the thing in a drawer for at least a new decade. But I persisted. And every single cut I made was wrong for me but turned out to be right for her. That's why the back has a border. Cut the brown floral wrong. Put on a border. Happen to notice in the quilt shop a really nice leafy border on a display quilt and think..."I can do that..." And a closeup....

Then, my niece's husband, a young, active nonsmoking 42 year old found he had throat cancer. He was told this is the kind of thing you get after a life of hard drinking and smoking. He is neither. After a very rough summer of very aggressive daily treatments in a hospital 150 miles away, he is waiting three months to find out if he's on the mend for real.
Next Saturday, the 11th, there is going to be a benefit for him and his family to help with medical bills and such. I asked my brother what we could do and he said there was going to be a silent auction and if we could find something/s?

One night I was staring at Christine on her floor frame while I was mulling possibilities. I had an AHA! moment. But there was no way she could be hand quilted in a week so I called a friend who has a longarm machine and told her what I was thinking. She dropped her projects and quilted Christine for me. This weekend I put the binding on and voila! Now she is finished, she is going to go to support a good cause and she will have a new home.

I'm glad for so many reasons. She's finished. She's going to do something good. She will be gone from my life but someone will love her. Her colors are beautiful, a good draw for the fall season and no one there will know that she started out as an idea to celebrate the beauty of fall - or maybe they'll get it because she is Christine. Someone will love her and just have to have her and will pay for that right. And it will all help Brian.

If I was a painter I'd have set my easel on the bluff this weekend and tried to capture this sky. Although in the gale force winds whipping up 14 foot waves, the easel would have had to be chained to a tree. We had the first real break in the hot weather and Saturday's temperature was the coldest Sept. 4 since 1913. Now, that doesn't mean it was freezing, but it was chilly and so very, very windy but that brings all sorts of people to the beaches and piers to see crashing waves. But that was amazing!

We spent this holiday weekend, the last before school starts tomorrow, working very hard. We have a brick walk that leads to the front door. I couldn't stand the weeds any longer. I started taking all of the bricks up, pulling weeds, discovering how wide the path really is once I tore out the thyme that became so invasive. Patient Husband then got out the landscape fabric, got sand and paving sand and we crawled and fixed and lay bricks. It's amazing how wide that path really was/is! I can't stop looking at it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Snappy oranges and shrimp

Our daughter and her family had friends visiting from Minnesota and Saturday they came to spend a couple of days here to enjoy the beach. The plan for Saturday night dinner was a shrimp boil on the beach. Patient Husband and I were very nervous about getting all of the food, 6 adults, two babies and beach supplies down 140 steps. Very nervous! We were going to pull out our "we're old" card, but the neighbors in the next neighborhood (which is right next to our house) graciously allowed us to use their ramp so we wagonned our supplies, including the very heavy propane tank and burner, HUGE pot already filled with water, all the food, six adults, two babies and beach supplies down to the beach. After that, things only needed to be taken to the water's edge. I was picturing cooking over hot rocks and was very happy to see the propane tank!

Fun in the sun! Hot from the pot!
Notice Elizabeth right in the middle of the whole thing. She liked the sausage and potatoes best. She kept passing corn to Adelaide. It was a yummy beach evening.

Snappyfriends challenge is something orange. I didn't realize I had so many pictures of orange things till I started thinking about it.

The night I stood on the bluff to scream at the lake, this is what the lake gave back. I apologized for the scream (thought I really meant it at the time.)

Then I noticed this picture of Patient Husband's beer the day we went to Fiberfest and we ate at this restaurant, gliding our way through lunch (see previous Fiberfest posting for the glider lunch.) Why did I take a picture of a glass of beer? I don't really have an answer for that but it fits with orange so I'm glad I did!

These felted pumpkin heads were at Fiberfest and I thought they were cute. The exhibitor was teaching passersby the technique of felting and she showed me, but honestly, I'm not in the market for yet another hobby. I thought they were fun, though. The variety of expressions reminded me of apple head dolls.
I AM quilting. I'm quilting with perle cotton the pink flowered scrappy quilt that Elizabeth claimed. She inspected it over the weekend and pronounced "it's good." I will have the next chapter on the saga of Christine soon.