Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Satisfying Women's Curiosity

Have you ever noticed how curious women are? We want to know everything there is to know about other women without giving away very much of ourselves. For instance, if I dye my hair I might not volunteer that I keep Lady Clairol in my medicine cabinet but I'd love to know if you color yours and, being given the opportunity, might find it very hard not to take a peek the next time I'm in your bathroom. I'm not talking about myself you understand, but women in general. I would never look in your medicine cabinet. Never. Sort of. Well, maybe if we're really good friends. Or really bad friends. It's all Eve's fault, really. She was the first of our gender to demonstrate curiosity when she just couldn't leave that apple alone. It's all her fault.

My quilt guild meets once a month in a local Senior Citizens Center after the "old folks" leave for the day. It's a wonderful big room with access to water and bathrooms and a sound system. We meet in the evening beginning at 5:30 with a workshop and then a "snack" and our business meeting/program/show and tell starts about 6:45 or so. We have 120 members but only average 60-65 at our evening meeting. In addition once a month (First Wednesday) we meet for a potluck and sit-and-sew at someone's home. Since many of our members work we only have about 20 there for First Wednesday. One of the best parts of that day is getting to see our friends sewing rooms. Needless to say we all clean and organize our "stuff" before everyone comes but it's so fun to see how others store things, what tools they have out and use the most, and even some of their work on the walls. That's where the curiosity comes in. Since I love looking at other women's sewing rooms I thought it only fair that I show you mine. When we moved into this house 5 years ago I took the small third bedroom as my studio (I use that term loosely!) It has evolved over time as I added and took away but this is what it looks like today.

As you walk into the room my sewing table is on the wall facing you in front of the only two windows. I keep my embroidery thread sorted and in bins under the left side of the table. The stack of "stuff"on the table is a conglomeration of wallhangings, etc. ready to be quilted. The small plastic drawers to the right hold Pigma pens, chalk pencils, etc. in the first two drawers, scissors and rotary cutters in the third, and hmmmm can't remember what's in that bottom one! There's a thread holder on the wall to the left of the table for my quilting thread, and the drawer on the table holds my sewing machine attachments and bobbins and that sort of stuff.

Just to the right of the sewing area is my ironing center. I keep a small Ott light there because that corner is a little dark. The baskets on the wall hold starch, a spray bottle of water, iron cleaner, glue, spray adhesive, Magic Sizing, and a lint roller. I also hang my applique ironing sheet there. My husband put a television shelf above it so that I can glance at it from the sewing machine. I use a Maytag cordless iron with a titanium plate that I dearly love. I bought it 4 years ago for $130 (on sale at the time) and would do it again.

The wall to the right of the ironing board is my design wall. I used a piece of foam insulation from the hardware store and covered it with flannel, stapling it to the back. Then my husband nailed it to the wall. In the corner to the right of it I have UFOs - nicely organized don't you think? I even labeled each one....mystery quilt, yellow spring quilt, sampler, etc. The basket is the fabric for my Botanika applique quilt, also a UFO. Then I sit this quilt rack in front of those in a failed attempt to hide them. On it are finished tops ready to be sandwiched. Some are quilts, some wallhangings.

On the wall opposite the sewing machine I put cabinets where I store all kinds of stuff from quilt kits to notions. If I hadn't dumped everything I've had out for the last week on top of the cabinet you could see my cutting area. This is the real deal,'s a mess right now. In my defense I would remind you that I can't get in there right now because of the electrical problems. :) Above the cabinets are these shelves. I use old wire gym baskets salvaged from the junk pile at a local school as well as antique blue canning jars and baskets to store my patterns, redwork books, tea towels, applique patterns, buttons, embroidery floss, etc. If you look closely in the picture on the left you will see that when the electricity blew I was cutting strips from my leftover fabrics and hanging them over a hanger. Also there on the wall I have pictures of friends from quilt guild.

The door where you enter my sewing room is a cheap hollow core door which needed to be replaced when we moved in. Instead I use push pins to hang my square and odd shaped rulers. It's great because they're easy to get to, I can see exactly what I have, and they are right at my fingertips. The long rulers are in one of those wooden holders on the cabinet.

That wall is to the left of the sewing cabinet and has two closets but I absolutely, positively refuse to open those doors for you right now. You could be hurt. Seriously hurt. I have a couple of quilt blocks pinned to the doors of one closet and a leftover piece of the foam insulation on the other. My husband put shelves above then so I would have more storage. Wonder what's up there....let's see, there are some red hand towels waiting for Christmas or Valentine's Day, my iron cover, a big box of colors and coloring books for children's travel bags that I make, a lap hoop and even a couple of old irons - you know the kind you keep "just in case." One of them my Dad bought for me at a garage sale and it's not a steam iron. I love it - no holes in the bottom and gets really, really hot.
So, there you have it. I spend a lot of time in this room - even more than I spend in my bedroom at my desk. :) If I had room I'd just move my desk in there so I'd have my computer with me when I sew. I'm really jealous of Ivory Spring and the wonderful setup she has.
Now, when are you gonna' show me your medicine cabinet?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Finished by Friday, One More Time

Two years ago I made the quilt below. I went to Houston with some friends and 3 of us bought this BOM from a shop in Abilene. I loved doing it because the pieces are big enough for it to go pretty fast and each block is different so I didn't get bored. The pillow tuck at the top was a bit of a challenge because of all the vines and leaves. It is hand appliqued and hand embroidered but machine quilted by a good friend. This year several guild members indicated that they were interested in making it. We do a workshop before our business meeting each month so we ordered patterns for everyone and began in January.

I love this quilt so much and I just kept thinking....who's going to get this when I die? I know, morbid. But I've already discussed with my kids some of my stuff so they know where I got it or who I got it from or what it means to me. Some things are important to pass on. Now I have 2 daughters and a daughter-in-law who is just like one of mine (she's a saint!) and I wanted them all to have it. I have frequent bouts of temporary insanity and in one of those moments I declared, "I shall make 2 more!" That way each one of them would have one.

You remember I said we started in January? Well, the first month or maybe two I made 2 of this block. It is hand appliqued but machine embroidered. And to these I added a machine embroidered dragonfly.

Thursday night this week I finished the hand applique on this block. Not two of these, just one. I know, I know I have one more basted together but I only finished one. I would have done the machine embroidery on it last night so I could claim it completely finished except for two problems:
1. We got home from SA at 6:30 (we left there at 8:00 a.m.) My husband is one of those focused drivers who doesn't believe in stopping until I threaten to ruin his beloved truck's upholstery. I was tired and, needless to say, grumpy and wanted my bed.
2. Just before we left I flipped the switch in my sewing room to turn on the light and threw a breaker. When we flipped the breaker wierd things happened. The light refused to turn off. At all. Ever. Unless you turned the breaker off. And the switch that's supposed to control the light but now doesn't controls all the wall outlets in the sewing room and in the bedroom adjacent to it, but not the bathroom between the two rooms. Oh and I forgot the switch that's supposed to control the sewing room light also controls the ceiling fan in the living room. And the light in the ceiling fan in the bedroom, but not the fan. A light switch should not be controlling all that. I shall be calling Mr. Electric Monday morning.
That's all the sewing I did this week but in my own defense I was on vacation with two grandchildren. I think that's a good excuse. And if it isn't, then I recommend you try sewing in a condo with two little girls who have lots of toys, clothes, hair bows and snack stuff and who love to examine every thing you have as well. There was no way I was having needles out around the 2 year old - no telling what she would have done with those! By the way, the 2 year old can't say Grandpa so she calls him Asspa. I wouldn't kid about that.
Oh and a P.S. I will not be finished with these two quilts by the end of the year like the rest of the guild members. Maybe in this lifetime. Maybe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Staying Young At Heart

There's just something about children that keeps you young at heart. The joy on their faces when they see something that looks like fun will make your heart turn over every time. Their energy may wear you down but it will also rejuvenate you when you thought you were just too tired to go on. And just when you think you can't love them any more, you do. They go through every emotion there is sometimes in an hour, and you can see every bit of it on their faces. They are so open and honest - I sometimes wish adults could be so open but if we were could we really handle it? I don't know. If it's been a while since you've vacationed with children I recommend it. It's way fun.

One morning we went to the Children's Museum in downtown San Antonio. What a great place! I saw these quilts:

I don't know anything about their history but it's obvious that children played a large part in the design and creation of them. They were simply wonderful and if you close your eyes you can just see the boys and girls at work as they decide exactly what's going where.

I drank tea. Over and over. Gallons of tea. If it had been real I'd never have made it out of the bathroom. The 2 year old loves dishes and small tables with chairs, and anything that goes in a kitchen. And this museum has a wonderful "house" with a victorian living room and a small kitchen.

There are tons of little rooms for children to play in. There were a grocery store, a post office, a bank, an airplane, and a place to pan for gold/dig for diamonds. There was a room with nothing but bubble mixture and wands and even a wand you could stand in to make a bubble around you. There was a telescope and a microscope (with several slides of ordinary things). Kids can climb on and in and under a myriad of objects.

There's a kid's cafe where my granddaughter made a new friend. They played in there for the longest time serving her parents breakfast, lunch and dinner. Her friend was a maitre'd (haven't a clue how to spell that!) and stood perfectly at attention with the menus in hand waiting on customers. I mean he had that act down pat! Granddaughter waited tables over and over and over. The friend tried to get her to don the chef's hat but she wanted no part of that. She just wanted to be the waitress and her parents must have had breakfast, lunch, and dinner 8 times over!

These were what my husband called Grandpa Chairs. He made good use of them.

There were several daycare groups of kids there. Several. Many. Lots. I heard one teacher tell her group that they had to always be able to see her. Was she kidding - they couldn't see her when she was talking! All they could see was other kids playing and beating them to the good stuff.

I can hardly wait until tomorrow to see what we can do next!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Whale's Gestation Period

We're in beautiful San Antonio this week; yes, believe it or not I'm on vacation with my son and wife and two granddaughters. I know you thought it would be forever before I spent time with grandchildren again after the camping trip experience, but you discounted the sheer tenacity of a grandmother. Today we went to Sea World. Sea World where it was 125 degrees in the shade, when I could find it. Sea World where if there weren't people everywhere I'd have tossed those two kids out of the stroller and ridden in it myself. Sea World where I spent $20 on a straw hat I should have bought at WalMart for $5 before I left home. A girl does what a girl has to do - can't have a sunburned nose for heaven's sake. The 2 year old faded about 2:00 and was pretty listless after that. After all she had been awakened at 6:30, hustled into some clothes and was out the door at 7:15. They bought some tour thing and had to be there at 8:00 for breakfast and meeting the animals up close and personal. My DH and I didn't get there until 11:00 - we sat in the condo after the kids left and just listened to the silence for a while. Did you know that whales carry their young for 15 months? Their calves weigh 20 or 30 pounds, depending on what kind of whale it is. And you thought pregnancy was hard! Learned all that today. I think the 2 year old's favorite thing might have been the dirt. She had a great time playing in the dirt around the trees as we sat on a wall waiting for shows to open up. The 7 year old's favorite thing at Sea World....the gift shops. She is a true shopper & can most certainly wear me out with it. I admit I'm not a good shopper but you'd think I could outlast a 7 year old. Au contraire!

Tomorrow we'll do the Alamo and the Children's Museum and maybe the Guiness Book of World Records Museum. Maybe we'll even get to the River Walk. There's a mall at the River Walk so the 7 year old will be in heaven. There's a Starbucks there, too. Sounds just like heaven to me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

They Like Me!

A few days I got tagged by two bloggers! I'm not sure but I think that means they like me. :) I sound like Sally Field at the Oscars a few years ago - remember that? Anyway, Dawn and Southern Lady thanks for the tag! Here are the answers to your questions:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Wow, who can remember that far back! Actually, I do because it was a traumatic/wonderful experience. I took a brand new job as an Assistant High School Principal after being a high school counselor forever. I was scared and excited and all the things you normally associate with leaving one place and going to a new place, leaving the tried and true and tackling the unknown, leaving a small school and jumping into a big one. The Principal was male and so were the other two Assistants and then there was me. One woman, three men. I offered to do their typing if they moved my share of the classroom furniture - they loved me automatically! The first day of school we had a bomb threat. I'm sure I looked like a deer caught in the headlights! Oh I'd been through bomb threats before but it was over 100 degrees that day and we had nearly a thousand kids to corral and keep from jumping was the best job I ever had!

2. What are 5 things on my "to do" list?
a) Cut out my niece's quilt for her wedding...which is not going to be ready for her wedding in July but what the heck, it's not cold yet. :)
b) Figure out why the light won't go off in my sewing room when I flip the switch but the air filter in the back bedroom does. :(
c) Pack my bag for a week of vacation with our son and family (remember the 2 and 7 year old girls?)
d) Write some posts to go out just in case I don't have internet access (remember last time I went to San Antonio? this time I might just have to resort to paying!)
e) Water the plants. The poor things are so neglected that I'm often ashamed but I'm determined to take care of them before I leave. Is there a Plant Abuse Society like the Humane Society? If so, I might be in trouble.

3. What are 5 snacks I enjoy?
a) Cheetos
b) Homemade vanilla ice cream (the store bought kind) with a little Diet Dr. Pepper poured over it. I know that makes no sense but there you have it.
c) Italian Cream Cake What do you mean that's not a snack? It's whatever you want it to be!
d) Brownies with pecans and a glass of really cold milk
e) Chai Lattes I consider this a snack because it's half milk and it fills me up. So there.

4. If I was a millionaire/billionaire I would:
First, I would tithe the regular 10%. There are a lot of organizations I'd like to be able to give more to, most having to do with children and feeding hungry people. And then I'd share the rest with family. Last I'd get the tile for my kitchen and not wait for my husband to say ok! :) You might want to see a previous post.

5. Places I have lived:
All in Arkansas - Lurton (Ozark Mountains but don't bother looking on a map because I think it only has 2 or 7 people there depending on which family is at home that day), Pine Bluff, Monticello, Fordyce, Hot Springs, Ozark. I love Arkansas. I know it's not got the best reputation but that's just because we don't want too many people to discover it!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Finished By Friday - Chapter 3

Before you look at all I've done this week check out the great give-away by Jackie at Canton
Village Quiltworks - she's offering to quilt a quilt for you. It doesn't get better than that, ladies.

This Quilted Notebook Cover pattern was created by Sorry but that's all that I have - I ran into her at my hotel in Houston in 2007 on my way to the International Quilt Festival. She had a notebook in her hand and I loved it. She told me that she had designed it and one of the booths was selling the pattern so I made sure to buy the pattern. Since then I've made about 20; some I gave as presents and some I sold. It takes 2 coordinating fat quarters, a piece of batting and some velcro to hold it closed. I can make one in less than hour! I have put a pretty button on some, a rhinestone pin on some, and one woman I know monogrammed hers.

This is the second block I've done in Winter Wonderland. I call this one Snowmen and Birds....seems like a rather redundant name doesn't it!

In my guild we have a silent auction in July of patriotic blocks. These are two I've made for that. Uncle Sam came from an Art to Heart book and the star block is just a star block! However, notice the great fireworks fabric. The blocks are supposed to be 12 1/2" - Fireworks is actually 12 3/8" but don't tell anybody.

And finally!

I made a table runner like this one last summer. I liked it so much that I cut out and pieced three more to give as gifts. Notice I said pieced, not quilted. This week I finally got them out again and quilted one. Still two to go. I'm sorry but I don't remember where I got the pattern.
What have you finished this week?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Artificial Nails and Other Stuff

In my own defense I want to tell you right up front that I have no thyroid gland. And in case that makes no sense to you, I had to have surgery years and years ago and have the darn thing taken out because it kept growing and growing until it looked like I might need a wheelbarrow to carry it. Well, I could be exaggerating just a little. The thyroid gland controls lots of stuff, like metabolism (which is my excuse for being 20 or 40 pounds overweight) and nail growth (they don’t) and hair growth (it does but it’s thin) and dry skin and how much you sleep. Now don’t you lazy people out there automatically assume you have thyroid problems just because you like to sleep – it doesn’t work like that. Anyway, my skin is dry which is ok because I just buy lotion by the gallon. It’s cheaper that way anyhow. And I don’t have much body hair which is great. I’ll be discreet and just say that I don’t have to shave under my arms and a bikini wax will never be in my future. But the worst part of this whole thyroid deficiency is that my nails won’t grow, and when they do they peel and split and break. This is not ok. Until you don’t have nails you don’t realize how much you need them, how much you use them. Try opening that tiny little round thing that holds your necklace or bracelet together. Impossible. And why do they make those so hard to open anyway? Try scratching your husband’s back for him – it does not work the same to rub! And if you can’t scratch his back how are you going to talk him into scratching yours? And what’s the point of getting a new diamond ring if you can’t hold that hand out in front of you with pride as you walk into the quilt guild meeting, making sure everyone notices what your husband just gave you? I’m just sayin’.

So, for the last few or many years I’ve worn artificial nails. If I sat down to calculate how much I’ve spent on these things I’d probably be a mite upset at the BMW I could have had instead. But I won’t go there. It would just be too depressing. I have formed a close and lasting bond with the girls at the nail salon. I know all about their families and their illnesses and even have some of their recipes. You’d think since we’re such good friends they’d at least give me a discount but no, that doesn’t happen.

I don’t mind so much the money or the time or even the fact that I need the artificial nails. It’s the pitying looks I get from “real women”, women who have real nails, long & beautiful nails of their own. They look at you like “Girl, what in the world is wrong with you that you can’t even grow nails?” What’s up with that? I don’t look at them like that knowing all the time that they get a little help from Lady Clairol. Or that they’ve made a quick little visit to the dermatologist for some Botox injections. In April I had a little stroke. That’s what the doctor called it but I’m bettin’ that if it was his stroke he wouldn’t be calling it little. Wouldn’t you know, as a result they made me get off hormones after 25 years on them. Yes, 25 years. Needless to say I’m in the middle of hormone withdrawals - do these women with the looooong nails really want to mess with me? I don’t think so. You might want to warn them.
For those of you wondering if I'm ever going to get back to stitchin' stuff - tomorrow girls, tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bless Her Heart

I have this friend who once told me that women from the south think they can say anything ugly about anybody as long as they add "bless her heart" at the end because that makes it all ok, as if you really didn't mean for it to be ugly and God would automatically forgive you if you didn't really mean to be ugly. I think she read it in a book or heard it on the news or something. Anyway, all of a sudden I began to notice all the "bless her hearts" I was hearing. You know like, "Sally Lou got her hair cut yesterday down at that new beauty salon on 7th Street, bless her heart." And you just automatically knew Sally Lou had a haircut that was gonna' keep her in the house with the shades drawn for the next six months. Or, "Have you heard....Mary Catherine is getting married! After all this time! She's marrying Billy Joe, you know him, he's the guy in high school that always had a pocket protector on, bless her heart." And there's your clue that Billy Joe isn't the catch of the season and Mary Catherine was gettin' desperate. And quilters, have you ever heard somebody say, "Oh isn't that quilt that Evelyn Ann made just gorgeous! She picked the most beautiful fabric. But have you seen her points on her triangles, bless her heart!" and you know right off that those points are either cut off a good quarter inch or floating out there somewhere they shouldn't be!

Well, I'm one of those women raised in the south and I guess there must be a rebel gene in me because I don't want to be like that and I'm risin' up in protest! It seems to me that we ought to be supportin' our sisters with a bona fide Bless Her Heart, not one hiding our "gotcha" thoughts. Southern women, we are not like the picture this paints! Or at least we don't want to be. So if you're a southern woman, and it could be the south of Wisconsin or Oregon or Michigan, I don't care, let's give out some real Bless Her Hearts to the women who make us laugh or make us cry or touch our hearts or show us the beauty they're creating or bring us closer to God....women like these:

Bless Heather's Heart over at Mindless Junque for saying one of the most profound things I've heard in a long time "It was the moment I realized that a church is just a pile of bricks. God lives in our hearts and it's our Godly hearts present in that building that make it holy." This lady tells a wonderful love story and even had the guts to put her blunders and mistakes out there for all of us to read. We are her and she is us.
And if you didn't laugh at Grace's post yesterday on Washable Paint, well that just means you haven't read it yet! Bless Her Heart I can just imagine how she discovered that little bit of information.
Bless Elaine's Heart at Peace For The Journey for the six part series she wrote on Raising Faith. What a wonderful reminder of our faith journey with our children, of the work it takes and the joys it brings. A gentle reminder that raising children is "a sacred privilege, rather than a necessary obligation."
And if you want to try a new recipe or read a wonderful heart-warming message just take a look at Marie's blog A Year At Oak Cottage. I can feel myself gaining weight as we speak! She has the most gorgeous pictures there of heaven and a sweet, sweet story. Bless Her Heart!
Bless Takako's Heart at Quilt In Me for making this beautiful little quilt to GIVE AWAY to her child's teacher. That sure beats the box of stationary that was my standard gift!
And then there's Ree at The Pioneer Woman who is so popular that she gets 13,000!!!! comments on her give aways. She has a beautiful love story, awesome recipes, and girls, she share's the wealth with all the great things she gives away. She is real and upfront with her day to day life and allows the rest of us to live vicariously through her life "down on the ranch." Bless Her Heart, too!
I could go on and on but you get the picture. I know you have some blogs out there that have really mean something to you so why don't you bless someone's heart today, too? Feel free to use the heart picture on my blog or another one you like better. Make somebody's day today with a true, heart-felt "Bless Your Heart!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Camping PostScript

Lest you think I didn't have a good time camping with the children I want to reassure everyone that (now that I've had a couple of nights of sleep) it was about the most fun thing ever. How could you not love spending time with this "little mother" as she scolds her younger cousin about playing too close to the road?

How could you not smile every time this one grinned and showed that tooth that's just barely peeping through? And she grins all the time!

And tell the truth now, could you have denied him the 3rd S'more? Or that last piece of chocolate? Even though you knew that every time we joined hands to say the blessing he squeezed the "little mother's" hand so hard it was all she could do not to yell out loud?

And I'm just gonna tell you right now there's not one of you out there who would have told this one she couldn't sleep with you even though you've been warned that she is a little heater and kicks like a mule! Or who wouldn't have watched Barney with her forty leven times and loved every song and every dance and felt sad every time Baby Bop couldn't find her yellow blankie!

And can't you just see these 4 cousins years from now sitting around the kitchen table drinking coffee and laughing about the time they went camping with Grandma and Grandpa? And having watergun fights with Grandpa? And playing Ring Around The Rosie in a camper they could barely turn around in without falling all over each other? And burying each other up to their necks in the sand?
Which one do you think takes after me the most? It must be this one! Look...I think she's blogging! Wonder what her blogspot name is?

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." Psalm 128:3
"Then He put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms He said to them Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me." Mark 9:36, 37

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Camping....Days 2, 3, and 4

2nd Day:
G10 (at 8:30 a.m.) What time are we going swimming?
Me 4:00
G10 (at 8:45 a.m.) What time are we going swimming?
Me 4:00
G10 (at 9:00 a.m.) What time are we going swimming?
Me I will not scream, I will not scream, I…
B9 I only had 2 s’mores last night…can I have 4 tonight?
G2 Scream…loud
G7 She wants my Leapster but I’m playing with it
B9 Grandma there’s a huge spider in the bathroom. No kidding. Huge. It has 4 legs and everything.
Me Spiders have 8 legs, not 4, so that was probably something else.
B9 Nope, it was a spider for real. And it hopped everywhere.
Me Spiders do not hop, grasshoppers hop.

We decide to make a quick trip to WalMart since my Birkenstocks are rubbing a blister on B9’s toe and his tennis shoes are still wet and sure don’t need to be making the trip to the beach. Besides we need more eggs, because who knew they would all want scrambled eggs, after their chocolate donuts and chocolate Pot Tarts? And we need more drinks, because who knew they could drink that much in one day? They all four want to ride on the cart and can’t understand why when I try to push it the darn thing won’t budge. We find water socks/shoes for B9 after trying on several pairs just in case the others felt better and yes he knew they were all the same size. One wants apple juice, one wants CapriSun cherry, one wants CapriSun grape and one, thank goodness for that one, will drink anything. B9 also wanted to pick out the eggs - he carefully checked three cartons before one satisfied him. Four children, when together in WalMart, do not understand the concept of walking behind each other so others can get around you - they walk in a wad, a closely compacted wad that takes up the whole aisle. Finally, as the WalMart employees cheered, we left.

They ride bikes, they swim, they color all the railroad ties around the campsite with sidewalk chalk, they put together a jigsaw puzzle, they watch a movie, but mostly they eat. G10 meets a friend and the girls all go bike riding. G7, who still has training wheels, gets left behind. She stoically returns to the camper, goes inside, and spends time alone. Eventually she comes out and refuses to ride her bike ever again in this lifetime. When G10 asks G7 to borrow her notebook to write on G7 gets a totally blank look on her face and says, "What notebook?" G10 describes the notebook, everything in it, and where it is. G7 is adamant that she has no such notebook. I think that's called payback. B9, who doesn’t like girls, for some reason refuses to ride bikes with the friend he met and instead hangs out at our camp with G10 and her cute new friend. Hmmmm.
I took 18 pictures. We want to remember everything.

3rd Day:
Grandpa, bless his heart, takes them swimming twice. Except for G2 who has refused to go swimming since the first day. She does not want to go swimming. She does not want to wear a bathing suit. She wants to watch Barney. Thank goodness for Barney.

Upon their return from swimming:
G10 Did she have many poopy diapers while we were gone?
Me Huh? You would want to know this why? Do you want someone asking you if you pooped much today? Ok, I’ve lost it. I haven’t discussed poop since my own kids were little and that was at least a hundred years ago.

The big three get bored. I explain ever so sweetly that if you are bored that means you aren’t using your brain. “Figure something out!” They ride bikes, they swim, they watch a movie, they play with those awful game things that make weird noises. We make s’mores. B9 eats three plus a piece of chocolate. And immediately asks if he can go in the camper now because he doesn’t feel so good. “NO! If you’re going to throw up do it out here on the dirt! Not in my camper!” He’s offended but I’m past caring. I take 3 pictures. We want to remember everything.

4th day:
We are going home! I’m still alive! I haven’t had makeup on in three days and haven’t combed my hair in two but who cares! I’m going home! As they leave my car to get in their parents’ car G7 sweetly asks, “Grandma, when are we going to do this again? Can we go next week?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Camping....Day 1

You might need a little background information for this post. If so, go to Monday's post and read what happened the day before we were to go camping with the four grandchildren. By the way, I have 7 1/3 grandchildren. Thank goodness three were too old for this adventure and 1/3 was too small!

I was supposed to get G10 and B9 on Wednesday but G7 and G2 (seen here in her dress and bow as befits the princess she is) were coming on Tuesday. You know what that means….G10 and B9 begged their Dad to let them come early (this is a custody thing and Tuesday was his day). He relented, and in his defense I bet they begged until he ran screaming from the room. He had taken them to the lake on Monday “tubing.” Just in case you don’t know about tubing it means the children hang on to a big tire inner tube while a boat pulls them around the lake and the children scream “faster, faster”. I don’t watch stuff like that. I have visions of small bodies getting stuck upside down in the tube or falling off and nobody noticing for miles or….well, all the things grandmothers have visions of.

B9 (seen here trying to fit in G2's "truck") gets out of his Dad’s truck yelling, “Grandma, I completely and totally forgot that I had my tennis shoes on when I jumped into the lake yesterday!” “Really.” I replied, “And I guess that’s your only pair of shoes?” as I watched the tennis shoes in his hands drip water all over the ground. “Yep!” “Yes, ma’am” I automatically corrected. I said yes, ma’am and no ma’am 43,722 times in four days. Teaching, always teaching. The children said it, well, far fewer times than me. I loaned him my Birkenstocks, the only pair of shoes I had that might be construed as not completely female. G10 waited until Dad was gone and said, "We didn't have breafast. What's for lunch?" Of course. It's still an hour and a half drive to pick up the other two. And there are no McDonald's on the way.

Eventually I pick up the next two children (G7 and G2). They have enough luggage and toys for a third world country. “My mommy”, according to G7 (the would be acrobat on the left), “likes for us to take lots of toys everywhere”. After driving away, and getting out of earshot from their mother, G7 tells me that they are having a new baby. I (being the informed grandmother that I am) reply, “I know!” It’s a dream come true, she says! Hmmm, that’s not what her Daddy said when he told me. I ask about the missing teeth. With an impossible twisting of her mouth she shows me all four missing spaces and tells me the tooth fairy brought $3. Excuse me? I remember her bringing me ten cents. This could be what's wrong with our world today - $3 a tooth!

G10 is my helper in the car, keeping the others entertained as we happily travel toward Nirvana - the camper! We arrive at the camp grounds and Grandpa has already set up camp, yea! We have/had the nicest camper – still has that new smell, you know, like new cars? It’s a year and a half old but you can’t tell it. It’s pristine. Everything is in its’ place. It has a king sized bed and a full sized shower…heaven on wheels! It’s been to Colorado and back three times. It’s parked beside rivers and lakes. It has not been to the beach because sand would get in it. Sand doesn’t come out. That’s how careful we’ve been with it.

What’s the first thing the four children want to do? Why go swimming, of course! So we gather up beach toys and sunscreen and off we go. We’re walking? What? What do you mean walking, Grandma? Can’t we drive? It’s at least a block away! Uh oh, there’s the beach. It’s sand. They bury each other in the sand, up to their necks. And I think it would have been heads and all if we hadn’t been there to scream “NO”. Sand on their bodies, sand in their hair, sand stuck in their shoes, sand on the towels. What do you mean we can’t shower in the camper Grandma? Why do we have to go to the camp showers? Are their spiders in there? Because I don’t do spiders Grandma! We build a fire, roast wieners, make s’mores. One wants the marshmallow toasted, one doesn’t. One wants only chocolate, one wants only marshmallows. It’s been a good day, relatively speaking. The camper has some sand on the floor and Oreos on the carpet, but floors will clean, right? Bedtime. G2 goes immediately and climbs up into my bed. Of course. I surely don’t expect her to sleep with the other kids, because I know she’s the Princess, right? B9 gets on the mattress on the floor and the two girls on the sofa bed. Now about sleeping with G2: if the sun goes out for a week don’t worry about it because this kid has enough body heat to warm the world for several days. And she sleeps sideways. Except for when she’s kicking and screaming “NO” at the top of her lungs at 1:30 a.m. And 2:15 a.m. And 3:35 a.m. And… Finally I get up and see that all 3 big kids are asleep on the sofa bed, hanging off the edges and one upside down. The mattress on the floor is abandoned and calls my name, but I resist. I took 40 pictures the first day – we want to remember everything!

To be continued.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finished By Friday (Chapter 2)

This little quilt is called Baskets of Blessings. It's a pattern by Sherri K Falls and is one that, on the package, says Little Scraps from This and That. I used one of Moda's charm packs but I don't remember which one. I'm going to use it as a table topper....if I don't give it away. :)

Where's the rest of the stuff you say? Last week I had more than one, more than two things I finished so you're expecting more. I can understand that. But lest you've forgotten let me remind you. I went camping. With four children. For three nights. And four days. In a camper. By a lake. With bicycles. I survived. I did not quilt. I did not sleep. More later.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where I'm From

I am from....

I am from ponytails, bare feet, pet rabbits and dogs and skunks, from Coca Cola and real butter, and The Ed Sullivan Show.

I am from quilts made from scraps and a use it up philosophy and suntans darkened by baby oil mixed with iodine.

I am from the mountains and from southern farmland, from playing outside till dark and catching lightenin' bugs.

I am from hydrangeas as blue as the sky and elephant ears by the front porch and fig trees in the back yard.

I am from campin' in tents and fishin' for supper, Sunday drives to see the crops, from Arthur and Wilma and Fred and Lois and Mattie and Christopher Columbus. I am from help out your neighbor and be polite and don't talk back.

I am from Kool Aid and butter & syrup sandwiches and chocolate gravy and work never killed anybody.

I am from Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and pinto beans and cornbread and clothes hangin' on the line.

I'm from Mulberry trees you could climb and walks to the public library.

I am from playin' at Grandma's feet and wearing her macaroni necklaces. I am from pickin' cotton and canning green beans. I am from playing Cowboys and Indians. I am from big gardens and old cars.

I am from big brothers and little brothers and little sisters and friends in the neighborhood and adults who'd spank my behind even if I wasn't their kid.

I am from black and white pictures, water coolers in the window, and slower times.

Where are you from?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Consider the Lilies

I saw this beautiful art quilt at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2006. I remember standing in front of it thinking it was incredible, but also thinking that's not something I could ever do. I'm a traditional quilter all the way. I love the old patterns like Churn Dash and Ohio Star and Snail's Trail. I love the old fabrics, whatever era. I remember thinking this must take a lot of dedicated time and a lot of dedicated brain power to make. Not me, I don't want to do that.

Then I saw these.

The first couple of years after my parents died (they died the same year, just four months and a day apart and that's a whole 'nother story) I bought Easter Lilies in their honor to be placed in the sanctuary on Easter morning. We brought them home after church and planted them here under this tree where I could see them from my deck. There are now way more than four lilies and they just keep spreading. Looking at them makes me wish I could make a quilt that looks like that! Not a traditional quilt but one that reflects the beauty that God put in the lily. An art quilt!

Every time I see them I am reminded of the verse from Matthew 6: "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." God does such beautiful work.