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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

If You're Reading This, Please Vote!

I almost forgot to show you this wonderful wallhanging I finished for my kitchen. It's called Apple Basket by Lakeview Quilts. I bought the pattern in a quilt shop in Colorado last summer when we were camping in Estes Park. It's super easy - the checkerboard part is strip pieced and the basket is machine appliqued. When we bought this house five years ago it came with a blue formica countertop, which we haven't replaced. I'm voting for the replacement but my husband is voting against it so we're stalemated. His philosophy about everything is "does it still work? if so, keep it till it doesn't." My philosophy is, "but I love tile, I want tile, tile is beautiful." After almost 44 years of wedded bliss, well okay, sometimes bliss-sometimes whatever else marriage is at the moment, I have learned to bide my time. Tile will come - eventually. Back to the kitchen. I know you already know I love yellow so of course I used yellow with the blue counters. Yellow dish towels, yellow flower pots, etc. But then I discovered red. Ah, red - a passionate color, an in-your-face color, a forgiving color (doesn't show dirt). My yellow and blue rug was not forgiving and it drove me crazy trying to keep it clean. Sooooo, I switched to red. Red rug, red dish towels, red embroidery on my valance.
This window is to die for. It looks out on the lake and is shaded all summer. A girl doesn't mind doing dishes here. The embroidery was done on my Janome 11000 - a wonderful machine for those of you who are interested - and each little item is something related to the kitchen (an orange, a pie, a teapot, yada, yada). Oops, just noticed the dishes draining there. Well, at least they're clean dishes! If you can see the little vase on the left side of the sink, it's the vase from the very first flowers I ever received. I was five years old and having my tonsils out. That's 55 years ago! Good grief, how did I get this old? And on top of the cabinets the Blue Willow platter is from my very fist set of dishes when we married. I have a pretty good collection of it now and love every piece. There are several different Blue Willow patterns but mine are the ones marked "Japan" on the back. I think we should have a contest. I need to convince my husband that I really, really need tile. So, how about you vote. Just go down to the "(number) Comment" at the bottom of this post and leave me a comment telling me if I should keep the blue (if you have to) or if I should get tile and what color the tile should be. Can't wait to get the results of this one!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Relay For Life

Niki has a great blog for quilters to list their blogspot. Try it - I did!

Tonight is the Relay For Life, a fund raiser for The Cancer Society. My husband will be walking the Survivors Lap at the kickoff. When he was diagnosed with melanoma in late 2004 we were taken aback. Not only was it unexpected, but it was also an automatic membership in a club he didn't want to belong to and hadn't applied for. For heaven's sake, we don't even like selective organizations! Even though his hair is gray now, in his youth he was both a natural redhead and a natural athlete - a deadly combination. He fished, he hunted, he played football and ran track. That time in the sun led to millions of freckles and, over the years, moles and what I call "skin tags." These skin tags are little pieces of skin that are small, flesh colored and annoying, but not lethal. One of them grew and grew and grew until it looked like a skin tag on steroids! It was still flesh colored and, seemingly, innocent. I'd seen all the pictures of moles to watch for, moles that are dangerous. They were black, mostly flat, and irregular in size. This one was nothing like those! This one was in disguise! It was an "atypical" melanoma, which simply means it doesn't look like all the rest. Wouldn't you know it!

It was on the front of his shoulder right where the seat belt would hit and pull on it, causing it to bleed a little. I fussed and fumed for a year because it bled on the pillow cases, which annoyed the devil out of me, but couldn't convince him to have it taken care of by the doctor. Finally, when he was in for his annual blood pressure check, he remembered to ask about it. An immediate visit to the dermatologist led to an even faster visit to the oncologist. Before we could blink twice he was sitting in one those recliners with an IV dripping into his arm supplying poison to the poison that had invaded his body. He did that for two weeks. Then for a year and a half he gave himself shots 3 times a week, shots which gave him "flu-like symptoms." That's the doc's description. Fever, chills, muscle aches, too tired to move - that's my description. He gave himself the shot at bedtime so that the worst of the symptoms would be at night and for the first 6 months he continued to work, every day and every hour he was supposed to be there. His sense of responsibility is a bit overwhelming sometimes. At that point we agreed that retirement might be in order.

I fully expect that watching him walk that Survivor's Lap tonight will be extremely emotional for me. I'd like to skip it, just like I wanted to skip the whole journey with the big C. But I won't. I'll watch him walk, I'll cry, and I'll thank God for the blessing of the additional time we've been given. For each of you out there who've battled this disease, or who has watched someone you love battle this disease, I'll be praying for you as well. You'll be on my heart and in my mind. Jerry and I are blessed and we know it. His cancer is gone, but it is not forgotten. We know that cancer likes to sneak back and we are ever vigilant.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Home At Last

If you read my last post you know that I've been in San Antonio for the last several days. I went with my sister and spent every day in the Gonzalez Convention Center waiting for her while she went to class. I did that because I didn't think, scratch that, I knew she couldn't drive there and back by herself from our aunt's house 12 miles away. As I've said earlier, and repeatedly because that's a sign of my age (repeating things) (over and over) (ad nauseum), my sister doesn't multi-task well any more. And she darn sure can't drive on an unfamiliar interstate system, negotiate signs that are blurry at best (aging vision you know) and that appear to have been placed randomly by a drunk monkey, and chat on a cell phone making flight arrangements to a foreign country for the "destination wedding" of daughter #2 while drinking a McDonalds Iced Vanilla Coffee with extra ice, extra vanilla and extra cream (I kid you not that's the way she orders it) and eating a sausage biscuit. She can't do it and survive. Therefore, I went with her saying, go left here, turn there, park here. I sat in the coffee bar at the convention center gazing down on the Riverwalk.
I had the best of plans. I wanted to post every day in May and failed miserably because of that darn $12.95 a day internet fee at the convention center - and a few other life-got-in-the-way things. I planned to complete the holly block of Winter Wonderland. Failed at that, too. When you do redwork you end up with all these leftover snippets of thread, red thread. Red thread snippets have to be disposed of. I tried putting them all in one place so I could throw them in the trash but then someone would come along and put their newspaper down, or their coffee cup or their purse and threads would go flying. It's one thing to look like Pigpen with thread snippets all around you when you're at home. It's another when you're sitting in the middle of thousands of people in a convention center. So I read. I read a lot. I read great romantic trash novels. $4.97 each romantic trash novels at WalMart. It was mindless and it was no-brain-required. Don't you just love when you have a great excuse to read mindless and no-brain-required romance novels!
But now I'm home and it's back to reality. I've done the laundry, cleaned off my desk, balanced my checkbook (oh, no!), read or deleted the 139 e-mails waiting on me and spent hours trying to find a flight to Cancun (for the big wedding) that's not at 5:00 a.m. (an hour I hope to never see) and that doesn't cost more than my house. And tomorrow, barring any cataclysmic events, I shall be back at the sewing machine. Yea!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I'm So Spoiled!

Ok, I admit it. I'm spoiled. I never thought I was. I didn't want to be. I've told everyone I'm not. But I am. However, I'm not a brat so I won't complain (too much). I'm in San Antonio visiting my aunt and cousin. I came with my sister because she's attending a conference here and it was a chance to spend time with her as well as family. Good plan, right? Wrong.

We met in Dallas and flew together to San Antonio - I'm from Arkansas, she's from Missouri. We rented a car, plugged in her GPS system that she brought with her, and headed for the convention center. The woman on the GPS didn't like us. She told us to take a "hard left" while driving 70 down the Interstate. When we refused she griped like a wild thing. She was a nasty, hateful, mean......well, witch comes to mind. We drove 2 1/2 hours looking for the convention center which is 12 miles from the airport. Tired, hot, hungry we started looking for my aunt's house. Neither of us had been there since she moved to this house so we again tried to rely on the GPS. We were nice. We smiled. We did everything she told us to do. She took us back to the airport. Well, she tried but being the smart cookies we are when we spied the airport signs we unplugged her, tossed her in the back seat, and drug out a map!

Second day, knowing we were so lost the day before that my sister would never make it to the meetings on her own, I volunteered to take my computer with me and go to the convention center so I could give directions while she drove. I figured this will work out fine - I can do my blogging while she's in her meeting because a convention center will surely have wireless. Make sense? Sure. Except wireless at the convention center is $12.95 a day. I was only going to be there a couple of hours. This did not compute with me. So I read instead.

Still the second day, but a different problem. I'm addicted to Starbucks Iced Chai Lattes. I don't buy them at Starbucks because they cost too darn much. I'm savvy, I look on the internet and find the Tazo Chai Concentrate at Coffee AM and order it by the case. I mix my own and I'm an expert at it by now. I'm over 60, I need calcium, so that's how I get it - twice a day. In my own defense, I do use skim milk. Back to the problem - there's a Starbucks in the convention center but they have no chai. I am not happy.

My sister likes to talk on the cell phone while she drives. I have explained that we are getting older and multi-tasking is not something we do well. But, her daughter is getting married and they have to make wedding plans so (still the second day) she and said daughter talk the whole time she is driving. Ergo (don't you just love that word - ergo - it's such a strong, descriptive word) she didn't learn the way there or the way home. Therefore, you guessed it, third day I have to go back to the convention center with her.

Third day and I threaten to kill my only sister if she picks up the phone while driving. She must learn the way there and back home again. She must. But I found the mall and found a Starbucks that has Chai Lattes so I'm thinking I can do this! I can sip a Chai and read, shop a while, have my second chai of the day, read some more, and it will be time to go home. The Chai was awesome. The mall was awful. It's Memorial Day weekend and you can't breathe for the people. So it's back to the convention center for me.

I still haven't found Internet access anywhere I'm willing to use it - because for heavens sake, why would I pay $12.95 just to get on the Internet for an hour or two? That's a yard and a half of fabric! Why with $12.95, if I find it on sale, I might even get 2 yards! Aha, my aunt has Internet. aunt is blind. Her Internet talks to her. It is a strange man asking me strange questions which I do not understand. My aunt explains it to me and finally, finally I can blog! No pictures, but I can type! That's when I finally came to realize I'm spoiled. But I like being spoiled and I don't have any intention of changing. There are just some things that are necessary. So friends, for today, I'm wired again (Chai and Internet!) and, hopefully, when I get home on Wednesday I'll be back to my real world where I can mix my own and type to my heart's content.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Belly Laughs

If you want a good belly laugh today check out Jean at She has a fabulous story that kept me laughing for a good while this morning. The picture here will give you a hint.

If I could figure out how to link to her blog by just putting her name I would but I just haven't learned that. I know my new nephew-to-be, Josh, could probably teach me that - do you think he would take time out from his wedding weekend when I will see him again to give me a tutorial? I doubt it. The Wedding, coming in July, to my sweet niece Natalie, will be in CanCun. I've never been there before so you can bet I'll be taking lots of pictures and reporting back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Loved Lifted Me

Tonight at church we sang an old hymn, Love Lifted Me. What memories that brought back! When I was about 8 years old we lived in a tiny little house that had only two bedrooms. I have a sister and two brothers. That meant that my sister and I shared a room, the two boys shared a room and our parents slept in the living room. Both parents worked full time and came home exhausted at night to face four hungry kids who were still full of energy. Playing outside till dark-thirty (that was our term for just past dark) wasn't only allowed by our parents - it was almost mandated! Bedtime was as soon as they could reasonably feed and bathe us and get us tucked in - and we didn't always get the bath. My sister, Sherry, who is almost 3 years younger than me, and I would pull the covers over our heads and sing hymns to keep ourselves awake. There were several we had memorized - all the verses - and would sing over and over. Love Lifted Me was one of those. Of course, we'd start off whispering so Mom couldn't hear, but gradually we'd get more and more enthusiastic, louder and louder, till Mom was yelling, "Girls! Be quiet and go to sleep!" You'd think you could listen to 2 little girls sing hymns all night long, but bless my Mom's heart the sound of two sweet little voices praising God might be touching but exhaustion, after a while, would win out!

Well, love lifted me today in my small sewing group called Nimble Thimbles. There are 8 of us who meet together once a month to stitch, visit and eat. Some months we do more of one than the other, and you never know which it might be. Today we met at JoAnn's for lunch (delicious!) and then sewed for 2 or 3 hours. This group of friends range in age about 2 decades. We live in 3 different but nearby communities. We share a love of quilting and a love for the Lord. When we are together there are no differences, there is only love. And it always lifts me.

Below is a picture of JoAnn's YoYo throw that she's been working on for a looooooong time now. Isn't it gorgeous?

And check out for her first give-away. It will lift your spirits!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And The Journey Begins

Remember when I told you I would start Winter Wonderland as soon as I finished the project I was working on? Well, today's the day - the journey began. I always think of big projects like this as journeys because when you make that first stitch it's like the first mile of a trip. You're so excited and you can't wait to see each block finished and start the next but after a while you're like one of the kids saying "are we there yet?" The more you stitch the more you think will I ever be done? Why in the world did I tackle this? There are way too many blocks! Hand embroidery takes forever, I have an embroidery machine, what was I thinking, why didn't I just do it on the machine, maybe I could just take a little bigger stitch on this part and no one would notice, yada, yada. But for right now I'm just on the first block so I'm still excited, just like a little kid bouncing on the seat and wanting to look in all directions at once. I chose to start on what's probably the easiest block - a long skinny one of holly leaves and berries and vines.

Now why in the world would I choose the easiest block to start? Everyone knows you tackle the hardest ones first and get them done so it gets easier with the others. The truth is (I better whisper this cause I don't really want everyone to know) I'm addicted to NCIS and the TWO HOUR SEASON FINALE was tonight. Knowing it was the finale it was a sure bet that someone would die. Little did I know....well if you're addicted like me you already know and if you're not it wouldn't make any sense to you. But, what in the world are they thinking!!!! Back to the redwork.....I had to do the easy one so I could concentrate on the show. Makes perfect sense to me!

And for those of you wondering about the mystery won't believe what the pattern was! I'd show you but, alas, I have not finished that last set of blocks, let alone started putting the blocks together. Soon, but not this week. On Friday I'm off to San Antonio with my sister to visit my aunt and cousin. Can't wait to check out some quilt shops I haven't been to, stroll on the River Walk, wander through some missions, oh yes, and visit with my family. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's A Mystery To Me!

Several months ago my guild started a mystery quilt. I've never done a mystery quilt so I thought, what the heck, this could be fun. I'm always open to trying new things. The first month we made 32 nine patches out of dark and/or medium fabrics. I'm thinking, oh man this is easy!

Second month, same 32 nine patches except in light fabrics. Piece o' cake! This might even be boring. After all, we only meet once a month so I've got lots of time to do each step.

Step 3. Uh, Oh. I'm like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland....I'm late, I'm late. I need 14 of the light strips, 14 of the triangles, and 4 of the pyramids. Perhaps I spoke a little too soon about this being easy and boring. Thanks to the Quiltmania Retreat, though, they are done...finished before the guild meeting. Go, me!

If you look to your right you will see Step 4. If it looks like a jumbled mess, you're right! If you think quilt guld meets tonight, you're right! If you think I'm going to be finished before it's time to leave, you're wrong! Life got in the way..... this should be 64 "alternate" nine patches - top row of lights, bottom row of dark/mediums, middle row of one half square triangle (dark/light) and one dark and another half square triangel (dark/light). Please note that all of the rows are completed. I just haven't gotten the rows together.
Tonight is the night they are supposed to tell us how to put these blocks together. One of the women who is leading this mystery commented to me the other day, "I can't believe you haven't figured out yet what this is!" I'm the one who has zero imagination and can't even draw a stick figure. Figure out what it is - I leave that up to you. Any guesses? To be continued.......

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Help Wanted

Do you ever look at decorating magazines, find a picture of a wonderful bedroom and think “I can do that and my house will look perfectly put together and I can call Cottage Home magazine to come take a picture and put me on the cover?” I don’t. But I want to think that! Here’s my dilemma (see pictures). In my bedroom the walls are yellow, which I love, and the trim is white, which I love, and the bedspread is yellow chenille, which I love. So what’s the problem? Pillows, that’s the problem. Look in all the magazines and the beds look perfect….the bedspread can be over the pillows or folded back, it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s the pillows that make the look. I have this great red and yellow quilt on the foot of the bed so I want pillows to coordinate with it and the walls and the trim and the spread. Should be easy, right? Not! I have white pillowcases with white lace trim. I have white pillowcases with redwork “Faith” and “Hope” on the ends. I have a white throw pillow with redwork “Monday’s child, etc.” I have a wonderful teddy bear pillow and a bear named Jed and a perfect little throw pillow that I gave to my mother years before she died that says “thanks Mom for teaching me to sew.” I have a red and yellow paisley throw pillow and a small yellow pillow roll and I even have two pillow shams that match the spread. Soon I’ll have a white throw pillow with Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary on it. You name it I got it. I just can’t get it together and have it look right – heck it just looks stupid! Somebody please tell me how to fix this!!!! And if your question is, aren't you looking for some free interior decorating advice, the answer is yes, of course I am. I'm retired. We always look for free stuff, or at least a senior discount!

On another note, at church today our pastor had a wonderful sermon called, "The Great Adventure." He talked about Abraham who, at the age of 75, was called by God to move to a different land. And Abraham did it! And Sarah, who was 65, laughed when God said she would be the mother to many nations. But she got pregnant, which in my mind means she at least was willing to cooperate in the process. :) I think retirement is The Great Adventure of life. When I was younger (30ish) I thought retirement was when you went home, sat in the rocking chair and watched the cars go by. And you can if you want to. But you don't have to - you can actually do any darn thing you want to. Well maybe except get pregnant. You can go on mission trips, you can learn to quilt or knit or fly a plane (now honey, don't panic - I don't want to fly a plane), you can plant a garden or grow an orchid, you can listen to a child read a book or sit in the park and play a game of chess with friends or you could start a blog. You could even do nothing, but why would you? One of my favorite Bible verses is this: "For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven."Ecclesiastes 3:1 Retirement is the time to experience the pure joy of being alive - if you're there embrace it! And if you're not there, be jealous. It's awesome!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Katie Sees a Snake!!!!!

Picture this. There’s a big tree next to the woodpile at Connie & Larry’s campsite. Out in front of the woodpile is the burn pit. There’s a camper on either side of that. Curled up at the base of the tree is a four foot water moccasin. When the snake was sighted by Fay (Larry’s 87 year old step-mother) she ran to the camper while Connie went screaming to the picnic table where she contemplated climbing it. Patti, Fay’s daughter, was “indisposed” in the bathroom of the camper, where she began yelling “what’s happening?” The two monkeys, Katie and Dolly, started screaming, hopping up and down, and rattling the cage they were in. Larry, being the only man at the site, knew he had to be the one to kill it. He was in shorts and flip flops and had a big sledge hammer and a pair of fire tongs. I’m not sure what he was going to do with the fire tongs but he needed all weapons available. The women are yelling at Larry, the monkeys are screaming and jumping, the snake is trying to strike the nearest person (Larry) and Larry pins the snake down with the sledge hammer. Fay, remember she is 87, decides she needs to come help him since the two younger women obviously aren’t going to do it so (Mom to the rescue!) She comes out of the camper and grabs a piece of wood off the woodpile so she can beat the snake about the head. Then everyone is yelling at her to get away before she falls down and, finally, the snake is dead – Larry, not Fay, killed it. Picture the bedlam! I almost wish I'd been there. Later that evening I’m sitting in a lawn chair between the fire and woodpile when I think….ok, momma snake is dead, baby snakes are in the woodpile, daddy snake comes home to no dinner, screaming kids, absent momma, and he goes looking for her and what does he find but blood splatters on the grass and me. Time for me to go home!

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is done! I stitched yesterday until my thumb hurt and I had to take Tylenol but I finished her and she is so sweet…I can’t wait to get her put into a pillow. This morning I got out my herb blocks and the Winter Wonderland blocks and the pumpkin appliqué blocks and tried to decide which to do next. Decisions, decisions. I didn’t bring my sewing machine on this camping trip although I often bring my Featherweight. It’s the perfect size to fit into the basket I use as a coffee table and a small cutting mat/ironing surface is easy to stick in the closet. My dining table has an electrical outlet right next to it and an overhead light and windows on two sides so it’s an ideal spot to sit and sew and watch the birds and squirrels. But I remind myself I brought books to read and puzzles to put together and haven’t done much of either. The one bad thing about getting away from home like this is that you dream of all the “relaxing stuff” you want to do and you’d have to stay a month to get that relaxed!

Here’s a picture of a baby quilt I got sandwiched together before I left home this week. It’s ready to be quilted but I just can’t decide how I want to do it. Any suggestions? This quilt is going to Haley Grace, the daughter of my niece, who was born April 27th. The alphabet letters were machine embroidered and the border fabric is Clifford, The Big Red Dog. Should I just stitch in the ditch or try to outline the letters or something else that I’m not thinking of? I’m going to machine quilt it and I’m ready to start when I get home if I can just make this decision!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We’re camping this week. We came with friends that I’ve mentioned before (Connie and her husband Larry) and their monkey, Katie. We met another friend who also has a monkey - her name is Dolly. Katie and Dolly are old friends who, when they first see each other, look like two women who haven’t seen each other in years – they hug each other and pat each other on the back and laugh and talk nonstop. They also pick imaginary bugs off each other, unlike any women I know, but apparently that’s a loving gesture in monkey culture. They play like small children, tumbling around on the floor and sharing toys and food and cups, playing until they’re too tired to move. They attract a lot of attention in the campground. You must admit it isn’t every day you go for a stroll (to secretly check out everyone else’s camper) and see two monkeys playing in their owner’s lap. I have discovered camping with monkeys is a great way to meet new people cause you can bet everyone who sees them wants to stop and visit. I’m attaching a picture of the girls temporarily resting in Connie’s lap – Dolly is the larger and older of the two and Katie is still a baby sucking her thumb.

This is the view from my camper the first day we arrived. It was a beautiful sunny day, cool enough for a light jacket and perfect for sitting around a campfire that night eating s’mores. Last night it stormed big time, according to my husband. In fact, he said it stormed so bad he started to get up and put his pants on! You couldn’t prove it by me since I slept right through it. What is it about camping that makes you hungry all the time and sleep like you haven’t slept in a week? Guess I had worn myself out stitchin’ that day. I worked on my redwork “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” as someone named it on a former blog. Here are a couple of pictures of my camper’s living room where I make my quiltin’ nest while we’re out in the wilderness. You can see I brought my roses with me and they’re still beautiful – God does such good work! I’m hoping to finish Mary, Mary today and then I’ll be ready to do three small blocks of herbs (I’m a little behind on a BOM!) before I begin Winter Wonderland. The best part of camping is that you can sew all day with no guilt, no jumping up to do a load of laundry and no vacuuming.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Madness Has To Stop!

This is a redwork wall hanging I finished this year called “The Quilter’s Stash.” That’s the way I feel after a trip to the quilt shop – where oh where can I put this fabric? The drawers are full, the shelves are overflowing, there’s fabric in baskets and plastic bins and even empty suitcases….the madness has to stop! Oh, it’s organized….folded and sorted by color families or holidays or backings or fat quarter stacks. When I started quilting in 1995 I bought lots of calicos, which I rarely use any more. And I couldn’t figure out what print went with what color, etc. so I bought lots of navy, burgundy, forest green and cream. Sometimes I just bought it because it was on sale – don’t laugh, you know you’ve done the same thing. But it’s time to let go of some of it. I’ve made up my mind, don’t try to stop me. I’m going to give some away. Now which pieces do I choose – and how much? The navy with tiny pink flowers or the green with red spirals? The rusty burgundy with green dots or the cream with navy paisleys? Could you choose between your children? I think not! I am convinced that fabric manufacturers put something in the dye that’s addictive. It’s the same way with Sonic diet Cokes – have you ever noticed how many women are addicted to those things? So tell me, do you know the cure for this addiction? If you do I know a lot of fabricalohics who will pay big money to get it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meet Katie!

I have a friend/neighbor/stitchin’ buddy who is dear to my heart – her name is Connie. Connie and her husband, Larry, adopted a black faced capuchin monkey a couple of years ago. Katie came to them when she was just a tiny thing and quickly became the darling of everyone who met her. Katie requires a lot of care – bottles and specially prepared food, cages and toys and swings, baby clothes modified to make room for her tail, frequent diaper changes, shots for measles and mumps and anything else human children get. But Connie is the perfect mother. She happily does all the things Mothers do; she loves her and scolds her, she feeds her and diapers her, she sacrifices her “alone time” when she’d like to be sewing to play with Katie after she gets off work, she loves on her when she’s tired and grumpy and yells at her when she’s running wild through the house. Katie is in her “terrible twos” stage of development so that means she has to be taught what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Remember those days when you had to watch them every minute? You were constantly saying, “it’s not polite to throw things at people,” “food is for eating, not for smearing on your face,” “don’t run in the house,” “we don’t put beans in our noses,” “because I said so!” Motherhood is typically a term we reserve for those with human children. This is a tribute to all who have monkeys, cats, dogs, bunnies, birds or others of God’s creatures and who love and care for them. Even the first grade teachers with tarantulas and teenage boys with snakes! And especially for Connie – Happy Mother’s Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Gardner I Am Not!

When we moved into this house 5 years ago there were 3 climbing rose bushes on the fence. I've never watered them, sprayed them, or otherwise taken care of them. I know, shame on me. But in my defense I'm allergic to most everything outside, including the mold that grows on the growing things. Bet you didn't know mold grew on trees and shrubs and plants, did you? Anyway, the poor roses end up with black spots on their leaves before the season is over and always look kind of "spindly" and neglected, advertising to everyone who passes by that the home dweller is a neglectful parent of plants. However, this year God did all the work for me! He watered and watered and watered and in between waterings he put the sun to work. The result was lots and lots of roses for me! Isn't God good! I have one pink rose bush and two red rose bushes and all these roses came from them this morning. I don't ordinarily cut so many but the nasty weatherman says we are getting high winds and hail again this afternoon. Arkansas has had about six weeks of high winds and hail and tornados and thunder and lightening and pounding rain. We would like a break from that, please. Confession time: several years ago my children bought me a gorgeous white rose bush for Mother's Day. I killed it. I have no idea how I killed it - I even tried to take care of this one. Sigh.

Back to quilting...I have a new picture to show you. I went fabric shopping yesterday. It was a perfect day. I had a 25% off coupon at my fabric quilt shop - Pinwheel Fabrics in Bryant, Arkansas. I had picked a pattern for my niece's wedding quilt and had in my head exactly what fabrics I wanted and, wonder of wonders, I found them! I can't show you those fabrics now because she might be reading this but I will show you a great red polka dot I found. Since I love redwork I'm always looking for red and white fabrics to pair with whatever my current project is. Don't you just love polka dots?

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Mother's Day Memory

I am one of the blessed ones who had a Mother and two Grandmother's who quilted. As Mother's Day approaches I want to honor my Mom by showing you this beautiful wedding ring quilt she made for me several years ago. She offered to make me a quilt and I made only one Who would have thought she'd choose this most difficult pattern? But isn't that what Mother's do for their children? They choose the wing of the chicken for themselves and give you the breast, they spend way too much on your Easter dress and wear last year's dress themselves, they pick the difficult quilt pattern to make for you and wouldn't dream of making it for themselves...sacrifices made and not even thought of as sacrifices. My Mom was a funny lady....I remember one time when my Dad was going to be traveling for a week and asked her to pack his suitcase. Now you have to understand my Mom believed in folks taking care of themselves as much as they were able. And she loved a joke. She packed Daddy's suitcase for him all right, but before she did she sewed the fly shut on all his boxers! She giggled all week when she thought about what she'd done. That was before cell phones and we were so poor Daddy never would have thought of calling home. But you can just imagine what he was thinking! He must have liked her jokes because they were married 63 years when he died! Hope your memories are just as special.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Butterflies Are Free

Look at these beautiful bright colors - I'm pulling all these from my stash! The background is a tiny black/white print that really sets off the vivid colors. Each floral butterfly is fused to a black butterfly about 1/2 inch bigger than the floral. I have at least six more florals that are clear, bright colors that I'm going to add to these. I can't decide about the sashing but I'm thinking black sashing with cornerposts of the florals....can you picture it?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quilt Mania

The first week in April every year my quilt guild has a retreat called QuiltMania. On Monday forty or fifty of us go to a nearby 4H center where we set up machines, cutting tables, ironing boards and all the necessary tools and sew, sew, sew until Thursday. It is so fun! This year I worked on the mystery quilt we're doing in a guild workshop and also made this top. Don't you love the colors! It's king sized and sort of a rail fence pattern with floral blocks between the rail fence blocks. It's such a spring time quilt - it just looks like sunshine to me. The background floral is a wonderful yellow with red and green rose in it and the rail fence picks up those colors. If you haven't gone to a retreat like that you really should. I get so inspired when I see the quilts that everyone is making; I come home wanting to make them all.

When I got home I used some of the fabric I bought from our vendor who was there to make this purse. The coral background of the floral exactly matches an outfit I have for church. What luck!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Learned a New Trick

Wow! Thanks to my new blogger friend (Marilyn) I learned how to put a picture with my blog instead of on the sidebar! That might seem minor to some of you but, trust me, to me it's a big deal! This is the book by Tricia Cribbs where I got my girl watering her flowers pattern. Hard to see but it's a good little book. I worked on it a little while last night and it's going pretty fast. Not a hard pattern at all which means it's simple enough to do while you're watching television. I would love to hear any suggestions for framing this for a pillow. I use turkey red and light yellow in my bedroom and that's where it's going.

This is the quilt that I have on my bed - it's a Yellow Brick Road using the turkey red and yellow and I made it several years ago but love it so much I refuse to change it out. My bedroom is so cheery with it on the bed!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Awed by your Work

I wonder if posting twice in one day will count for the one I missed yesterday? :) This beautiful Sunday is winding down and the lake is calm and beautiful. I've read a few blogs tonight and am just blown away by the beauty of the work so many folks are doing. The Dear Jane blocks are so wonderful and the redwork/embroidery is stunning and I see it on so many blogs. It really inspires me and makes me want to head to the sewing room. I'm not listing particular blogs because there are so many! Thanks for sharing.

Utter Chaos!

Well my attempt to post a blog a day in May failed miserably on May 3! I sure didn't make it far, did I? But I have a really good excuse......I had 30 people at my house for supper and 10 spending the night. Every time I tried to sneak in to the computer someone caught me and wanted something to eat or I had to wash dishes, or someone wanted to know where something was or I was washing dishes, or some kid was getting too close to the lake or I was washing dishes. You get the picture. This morning most of them are still asleep or on the deck reading the paper or, in the case of children, piled up in my bed watching cartoons. I've decided not to attempt church since I only have two very small bathrooms and can't imagine getting everyone up, fed, showered, dressed, and out the door on time. Hope everyone else who is trying to post every day in May is doing better than me!

The oldest person at my house this weekend is my aunt who will be 70 in December and is blind. Riding back from the cemetary (a 2 hour + trip) I suggested she get a little nap since she had gotten up at 3:00 yesterday morning to get there on time. She said, "absolutely not! I only get to see all my family once a year and I'm not missing one minute...I'll sleep tonight!" What a wonderful attitude. The youngest member, on the other hand, obviously didn't feel that way. She slept almost the whole time but since she was only 6 days old we all forgave her as we passed her around.

I promise to do better the rest of the month....or not. I might just take off for a week and go camping instead! Right now the peace and quiet of the deep woods sounds pretty inviting.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Through a Child's Eyes

We had an awful thunderstorm here this morning and farther north there were tornados. We've had more than our share of bad weather in Arkansas this spring. Please pray for all those who have lost loved ones and homes and their sense of security and safety in where they live.

I had breakfast this morning with a friend who is a foster parent to an 18 month old girl who has only been with them a few days. The cafe where we have breakfast on Fridays looks out on a large lake. I held this little girl while her mother paid her bill and we walked over to the windows to watch the wind whipping up the water. Must have been her first time to see a lake since she promptly said, quite loudly, "Bath!" You know, from a child's perspective that bathtub probably resembles a lake!

It's mid-afternoon here and members of my family will be arriving soon for the big reunion. Chaos will prevail, children will run and laugh, adults will talk louder and louder trying to be heard over others, and food will be plentiful and tasty. You gotta love these kinds of events! I won't get much stitching done the next few days but maybe occasionally I'll sneak away to my bedroom to put needle to fabric on my redwork. Machine stitching will be completely out since I'm putting a blow-up bed in the sewing room for more sleeping spots. I went to a neighbor's yard sale this morning and she invited me in to see her sewing room - a converted two car garage. Am I jealous? You bet I am! All that space.......

Thursday, May 1, 2008

There's a Chipmunk Living in my Closet

From my kitchen window I have a wonderful view of the lake but also of the bird feeders my husband faithfully keeps filled. I was hoping this picture would be a little better but if you look close you'll see 2 mallards and 3 doves eating whatever seeds the smaller birds and the squirrels drop. In my carport I have 2 storage closets. In one of them I have a freezer and an extra refrigerator and in the other we store odds and ends and bird seed. Today as I walked outside I saw a chipmunk dart under the closet door! I guess he's discovered Jerry spills some of the bird seed when he's filling the feeders.

I went out to the camper today to put sheets on the bed - it's been closed up for the winter and I'm getting it ready for a trip to the lake we're planning. I'd forgotten that I put a couple of quilts out there. They are a couple of my favorites so I'll try to post some pictures in the next day or two.

I haven't gotten to do any stitching today and I think I'm having withdrawal pains. If I don't get some work done on the mystery quilt my guild is doing I'm going to be way behind. But first I really, really want to finish this redwork piece I'm working on. It's so hard to set priorities on UFOs, don't you think?