Sunday, August 30, 2009

What a Ride!

You know that saying about hoping one arrives in heaven in a great swoop, cheering with joy, "what a ride!"?? That's how I feel my summer has been (one busy time after another) and has ended (wow!).

I was so busy all summer long; mission trip to South Dakota, volunteering at a local summer school, preparing for my son's wedding, the wedding day (super fun!), short trip to the lake, a conference in Philadelphia. Now this past weekend my niece got married - another happy and wonderful event! We all had a blast, and I came home tired but happy from all the festivities. Tomorrow I have to get up bright and early and start back to work (the first day of a ten-month stint). So I feel like I'm sliding into work, after a whirlwind summer, shouting, "what a ride!"

groom's family

bride's family

first dance, with an audience of just
some of the cute little kids
that were everywhere (they had a blast)

chicken dance

Autumn dancing with her 2nd cousin

the Macarena - we kept dancing late into the night

the couple on their way out -
can you guess from his shirt
where they are headed?

Here's my great niece, one of the flower girls, aka Energizer Bunny! She wouldn't quit!

Now for me it's back to reality - back to work. Where did the summer go?? What a ride!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun, Fun....

It has been a busy and fun week, with my sister and nephew here visiting, and even some quilty stuff getting done. Tonight we had dinner with my son and DIL (I like saying that... they have now been married for one month). After dinner we had ice cream - yum! And I gave DIL, Hummingbird, her quilt which was her college graduation gift. Finally got it done, but I say that's not bad - only three months late.

Today's mail brought me this fabulous Giveaway (below) that I won from Vicki at . The fabrics are beautiful, and there are so many of them! Wow! And look at the gorgeous book! That is going to be a fun book to look at for inspiration. Thanks a million, Vicki!

Yesterday sis, nephew, and I went to the local zoo, which I had not visited in years. It has really grown since I was there last. They added a visitor center, restaurant, really nice gift shop, lots of gorgeous flowers (I dig those fabulous lily pads) and extras like a seasonal butterfly house for this summer. We really enjoyed seeing the animals, and it was such a beautiful day!
I have never before seen such enormous lily pads!

Zebra is my sister's favorite animal.

My favorite is - guess what - giraffes! Aren't they great?! These beauties were 15 feet tall! And the baby was 11 feet. Their legs alone are taller than most humans (over six feet tall)! I would lovelovelove to see giraffes in their natural home habitat. Wouldn't that be incredible?

The cougar and the lion both posed so nicely for us.
Very regal!

Baby orangutan: "Mommy! Watch this!"

Looovvved the Butterfly House!

The fun continues this weekend with more family gatherings and celebrations. TTYL!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday Women X

Would you believe that I forgot about Wednesday Women this week? However I did have lunch with a special woman and her son... my sister, visiting from NY, and my nephew! I didn't get a picture of us at lunch, but here they are at the conservatory at Como Park in St Paul. I'll post more about this visit a little later.

This was my last Wednesday Women gathering.. I had ten free Wednesdays during the summer and enjoyed having lunch with a variety of interesting (and sometimes not so interesting - see week VII) women. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'll do Wednesday Women again next summer. Time and circumstances will dictate.

Whatever happens, I hope I'm still here writing my blog, and you are still here reading it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ladies of Grace 26 Aug 09

The Ladies of Grace campaign says: You are encouraged to look back over the week and recognize a moment when your heart was open, or warm - or perhaps a time when you notice your heart closed, or hardened. It's an experiment in awareness - awareness of the grace that God offers us, and the grace that we can offer to others.

So here is my story. This week I was thankful for friendship and fellowship that other people can offer to our hardened hearts.

I'm a member of a group where I've been feeling a little bored, unchallenged, and uninterested. I've been wondering if I should quit. Then we had a gathering this week, and I remembered how much I like these people. They were friendly, happy, and we all had a good time. I felt that cold wall around my heart melt off into oblivion. Thank you, group, for helping me remember to see and love the spirit in each of us! Friendship is a gift.


Thank You, Senator Kennedy

photo from New York Times

A giant oak has fallen, and we were all in the forest to hear it. How will we respond? In Senator Kennedy's honor, I urge all Americans to work for universal health care insurance. Please watch this video. And below the video link, please read a story that my friend, Sally, gave me permission to share. Then call or write to your legislators to demand quality, affordable health care coverage for every American.

Tonight, please light a candle in your window to memorialize Senator Kennedy.
Tomorrow, as Senator Kennedy said, "...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
Tomorrow, let's re-commit ourselves to achieving the thing that mattered most to him: Quality, affordable health care for every single American.

And from Sally:

I became committed to universal health coverage last summer when my daughter was living and working in Miami. She earned $22,000/year. She paid $150/month for health insurance. She had a health issue which sent her to urgent care, and on to the hospital. Although her coverage paid for some of the costs, she owed $2,200 out of her pocket. In that one year, she spent over 25% of her income on her health expenses. She is frugal, and was able to pay off the bills over several months. No one, particularly someone with minimal income, should have to spend one-fourth of their income for health care expenses

Although she was young and single, and able to cope, it brought home to me the reality of this issue- and the crisis that families must experience when faced with an unexpected health expense or even providing routine care.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Us 37 years ago. Feels like last week.
Who's messing with my mind clock??

Today is our anniversary. We have been married 34 years. Wowza!!! We both had to work today and are both tired and a little grumpy from the hard days at work. Never mind. After 34 years it's not even a blip in the radar. We are happy to stay home and enjoy peace and quiet tonight.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

Saturday was another all-day sewing retreat. My guild is trying to do them monthly, held in my church, as a good way to gather, socialize, and get stuff done on a smaller scale than at a full weekend retreat. I was blown away with how many people showed up on Saturday! At least 13!! Our previous high attendance was maybe 5, and average is about 3. So you can see why I was totally amazed.

In addition to the 13, we had about 6 people from church show up to help make school bags for worldwide school kit distribution. That fellowship room was humming with activity, fabric, talk, laughs, and productivity. What a happy day!

Nancy from church, using the serger on the school kit bags. She also brought that great antique Singer machine with the rounded wooden carrying case (see on the floor, under the table). Her husband is great at finding treasures at garage and antique sales.

Our youngest helper from church (age 11) and her mom, helping us with the ironing. Thanks for helping the children!!

Bea is a member of my church AND a member of my guild.. a double dipper, like me. She worked diligently on bags and even took some home to finish.

Here's the school bag crew. Thanks, everyone!

Six of us stayed there sewing until 11:00 p.m. - for me that was a 15-hour day. Uffda! It was so much fun that I didn't really get tired until I hit the wall at about 10:30 p.m. Boom! I needed to call it quits. We were all getting a lot done. Here are some samples:

Today, Sunday, I nearly slept through the big events of the morning. Thank goodness Charles woke me up at 9:37 a.m. I had to be at church in 23 minutes. (This is my caveat for why I don't look completely presentable in the pictures.) It's a miracle that I made it in time!

First, I delivered Quilt #22 for Quilts for Leukemia. A three-year old boy has been battling leukemia. A family at my church knows the family and will deliver the quilt to him this week. Oh the little sweetie - I hope he does OK. So young to be fighting such a battle! Please pray for him. His name is Dakota.

Next, it was confirmation Sunday. I have been a mentor to one of the confirmands for the last three years. It has been fun to see how she has grown up so much in that time. I made her a quilt, and it was fun to present that to her today. Her mother gasped, "you made her a quilt?!" I'll admit, I lovelovelove this quilt, and a tiny part of me didn't want to part with it. But it was meant as a gift, and I was happy to give it.. my mentee and her extended family all seemed to love it immediately. They started pointing out the fabrics they liked best, part of what I love about giving away quilts. I think it will be a well-loved quilt.

Here is it in all its glory.

I curled up in it to imbue it with more love before giving it away.

the quilt and its new family

This is the youngest member of our church.

I got to hold her; she was kind of spooked by all the noise and the people.

After church I crashed into bed. I was sooooo tired! I slept for two hours.
Now I'm awake, I think. It's a gorgeous day, and I think I'll take a walk. Haven't done that in ages, because I've had a bum foot that hurts after walking just a few feet, but it seems to be getting better. It's time to get a little more active again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Five

Five (make that six) fun things about my week:

1) My sister started a Facebook account!

2) I finished three quilts that will be given away... all very pretty. One is so gorgeous it's almost hard to part with it! (Pictures will come in a day or two.)

3) I won a wonderful giveaway at ! My lucky day!

4) Book group on Tuesday was super fun - met at M's house and fell in love with her, her life, her house, her husband, and her dog.

5) My daughter got a new (better) job! Yippeee!!

6) The Beginning Quilt Class I helped teach came to an end. By the last day we had dwindled down to one student. Faithful Leslie is shown above, finishing her table runner. She still needs a binding lesson which we will happily provide. Leslie came to every class except when she had to work, she worked hard on all the block unit lessons and practiced at home, she came up with a table runner pattern on her own, using the practice pieces she had created, and she made an innovative backing piece for the runner -- other practice pieces! She doesn't think she is creative, but look at what magic has been wrought! She created, she designed, she sewed, she quilted! Voila! A happy success!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Few Blocks, A Few Quilts

Tonight I sat down to read and pretty soon dozed off. I kept dreaming that my daughter was standing in the room, watching me sleep. Weird. When the phone rang I half expected Daughter to answer it as she was just standing there, after all! Then I realized I had to wake up and do it myself.

Anyway, I have done a bit of sewing lately. I'll see what pictures I can round up to show you.

These first two blocks are just for fun. Ohio Star is one of my favorite blocks to make, so when I just "feel like making a block" this is usually what I do.

The next blocks are catch-up for the Friday Block Party I have been trying to do. This summer I managed to get really far behind. But I'm pretty much caught up now - hooray! Here are some of my FBP blocks:

This rather unattractive quilt top is made all from scraps. Sometimes I like these, but this particular one doesn't do much for me. But it will keep some kid warm. Hopefully he/she will like it. (I'll probably donate this to Wrap a Smile once I get it all done.)

This is a beautiful quilt that I cannot take credit for! I was visiting a friend and saw this lovely quilt in her guest room. It was made by her grandmother. I am totally in love with quilts! Couldn't you just crawl into this bed and have a nice nap?