Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowed In

I've been snow bound here in my "little cabin in the woods " for 11 days now and no end in sight. This is the most snow we've had in many years and I wish it would go away. We're going to have a White Christmas that's for sure. John (DH) has been calling for weather reports daily as he is due to come home Christmas Day for his two months off the ship. He's in Portland where they too are having record snowfall while his big 4WD truck sits here at home in the driveway. On the way home his last visit the starter went out, it rained buckets and he couldn't get it fixed. It's now ready for this winter driving via a tow to the local Ford Dealer.

I'm surviving thanks to my brother who delivered a care pkg of M & M's, (Marlboro and Miller) and picked up the quilt my sister had me quilt. Another care pkg arrived via my Bil and sis of coffee, kitty food and a few other supplies as they needed to pick up yet another quilt I had quilted for her. Both Xmas presents for her Son and GS. Aren't family great. Its not that I'm afraid to drive in this weather, it's the other drivers on the road up here on the side of a mountain that worry me.

While being cooped up I finally finished handquilting this top. It's a kit quilt from years gone by and was completely embroidered when I found it in my MIL's attic. It's all washed up and ready to put on my bed come spring.

this is my first attempt at doing a large quilt. It's not fancy just big meander with curly cues in the red center blocks. I'm still in the learning process but with several more tops in the wings will have good practice.
As the year comes to an end we all think of our goals for the coming year. This year I hope to complete all my goals while not making big unrealistic demands on myself. Last year my goal was to finish all my UFO's which I never accomplished as life took on a life of its own. Instead I did a lot of cleaning out and getting rid of those I no longer wanted to do.
My goals for 2009:
Organize my sewing room to be more user friendly and clutter free.
Machine 7 of the 8 tops I have in a tote.
Hand quilt an antique wedding ring top.
Only start one new quilt for a friend.
Use up my stash for backings.
A fabric Diet only batting.
If I manage these then I can always add something else. I want to have a feeling of accomplishment as next year comes to an end rather than feeling there were way to many things left to do.
I'm thankful for:
Family that makes sure I'm taken care of when DH is on the ship.
For care pkgs during this snow storm.
All the wonderful friends I've met over the net.
Having electricity, so many have been without in this cold weather.
My wood stove that keeps me warm and toasty.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another month and more has passed since I updated my blog. I just haven't been feeling like blogging. Don't know what's the matter with me these days. This past year has been so long for me with so many family and friends passing away. Just recently my youngest son's half brother commited suicide. He was only 43. It's so heart breaking to know he was so troubled he took his own life. He didn't leave a wife or children to mourn but he left siblings, nieces and nephews who will miss him.

My sisters and I finally finished Mom's Duds quilts and are passing them out this coming Sunday. We were rather naughty and called our out of town siblings and told them they had one more gift coming from our Mom. Only one asked what it was and we just said "you'll have to come collect it to find out" so all of them will be there to get their gift along with the remaining settlement from the estate. It will be a nice get together before Xmas for a bit of catching up with all of us.

The past few days have been spent finishing up with blocks to do a jewel box for a friend of ours. I still have a small border to add then it will be complete and ready to quilt. I hope to get the border on tomorrow, do up a backing and be ready to quilt it soon. I'm calling this one "scattered" as it started out controlled but ended up every bit as scattered as the girl it is going to.

My youngest sister has recently caught the quilting bug. All us sisters shared the quilt blocks our Mother had made and never assembled. Her first attempt at squaring off, laying out and assembling is quite the maverick. She's using her blocks to make quilts for her children and grandkids for Xmas so they will have a quilt from their grandma. She's very talented in every way. Ask her to lay a floor, climb up on the roof, fix a car, she can do all those things. I laugh when she tells me I have no business up on the roof. What, she thinks I'm old and feeble, but yes, balance is not my strong point and I certaily would fall off the roof were I to get up there.

I've learned a very valuable lesson recently. Having some "fire retardant" gloves I loaded the wood stove for the night. Laid the gloves next to the stove and promptly went off to bed. Very shortly I smelled smoke and got up to see what was going on. Walked into the living room to a cloud of smoke hanging near the ceiling, flames shooting from those gloves and the wood trim on the slab scorched . Grabbed up those gloves and into the sink they went. Opened all the doors and on went every fan in the house. Realizing I could have burned the house down I had a very hard time falling asleep that night.

Sisters to share quilting nights with.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

It's not a Long Arm but it's mine and I love having it. I've been wanting a quilting set up for a long time and after looking around decided one of those table top outfits just wasn't what I wanted. My sister has one and even she dislikes it. Then one day surfing around Craig's List I stumbled onto this advertized. Just three years old, the price was right and just what I wanted. It's the closest to a LA as I could get, extends out 120" altho' with my limited space I've got it down to 5 feet. It's going to take a lot of practice to do all those fancy motifs but I'm learning. My first practice is on the frame and when it's done I'm sure my fur balls will love having another quilt to stretch out on. They won't mind a bit what it looks like.

3 down and 4 to go.

My sisters and I have been busy. We decided we didn't want to see someone walking down the street wearing our mom's duds and are making each of our siblings as well as ourselves a memory quilt from her clothes. It's been a good thing, we've cut and laughed, remembered dressing mom is this or that suit, remembered the ones she really liked and the ones that didn't get worn very often. We've had a fun time while putting these together reminiscing about our Mom laughter where there could have been tears. We thought they would be ugly but they've turned out kinda pretty. We're going to wrap them as a last gift from our Mom this Xmas. How fitting that the suits she made and kept her warm will now wrap her children.
I love my wood stove and so does Lady.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summers End

I can't believe the summer has come and gone. Seems I just blinked my eyes and winter rains are upon us already.

This summer has been a busy one with little or no sewing involved. We finally got our Mother's estate all settled and formed a Limited Liability Company as a real estate investment. With real estate being in the dumps, selling the property left to us would not be a very good idea at this time. So with that in mind we sent out an invite to all the heirs to meet us for a weekend potluck work party to clean up, haul junk to dump, fix fencing, trim trees and paint the mobile home.

The day dawned bright and sunny, 9 of the 12 heirs showed up dressed in their work clothes ready to man lawn mowers, weed wackers, power washers, chain saws and paint brushes. With clipboard in hand I assigned jobs as everyone grabbed up their tools and off they went. Armed with No Tresspassing/No Dumping signs the fence got repaired, the signs hung. 4 weed wackers buzzed, garbage/junk left for the dump and chain saws made short work of the to-do list. By the end of the day all were tired but very satisfied with what we had accomplished and only the mobile home needed a bit more washing before painting.

The next day those of us who had no other plans assembled again to finish up the mobile home. My brother borrowed a paint sprayer and made what would have taken several hours a short job. By the end of the day, having run out of paint we decided we could quit and finish what little bit of painting needed done on Monday while everyone else was at work. Not so. After a huge lunch of Chinese, temps in the high 70's we felt more like a nap than finishing the trim paint. vbg Now the rains have started and we'll have to wait for a sunny day.

Many thanks go to:

All heirs who showed up and worked their butts off and made this work party a sucess.
My SIL, Biena, My BIL, Roger and nephew Kyle.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Until this year Memorial Day has always been another holiday to me. Yesterday two of my sisters and I gathered together some gardening tools, a bucket of flowers from their gardens and off to the cemetary we went. I've never gone back to the cemetary after the death of one of my family, but this year I did. My other sisters always went, cleaned up the markers, left flowers and in past years took our Mom with them.

It was a beautiful day, the sun shining over the long rows of flags the VFW had erected along the roads in the cemetary. We arrived with our gear to find someone had already been there ahead of us to decorate our parents, our aunt and uncles graves. We called another sister to find out if she had been there ahead of us and yes, she always came each year and this year was no different. We trimmed and washed the markers then went around to other family members graves and continued with trimming and setting out flowers. When we were finished we still had flowers left and placed them on graves that looked forlorn.

Memorial Day will never be the same for me again, thought only of as another holiday but as a day of rememberance for those who have gone before us and those brave soldiers who have given their lives so we may continue to live in freedom.

In the past year our family has come together, more so since we lost our Mom when before we saw each other once a year at our annual family picnic. I've come to appreciate my brothers and sisters not for who I think they should be but for who they are.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Very Special Quilt

Our family raffle quilt top for this year is finished. It's now at my sister's home for her to quilt on her LA. While there's nothing really special about the pattern or fabrics as it was a kit, the very fact that it is the very last quilt my Mom had her hands on makes it one very special quilt. In the past my sisters and I have never added our names to the drawing although we've always bought tickets for our children and grandchildren. This year we sisters are buying tickets for ourselves as well with high hopes of winning this quilt.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day the first of many to be spent without my Mom. My sis and I went to the cemetary to clean up the funeral flowers, leave a boquet of lilacs for Mom to enjoy and also made up boquets for our sister, her baby, my auntie and my BIL's granny from the best of the left over flowers. It was a peaceful day for us. I'm not a person that does cemetary visits but this year it seemed a good thing.

I've been spending my time scanning slides, boxes of them my Mom had taken over the years. It sure brings back fond memories as I scan pictures of me and my youngest sister. We have a special bond the two of us. Don't know what it is but Mom always said she was just like "Dona" and the next words out of her mouth were "I'll send you where they have a barbed wire fence and can keep you in". Funny thing, our farm was fenced in and that barbed wire never kept her in. Mom always used to threaten me with "I'll send you to the convent in Seattle where they have brick walls". It's been fun to look once again into the past and see my Gramma, my parents when they were in the prime of their life and us kids were all way younger. It's given me an idea for our Family Picnic this year....a picture board of "Back Then and This is Now".

I haven't had much time for sewing this past month or two but tomorrow my sis and I are finally going to add the last border to our Family Raffle Quilt and get the backing all ready so another of my sisters can quilt it. This year I'm going to add my name to the tickets as it's the very last quilt my Mom touched and will be special. I usually don't put my name in and buy tickets for all my kids and grandkids instead. We sisters have decided we should get together once a month for our own little quilting group. There's four us us living close and if we add our brother's wife and one of our nieces we'll have a nice little group. We so enjoyed the few times we all got together to work on the raffle quilt at Mom's apt.

This week is the last of the things one has to do to settle a loved one's estate. We see her Attorney on Thursday to see how to notify the rest of the siblings and one Granddaughter who is remembered in Mom's will. On Sunday we siblings will all get together and settle Mom's personal possessions. It will be a sad occasion for us all.


For all my blogger friends who left comments on my post about MOM

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My Mom

My beautiful Mother passed away on April 25th surrounded by her children.

My Mom was the sweetest, kindest, loving woman I know. I never saw her without a smile. She wasn't very demonstrative but we all knew we were loved. I never heard her utter a bad word about anyone and if we did she would frown. She never missed a Mass, getting there in the rain or snow. In later years she would make it to church coming in with her walker. In the past year when she was confined to a wheel chair my youngest sister and I took her to Mass on Sundays. When we arrived late on Easter her parish priest stopped in the middle of his sermon to welcome her. She touched everyone she knew in one way or another.

She was always "put together", had a matching suit of clothes on, a pin on her lapel and a handkerchief in her pocket. In later years when her eye sight became so bad my sister and I would do her clothes before we took her to mass.

She was a superiour cook and while I never learned to plan and cook a meal while I was a young girl, she taught me to make the best cinamon rolls which become my Saturday job while my older sister cleaned the bathroom. I can still bake a first class apple pie, my turkey's are stuffed to this day with her dressing and I don't make cinamon rolls any longer.

She was a knitter and taught me to knit. I could never master 4 needles making sox or mittens. My stitches were always twisted, but I learned how to knit sweaters.

She crocheted. Her doilies graced every table in the house. I learned how to crochet from her and made my own doilies. She left behind a suitcase full.

She was an exceptional artist. Her paintings won ribbons at the county fair, hung in her credit union and grace most of our homes.

She was a seamstress and made all her own clothing right down to her drawers. My 3 younger sisters all wore "home made panties". My youngest sister's biggest wish growing up was to have a pair with a label from a store in them. I can laugh at them, I always had "store bought" undies.

I never saw my Mom without a needle in her hand stitching away on a quilt. Her hands were always busy. As her eye sight failed she could no longer quilt or do any of her other crafts. She would reach out feeling her blocks and ask if this block was finished. I started quilting when I moved home after being gone for many years to spend time with her. She was always gone doing one thing or another and her quilting group was the only place I knew where to find her. She made and donated many quilts to raffle for good causes. She took blocks donated to her quilting group and stitched them together into quilts for donations.

There wasn't a craft my Mom didn't master. She always said she did a craft until she got it down pat and then moved on to a new one.

My Mom was a doer. When she wanted to move, Dad said sell the house. She put a for sale sign up and sold the house in Minnesota. We moved to Washington. When Dad was remodeling the farm house here, she asked when he was going to remove a wall. He said if you want it down take it down and she did. She got a crowbar and the wall was down when Dad returned from work.

Her sense of humor never failed her. She could and did whip out one liners even in her last days. When her medications caused her nose to drip and she would forget to wipe it, I'd ask where her handkerchief was, her nose was dripping. She'd look at us and say "see girls this is what you have to look forward to". My sister always called her the "princess and the pea". She didn't like wrinkles and even when her eye sight was failing she would reach out as she was going to bed and smooth her sheets. In her last days at the hospital she would say she was sitting on a lump and would laugh when we said she must be getting pleats in her bum.

She grew up in the depression and when my father passed away she never spent on herself. She had her trailer, the farm was paid for, she needed to save for when she could no longer live by herself. When we asked why she didn't move to an apartment she always said why she should pay to live somewhere when her trailer and the farm was paid for. She watched her sister go through every penny her husband had left her and spend her remaing days in a nursing home. Mom wasn't going to end up there. She spent her remaining days in her own bed at the Assisted Living. She grew up in the era you saved to leave something behind for your children and she did. She made sure the farm was intact and we had an inheritance. She always had everything she wanted. A very independant woman.

Our parents raised us with good values. We all learned you worked for what you got. You stayed out of trouble or you had to suffer the consequences. All 8 of us turned out okey, stayed out of trouble, grew up and went on to be decent folk.

I'll miss my Mom. We were never very close but she always chose to come stay at my home when she was released from one hospital stay or another. I loved my Mom and never knew how to let her know how much. I'll miss my Sundays taking her to church.


For a loving Mom who is watching over me now

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My sewing room is finished and now the big job of sorting out and de-clutter all the stuff that came out of there has begun. I've spent the better parts of three days going through stuff, sorting to sell, give away and just plain throw out to the trash. It's amazing how much one piles behind closed doors, under tables, hidden in cupboards/closets. Things you haven't seen in years, have no idea why you have it and probably wouldn't use it anyway. So far I've culled almost 50 quilting books, blocks, patterns, emptied 2 totes and listed a bunch of antique sewing machine related items that don't even belong to any of the machines I have. I've found things I can use, like a plaid matching foot that is nothing more than a short shank walking foot with a fancy name and will fit my old black Singers.
Along with the sewing room makeover, the whole inside of the house is getting a face lift of sorts. We're installing a wood stove, propane prices have rizen so high it's more cost efficient to heat with wood. We picked out a "green energy" stove, have an install date so it's shift furniture time. My desk top puter goes to the new sewing room, all the furniture from the living/dining room moves to the den, the den furniture to the living room, the dining table to the kitchen and my huge roll top desk will live in what was the dining making a nice little office area. It's going to be nice to have all new arrangements. This furniture has sat in the same spots for 16years and it's time for a change. vbg

I joined a roundrobbin group some time ago and signed up to participate in the current RR's. One is an Add-a-Block with embelishments. I've never really embelished anything so for me this is way outside my comfort zone. The hummer is my starter block for this exchange. As the mail date arrived before I was finished I was able to send it on to the next person and will be able to add beads and what nots when it arrives home in the fall. It will make a nice wall hanging for my sewing room.

The second exchange is a Row Robin. Another first for me. I tried out a new to me technique, machine applique. I think I spent as much time cleaning the fusable webbing off the iron as I did stitching arund those teddy bears. I don't know if I will ever do it again, trying to get around all those curves with a satin stitch boggled my mind, but it was fun and now I can say "I've tried it out". I really liked these little teddy bears and thought they would make an fun quilt for my gr-gson Elias to snuggle up to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 2 in the Sewing Room

My new sewing room is coming along nicely. It's been painted and the new pergo flooring over half done. Yesterday, Marcie and I pulled all the carpet, padding, mouldings, then painted the walls. At the end of the day we still had to cut in where the walls join the ceiling, the windows and doors. Thinking I would reward myself after finishing the painting I put a toddy or two in the freezer and then left them there for two hours before my brain kicked in. Needles to say, I had ice, rather than the liquid refreshment I was looking forward to.

Today we started in early to lay the flooring. After a bit of my help, Marcie banished me from the room, suggesting I go play with EQ6 and the quilt she wants to make this winter so that's what I spent part of the day doing. I'm not any better at flooring than I am at painting.

She picked out a wall hanging pattern called "Gone Away" wanting the fish to swim up/down her quilt instead of across it. I added another border of fish to make it large enough for her bed. I rather like it and had fun playing with colors. I auditioned the border fish all different colors. It was too busy.
How do you save a project as a jpg? I couldn't figure it out and took a picture of it on my monitor. lol I haven't played much with EQ6; am learning new things each time.
The rest of the day I spent washing down the louvered closet doors. I like the looks of the louvers however they sure are a pain in the patootie to clean. I'm so looking forward to having my room done so I can set it back up. I hauled so much stuff out of there, I couldn't believe it all came out of one little room. There's going to be a lot of donating going on. DH's room is full, the living room has stacked drawers full of fabric and for the first time I've got stuff under my bed. vbg.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Mikie

Today is my middle son Michael's birthday. 48 years ago he came into this world, 6 pounds of screaming, fiesty, independent baby. I know you're not supposed to play favorites with your children but of my three son's he's my favorite. He's most like me, not a dreamer like his older brother and not like his younger brother who calls once a year to let me know he's moved yet again. He remembers my birthday, calls me on every holiday.
He shows up every year for our family renunion, hasn't missed but one in 15 years while his brothers show up sporadically.
He's his own person, marches to his own drum. I don't have to entertain him when he visits, he entertains himself. I don't have to look after him. I hand him my house keys, the truck keys, the tent and he takes care of himself. Not like my older son , and his wife who expect and need to be entertained the whole time they are here with their three sons and not like my youngest son who thinks every wrong thing that happens in his life is somehow my fault. He accepts me with all of my faults and loves me unconditionally. He's very special to me, and I love him dearly.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pieces of the Past

The family raffle quilt is moving along quite rapidly. We gathered at Mom's, had a great time, and stuffed ourselves with Chineese. Now that we have all the parts in one place, the colors aren't so drab looking. I actually think it's going to turn our rather nicely.

While my sisters were all busy stitching away, I occupied myself with my 4 yo niece helping her stitch up her very own quilt for her dolly's. She was so excited when she learned that her Auntie was bringing a sewing machine for her to use. I have a little singer set up with a hand crank on the wheel specially for the little girls in the family.
While she "drove" I steered the fabric under the needle. As we were sitting there she whispered to me....."Is this my sewing machine"? I think she was disappointed when I told her "No, it's Auntie's, but you can borrow it today".

Remember the old drive in burger joints where you called in your order and the girls delivered them on roller skates? This one has been in our little town for as long as I can remember. It's been the hang out for the high school after football, basketball, baseball games. It's going in the way of progress, to be torn down and replaced by a strip mall. The owners didn't own the land and it has been sold out from under them. It's time to retire they say, they've owned it for over 40 years and Linda started working there while in high school. We took Mom for lunch on Wednesday before they closed down for good. She'd met my sister and bil there for dinner every Friday night for the past 20+years.
Yesterday I spent dragging everything out of my sewing room preparing for Monday when my handyman sister and I start re-doing it. We'll be tearing up carpet to lay down pergo, taking all the mouldings down and painting the walls. I couldn't believe the amount of "stuff" I had tucked away in that room. I filled up John's music room leaving him a path to his closet and for the first time ever had to temporarily tuck some tote's under my bed. When I start putting stuff back, there's going to be an awful lot that is gifted to the ladies over at the Seniour Center and I've offered my sister to come shop my stash for herself. Lots of what the heck did I buy this for, lots of books, magazines, trinkets since I can't think of another name for items purchased and never used.
Today I'm off to upgrade Marcie's computor. She hasn't a clue how to do more than turn it on, has never wanted one, wasn't interested until her DH's cousin gave them their old one. The other day we hooked her up to the Internet. While she might not have been interested before, like all of us, she'll soon be hooked. vbg.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


My Daffodils are up, the sun's been shining and spring is in the air here on the far left coast. I'm so looking forward to warmer weather, getting out in the yard and stitching up a storm. I have so many projects started that I want to finish up and get out of the way.

John's vacation is over and yesterday he packed his bags while I waved him off to the ship with visions of all the things I need and want to do dancing around in my head. Don't get me wrong, I love having him home for his 2 months off, but I'm just as anxious to see him return to the ship at the end of them so I can start my work vacation. A wonderful hubby he is, but handyman he ain't.

First comes the family raffle quilt top to be finished. Over the winter we've parcelled out sections as life had gotten in the way and group meetings to work on it just didn't happen. Tomorrow , Marcie, my youngest sister is coming over to stitch on our sections to be ready on Saturday when we 4 sisters and one niece will get together at Mom's and put all the sections into a top with high hopes of having them fit together as well as puzzle pieces should. We chose to do a kit this year and picked out "Paula Stoddard's Pieces of the Past". It's going to be a very nice quilt when done but I'm sure not impressed with the quality of the fabric the kit contained and doubt we will do another one. Besides this kit has enough left over fabric to piece a backing. There's nothing like the LQS for quality fabric where you can fondle it, pick out the fabric and be confindent you will like what you are getting.

Also on my agenda is remodeling. Nothing big or serious, just tear out all the carpeting which I hate as it collects pine needles like a magnet and replace it with Pergo and tile. I can't imagine why anyone would want an almost white carpet in this climate with all the rain, mud and pine needles to contend with. My wonderful sister Marcie is going to help me. She's such a crafty person, handy with a saw, hammer, does plumbing and roofing. A jack of all trades just like our Father was. "Sisters are those special friends we spend a lifetime with".

Added to that, the next on the list of to-do's is having a wood stove installed. Yes, this one I'm having a professional tackle; the home inspection is in a couple weeks. Propane has reached the point of no return on the money scale and burning wood is so much less expensive these days of high fuel prices. The amount of bucks we've shelled out since last September almost equals the national debt in my opinion.

My Mom has been a member of the Grange for over 50 years. Today at the monthly meeting and potluck she received her 50 year pin, a certificate and beautiful cake to honor her for her many years of membership and service. Most of the members I knew and had a wonderful time chatting with them and looking at pictures taken over the years when Grange was more active in our community than it is now. Our Grange has been in the community since 1907 and many members are long time farm families. After all Grange was initially started with farmers in mind.


My Sisters who are friends first and Sisters second
A mom who is still here to enjoy her friends and family
Spending time with my Mom today
Being healthy enough to swing a wheelchair into the trunk of the car