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Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Bithday, Jimmy!

TWENTY...as in TWO ZERO!

It is with mixed emotions that I wish my baby a Happy 20th birthday.
I have no more teenaged children.
I have all adult family members.
My work is done.
My life is going in a new, more leisurely direction.

But...this isn't about me.
It's about Baby Boy.
The best surprise of my life.
How can that sweet, baked ham of a baby be 20 years old?
It seems last week his sister was toting him swaddled in a blue blanket.
Wasn't it yesterday John asked me, 'when's he going to be able to play football?'

Big, brown eyes and a happy grin...the delight of our family & close friends. 
From the door, Jimmy has been an absolute pisser.
Now, he's at University seeking a business degree.
Albeit, he'd rather be partying & making movies.
But, he's getting it done. 
With honors, I might add!

Yep, it's his 20th birthday today.
I'm acutely proud of this young man & how he has handled himself thus far.
& even though I'll miss being a hands on mom, I think I'm gonna like watching his life unfold.
I've spent a lot of time watching him on the sidelines of ball fields. 
I'm thinking I'll like these new, less injurious sidelines even better.

Happy Birthday, Jimmy...
Thank you for 20 years of immeasurable pride & delight!

'You'll always be my baby.'

Nothing

I did nothing today.

And it was splendid. 



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

29 years ago today...

I became a mom for the first time!
I'll never forget that day, or how I blessed I felt.
A beautiful baby girl, pudgy & pink.
18" long...8lb 5 3/4oz of sweet Kelly Ann.
Staring at me...intently...taking everything in.
My parents & the in laws were at the hospital with Phil when I came out of delivery. 
I remember my mom being so excited she couldn't stop babbling...
My dads eyes filled with tears...
And the look of sheer terror on Phil's face!
I remember feeling that I'd finally found my life's bliss. 
I had my own, little family.
I knew my life would never be the same.
I was absolutely right...my life became immensely richer.

Watching her grow has been my joy & privilege. 
My Kelly has had a tough year this year.
It's a good thing God gave her the most indomitable spirit.
She knows life's ups & downs are God's way of shaping you into the person you're meant to be.
She is a capable, hardworking, kind, generous, beautiful young woman.
This year is going to be a great one for Tootsie....I just know it.
Happy 29th Birthday, Kelly.
I love you & I wouldn't change one minute.
I'm so proud of you.

'Always follow your heart cause your heart always knows the way.'


Monday, January 20, 2014

Peace out, Redwalls.

I envisioned a quiet decor.
Relaxing.
Calm.
I want this place to be a sanctuary.
Instead, I got the Redwall Family.
Mr. Redwall
Mrs. Redwall
& Baby Redwall
All surrounded by Goldilocks walls.
I bet this was perfect for the previous owners.
& I'm sure had I ever been invited into their home I would've loved it.
I've heard from everyone they were lovely people.
And honestly, I get a nice vibe in this house. 
So did my sister.
The nice vibe got even nicer today when the Redwall Family vacated the premises.
Meet Mr. Tanwall.
Mrs. Tanwall
& Baby makes 3.
Welcome Tanwall Family...
Some may consider you boring, but I'm glad you're here.










Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Creature Comforts

I was tired when I left NY.
My seemingly innocuous husband snores like a freight train.
Mix that with my anticipation/anxiety about the drive.
Not to mention, I'm used to that freight train lying next to me at night.
I've not slept well in over a week.
(Except for my bubbly friends deliciousness)
Nor have I sewn a stitch.
I'm a girl who needs her sleep.
And her fabric.
Since arriving in 'paradise', this is what I've slept on.
And here is my Bernina.
Sitting in the corner as if she has misbehaved.
She has done nothing to deserve this...
And neither have I.
Not good.
I'm punchy.
And grouchy.

This is my 'living' arrangement. 
I'd have no problem with this...
If I was rested.
And sewing.
If I couldn't get a real mattress in the house tonight, I was going to get a hotel room
Ugh...bugs...athletes foot fungus...the possibilities for contamination & grossness are endless. 
Thank God for Mattress Firm.
Same day delivery.
Even better when you add the Quilty goodness...
That's what I'm talking about. 
Sweet dreams...

Tomorrow I shall work on finding a spot to cut a bit of fabric.
After all, it's only paradise if you're living your dream life!

Winter warmth

I left on Sunday, heading for greener pastures.
Actually, greener anything.
Syracuse is all shades of gray in winter.

I made a quick stop near Harrisburg to give Barb her quilts.
And pee...I really had to pee.
She brought me this gem from one of her exploits.
SWOON!  A DWR obbers tile.
& she told me all about Natie's frigid proposal...
Yes, there were tears in Mickey Ds...but not too much.
& promised to visit me in the sunshine.
Mission accomplished.

I traveled along and saw the Oscar Mayer Weiner mobile in PA.
Then I saw a bunch of Amish horse drawn carriages. 
The Irony.

I had great plans to stop in Midlothian, VA, for a brief visit with one of my favorite people.
I managed to veer off course...must've been all the great conversation.
Frannie can be a real chatterbox...it's her fault.
Instead of winding up in Richmond, I wound up in Roanoke...a Christopher Columbus moment.
Mission not accomplished.

I continued along, following the instructions of my Aussie Garmin guide.
(He's a man &men never want to stop or directions)
I was getting tired...signs said Charlotte 110 miles.
Where to stop???
Wait, who do I know in Charlotte?
OMG!  I think it's my Bubbly friend.
Then this happened..
Then this..
And..
Then..
She called...we discussed...and I stayed with her.
And her adorable, awesome kid, Nick.
Are they twins, or what?
And her sweet, petite Lily.
Lily is the anti Frannie (think Ginger Rogers vs Shelley Winters).
I can't believe I didn't get a pic of Lily...must've been the exhaustion.
Lucky for me, my bubbly friend provided me this one after reading my blog.
Cute..huh?
We ate at Fishbones...a glass of vino, bang bang & tilapia imperial, with a key lime pie chaser, baby!
Frannie waited in the car without complaint while we ate....I was afraid she & Lily might fight.
I shouldn't have worried, they were fine.  Rockstar dog.
Lori seems great...I love me some Bubbly.
Nick, a HS senior, is too damn cute.
Friendly, talkative and funny...a rare adolescent, indeed!
He'll be studying music production in Florida next year.
I wonder if he will thank me for the burger when he wins his first Grammy?
Anyone who knows me, knows what a blessing this was.
I've got a serious bedbug phobia.
I don't sleep well in hotels.
I slept LIKE A LOG in her CLEAN, delicious, CLEAN bed.
Did I mention the bed was clean?
CRISIS AVERTED...with a twist of the Bubbly.

Monday we went the rest of the way...thru SC, GA & into FL.
Only stopping for gas...and coffee.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. 

After 23 hours in the backseat of a Honda CRV...
she's still smiling.
BEST
DOG
EVER
PERIOD

ps:  
it's official, we're snowbirds.



Friday, January 10, 2014

Magic #6

Goals...goals.
I wanted to get one more bound before I head out.
Yay!
I'm using it to protect an upholstered chair from Alvin.
He only uses my finest furniture for sun bathing.
I quilted my freehand posies on it.
I know...it's hard to see.
While Mr Sun made a brief appearance yesterday, he has moved onto greener pastures.
His absence causes poor photo quality.

I used a blendy tan variegated thread on the top and cream magna-glide bobbins.
Rainbows is gorgeous thread, but....
It's hard to get uniform spacing when you really can't see the thread while you're quilting.
And you don't even know how you're doing til you take it off the frame and flip it over.
All things considered, I think I did pretty well keeping it even.
I used some batiks & Asian inspired prints from my stash.
I had a brief fabric crush on Asian inspired metallics.
I don't hate them now, but I don't love them anymore, either.
All in all, this will be a perfect quilt for its intended purpose.
And it looks like Alvin already feels quite special lying on gilded fabrics.
There is no bigger fan of my quilts than Al.
He arrives promptly for each and every finish I have. 
I think he was a pig in a former life cause he's a ham in this one.
Bad joke...sorry.

Alvin isn't the only one who feel special.
I do believe I've tamed the 'waiting for binding' pile to a reasonable 6.
I'm trying not to break my arm while patting myself on the back.

Hope Mr Sun is in your neck of the woods today!
Enjoy.








Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bento Box 3 & 4

I've been making bento box quilts for a few of Kelly's friends & a few nieces that I would like to hug more often.
Because these girls have been kind & loyal to my girl and/or are quiltless family members.
They are great, fun, young women with good taste in wine.
& I love them.
Which is really the reason.
I'm thinking, perhaps, they might enjoy cuddling under one of my quilts.
These gals are like family.
1 more recent friendship
1 from her college days
1 from middle school 
1 from elementary school
& a few kinda family members.
I want to send them all out at once...this is proving to be difficult.
I had 2 made, in BW w/Yellow.
They're gone.
I wound up giving one to my friend Cindy for her 50th and the other I brought to my sister when she was in the hospital having a health crisis.
No worries...I've got plenty of fabric!
Perhaps my trip south will produce a bento box flimsy surplus & my plan will be executed upon my return.
Please God?
Ummm....God, never mind that silly request, please.
I have much more pressing issues that I would prefer you direct your energy toward.
If You don't mind, that is.
The quilts are mostly B&W w/ Pink & Green.
There is a smattering of Turquoise & Purple in a couple of the prints.
I find most BW quilts to have a modern feel, fresh & fun.
The younger set really seem to enjoy them.
I like them, too.
Even though I am no longer young.
I used a purple backer that has a silver metallic embellishment. 
I am nothing if not a purple girl.
They have a real feminine feel and 2 of these recipients have little girls. 
I think they will go to them.
Unless I create something even girly-er in the sunshine.
I reserve the right to change my mind.
After all, it's my party. 
These 2 bindings bring my 'quilts needing binding' total down to 7.
Unfortunately, I have still not put bindings on some of the 'old' ones.
I have valid reasons to procrastinate on a couple, I'd like to do a bit more longarming to these.
Several of them I just do not like.
They are destined to become dog quilts & that makes motivating hard. 
They say you have to make bad art before you make good art.
How I wish this weren't true.
I wonder how much bad friggin art can one person create?
In the words of the great Buzz Lightyear, 'to infinity and beyond.'
I wish I could get over my 'I won't donate a quilt I don't like to charity' problem.
It's so much easier to bind a quilt that won't be chewed up & digested with Alpo & poopsicles.
But, I digress.
Actually, digress should be my middle name.

I'm hoping I'll have one more finish before I go, but it will be tight.
It sure would be nice to have that number to 6 before I go.
Insomnia has its benefits.
We shall see.

Today, there is a big, bright ball in the sky that is hurting my eyes.
I vaguely remember it.
I think it's called the sun.
Do not be fooled.
The furnace is still Rockin & Rollin.
It's still pretty cold out there. 
But that bright thing really helps the mood.
Whatever.
My cuppa is done...so it's on to the chores.
Hope your day is great.
Thanks for stopping by.
XO

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

HST finish!


I made the flimsy in the summer during my HST binge. 
I used a PB&J layer cake and some denim and kona navy from the stasheroo.
I'm pretty sure it's going south with me. 
If it fits in the car. 
I did my feather swirl meander...a favorite of mine. 
Easy and fun to stitch out & it makes a nice random design that adds interest to the quilt.

Notice that it's bound?
Unfortunately, this quilt was not in the pile when I posted my Quilty goals.
It was still on the frame. 
So, no progress there. 

Stay tuned.....
I have one more quilty post before I go!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Honor Flight Quilts

Murray asked me make 2 quilts for his Honor Flight friends. 
I whipped these flimsies up while I was in Grayling, MI at the Icehouse retreat.
They are small, simple wheelchair quilts.
D9 patches in Patriotic batiks.
To jazz them up, I added a printed strip to the top.
The only real difference between the 2 is the quilting.
One has a loopy star meander & the other is plain meandered.
Oddly, I always prefer the plain meander. 
Guess I'm just a plain Jane at heart.
Normally, I don't blog about charity quilts.
But I might start, just to keep a record. 
If I remember....which is, in all honesty, unlikely.

Anyway, my reason for blogging about these....
A few days ago, I blogged about Quilty goals. 
These 2 were counted in my 11 quilts that needed binding.
Bringing my total to 9 without bindings.
Stay tuned...
I have more finishes to post before my departure!



Timing

Well, my impeccable timing continues. 
I scheduled work on my Honda for today. 
Of course I did.
It's the coldest day of the year.

I was delighted to crawl out from under my warm quilts at 630am and step out into the Polar Vortex to drive Murray to work.
#pausenot
It was 0 degrees with the windchill at -22.
Murray's observation, "you feel the snot in your nose freeze the minute you step outside."
Such prose before sunrise...the man is truly a romantic. 
Or Neanderthal.

Last night was equally gratifying.
It was a balmy 4 degrees, with dead Christmas trees blowing hither & yon.
I found myself standing in the frigid temps fumbling to find the hole in the Early Bird Drop Box...a treat, indeed.
While Romeo, or Oogah, sat listening to men interrupt each other on ESPN radio.
Imagine how pampered I felt climbing into his warm luxury sedan.
Again, a luckier girl I do not know.

Since we're on the topic of the cold...what's with the 'Polar Vortex' moniker?
Really?  I see no need to name cold snaps.
(I am a fan of multiple names...but this does not sit well)
It's January...it's supposed to be cold. 
And, while I realize it's important to inform the masses on the dangers of extreme temps....
Enough already!
I fear these broadcasters are insulting the intelligence of the American people. 
By the way, it's in the 40s in Fort Myers right now, going up to 58 this afternoon.
Tomorrow it's back to the mid 70s.
And the SUN is shining.
Someone, please, remind me again why I'm here?

After applying the 'perspective' word, I realize a few positives that have come from this rant of a post.
I've found yet another nickname for Phil.
Oogah....It's destined to become a favorite in no time. 
I can hardly wait for Baby to rise so I can share it with him.
Also, I have delayed the dreaded sorting and packing for 20 minutes.
This allowed me time to enjoy a cuppa & put some of my frustrations to pen.

I should apologize for my snarky humor, I just couldn't help myself.
Rest assured, things are fine here with me & my man.
A poke of fun is all it is.
I'll try not to return here until my disposition improves.
Stay warm, friends!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Unexpected Surprises

Preparing for a migration.
It's harder for humans than birds. 
I've been sorting & packing, organizing, cleaning & tossing.
A lot.

I decided to take 2 end tables that belonged to my parents to use in the bedroom. 
When they died, no one wanted them.
I had no use for them, but I took them anyway.
As luck would have it, some of my parents lives were still tucked away in the drawers.
It wasn't anything 'valuable', just everyday 'stuff'.
Even though I knew 'the stuff' was in there, I've never had the heart to go through it.
I finally went through it & took a trip down Memory Lane.
I found lotsa eyeglasses, which I will donate to the Salvation Army.
Holding and examining these glasses was weirdly comforting.
When I close my eyes, I see them wearing these very glasses. 
(I saved one pair of Moms and one of Dads...just because)
Most of the stuff was Dads...things he treasured.
I found his library card...dated 1961...over 50 years old.
The library was just down the street and he walked there almost daily after retiring.
Of course he had his library card...he loved to read & loved the library.
After all, it was full of information & that info was free.  
Yep.  My frugality is genetic.
Coupons for cab rides...long expired. 
Many birthday cards that were sent to him...he was quietly sentimental.
Seeing these reminded me of the many times when his eyes would fill with tears when he spoke of days gone by, or people he loved, was proud of or touched by.
I loved his mushy side.
I found both Mom & Dads' pool badges from the Glen Rock pool...picture IDs...a treat!
His yearbook...with signatures.  He was such a hunk!
A picture of daddy and his baby brother, my Uncle John, & a deck of cards from a trip to CA.
A VHS tape of his 80th birthday celebration, made by my cousin Jeanne.
He loved Jeanne..I'm pretty sure that feeling is mutual.
I can't wait to figure out how to watch it.
HIS POPE KEYCHAIN (which made me chuckle) & some prayer cards.
An address book in his beautiful, shaky old man handwriting.
(His handwriting means so much to me...Have I ever mentioned his handwritten birthday letters to me & my kids?  I wonder if he knew how cherished those letters would be...a gift of his time...like a piece of his heart to hold in your hand.  I bet he did...he was pretty smart that way.)
I also found 3 notebooks kept by his daily caregivers at the end of his life.
I tried to read some of these notes, but couldn't do it. 
It was such a tragic time, I still struggle with his suffering.  
Maybe someday, but not yet.
I was able to consolidate these precious things into a small drawer so I will have them forever. 
Thinking about it, these are more valuable to me than any fancy dishes or jewels. 
These are things they used in their lives, not just on special occasions. 
Holding these things reminds me of their ordinary, everyday existence...just how I want to remember them.
Those ordinary, everyday, extraordinary people...my first people.

The 29th is the 7th anniversary of losing my dad.
Everyday, he smiles at me from a photo on my windowsill. 
Everyday, I try to remember to thank him.
There are no words to express my gratitude for the love & support he gave or the wisdom he shared.
Much of this wisdom I have appreciated posthumously.
This is my only regret...not telling him every single day what a Rockstar Dad he was to me.
Part of his charm was that he wouldn't mind the oversight.
I DO mind, however.
Cause he deserved to hear it.
No, he wasn't perfect...& didn't pretend to be. 
I can't recall ever hearing an unkind, gossipy or malicious word come from his mouth.
This was, perhaps, the quality I admired most in him.
He was a mishmash of everything...a fantastic specimen of humanity.
How blessed I was to be 'his Magoo.'
He's the best man I have ever known, a benevolent, honest gem of a guy.  
I love you, Daddy.
And you, too, Mom.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Space Bags

I'm frugal.
Ok...I'm cheap.
But only about some things.
Ok...most things.
I want to move as much of my "stuff" to FL in my CRV as possible. 
Have you checked out what movers charge, lately?
I know I've vowed not to buy fabric this year...but, it's a lot of fabric!
This pic is a repeat, I believe.
But, I love it.
Whoever created it must know me.
Maybe she's behind those anonymous emails I receive.
I've got to blog about them one day.
I've lost my focus again.
Anything to avoid the dreaded mover organization that I should be doing. 
Back to my product review.

4 pillows
2 comforters
2 fitted sheets
2 flat sheets
2 pillow cases
1 lap quilt
8 napkins
2 tablecloths
1 table runner
Before
4 pillows
2 comforters
2 fitted sheets
2 flat sheets
2 pillow cases
1 lap quilt
8 napkins
2 tablecloths
1 table runner
After
That's a lot of cubic inches right there.

It's a great option for me.
It will also allow me to move completed quilts in my luggage when I fly.
I'm going to get a couple more.
They seem pretty sturdy and advertise they can be used again and again.
Stay tuned...
So far, the only drawback...IT'S HEAVY!
Good thing I'm seriously macho.

Better get busy.
I'm excited to have a pre-departure dinner date with Cindy & Pete tonight.
There will be cocktails.
And food...but the cocktails will be my last for a while. 
I'm hoping this will provide some much needed motivation.

Perspective

per·spec·tive
pərˈspektiv/
noun
  1. 1.
    the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.  
    "a perspective drawing"
  2. 2.
    a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
    "most guidebook history is written from the editor's perspective"
    synonyms:outlookviewviewpointpoint of viewPOVstandpointpositionstandstanceangleslantattitude, frame of mind, frame of referenceapproach, way of looking, interpretation 

That's it...my 2014 word. 
I realized it last night when I was talking to my sister.
It was the first word that came to me.
Even though I'd hoped it wasn't, it is.
Here's my reasoning.

Life is good.
Sometimes it's hard, but it's always good. 
There is always something to be grateful about.
Always something good happening.
Always something to appreciate.
Always.
Period.

Struggling with a situation, say, finding a motif for a difficult flimsy?
Well, perhaps I need to turn the design or accentuate a different area.
If I'm thinking swirly, try geometric.
Again, perspective. 

Perhaps your reading instructions and they aren't making sense.
Try asking someone to take a look...and see it through their eyes.

Trying to communicate an important thought and it feels like no one is listening?
Find an angle they can relate to and apply that perspective.

Even in the darkest circumstance, say, the death of a loved one.
If I can reach back & remember the best of that person, I'll feel gratitude.
And even if its a brief moment, I will smile & feel warm.
And that moment will help me thru.
(FYI...I will never tire of Dr Suess & Winnie the Pooh...
They should translate the Bible, it would increase readership)

I've always been a mind over matter girl.
I firmly believe 'you get what you give.'
For the most part, you control your life. 
Visualize yourself as you'd like to be and that is what you'll be.
When I'm grouchy, I live in a world of grumps.
Stress brings me to more stress. 
Exercise brings me more energy.
Happiness finds more happiness. 

My perspective has a direct effect on my experience. 
If we are the sum of our experiences, I want more +'s than -'s on my balance sheet.

Of course there are times when life throws terrible things at you.
I've had my share of them, for sure.
But even then, perspective can help.
If you remember to change it.

If it sounds 'PollyAnna' to you, then you should try to change your perspective!


It's not an easy word, but I didn't want easy.
I want results, and IMHO this is my best shot at results.
I'm going to give it my best.

I hope you can find a word to help you through 2014!

WISH ME LUCK!
I'm gonna need it.