May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV

Friday, February 27, 2015

February Happenings

You would think that nothing has happened during the first two months of 2015.  I just don't get around to actually writing a blog very often.  But since I make a yearly book of my blog to have a yearly diary, I really should pay more attention to it. 
The last time I visited, we had celebrated the New Year with DGDs, apple juice, and champagne.  School  went back in session before we knew it with me going back to Wednesday volunteering with Jessica Inwood at EBI. 
Before I knew it, it was time for my annual trip to Southern California for Road to California.  This year was extra special because my good friend, Mary Moore Payne, came all the way out from snowy MD to attend the show with me.  We had great fun catching up and enjoying our love of art and quilting.
Mary Moore who can't believe that flowers bloom in January

Fringe Flower Class with Jodi Barrows 
Once I got home.......beginning of a wall-hanging idea
        Jacquie Gehring project from last year not yet quilted but new ideas for what to do            
My friend Linda Kussoy also joined us and we enjoyed dinners out and a side trip to Huntington Gardens in San Marino.  Mary Moore really liked the American Art Gallery and all the blooming flowers.   
February brought Makayla's birthday.  She is now officially "double digit".....10 years old.  She is such a thoughtful, caring and loving child.  She's a reader, a writer, a swimmer, and a friend to all. Her parents have struggled with school for next year and have made the decision to keep her at EBI for now.  Middle school will be here before we know it. 
Daring to go higher.  Rock Climbing was the theme of the party.

Happiness in accomplishment

Happy Birthday Makayla!

I seemed to find lots of time this month to quilt and sew.  Here are a few pics of projects. 
Community quilt

Looong time project finally finished.....It was a good practice piece along the way.

On-going paper piecing project that I take to groups to work on.

Community quilt in progress.

Jon's Christmas/Birthday quilt.  It is now finished (except for a label).
This last week, I began teaching a beginning hand-piecing class to four eager first graders at EBI.  What fun that was.  I'll be taking pictures along the way and I'll blog about it.  This class is through the 4-H program that EBI is now a part of.  After this class, I'll go to the San Pablo Campus to teach another 4 week class to 2nd and 3rd graders.  I love getting a new generation of sewers ready to enjoy the fun of quilting. 

And lastly, a cute pillow.  In 2010, I made a quilt that we use as a wall-hanging above our bed.  I played around with all the scraps from that quilt and eventually made a pillow top.  Of course, it sat around waiting to be quilted and made in to an actual pillow.  Finished it yesterday!  and here it is: 

I used what I had learned in Jacquie Gehring's class to do the quilting.  It is pretty easy with straight stitches and the walking foot but it is a lot of sewing.  I'm pretty happy with it.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

We had such a great New Year's Eve and it did not involve dressing up or going out anywhere.  Instead, the DGDs came to our house to spend the night while their parents went out on the town.  It was a simple evening with dinner, Wii, watching "Peter Pan" and toasting in the New Year as we watched the ball drop in Times Square.  Amazingly, the girls managed to stay awake until midnight but they were in bed fast asleep very soon after.  We all slept in this morning. 

This afternoon, Jon and Lissa rode their bikes over to retrieve the girls.  They had brought the girls' bikes over the night before.  We snacked on guacamole, chips, cheese and crackers while everyone once again played Wii.  Then they hopped on their bikes and rode back home to the west end of Alameda.  Jim watched the end of the Oregon/Florida game at the Rose Bowl and now he is rooting for Ohio against Alabama at the Sugar Bowl.  
 It's a Happy start to a New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Holiday Time is Here

It's New Year's Eve and I'm writing one last entry to my blog for 2014 before I set it up to be published in a book.  I've been using Blog2Print for several years now.  I like having a physical book of memories for the year. 

Our family celebrated Christmas Week with a photography session at Crab Cove in Alameda.  A local photographer kept us laughing and moving as he clicked away.  We are still in the process of sorting out the best of the best.  It's very difficult when the darling grand-daughters are so cute and photogenic. 
Just a couple more for the record of this year.......

On Wednesday of Christmas week, the family traveled by ferry to San Francisco to see Beach Blanket Babylon. It is a funny satire musical about San Francisco and current events.  It was a gloriously clear day and we had great family fun.

Next it was home to Alameda for dinner at our house and the reading of the Christmas Story and The Night Before Christmas......a family tradition.  This year the stories were read by Makayla and Violet.  My heart swells to see this family tradition carried on to another generation. 

Christmas morning brought Santa surprises, food, family frivolity, swimming in the afternoon (Hey, it's CA!) and Thai food for dinner. 

Now its time for New Year's Eve.  The girls will be coming over to spend the night.  The champagne flutes are washed and ready for some bubbly (Martinellis for girls, Champagne for us).  We go forward into 2015 praying for joy, happiness, peace and goodness to prevail.  Praise God for our many blessings.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Thanksgiving and Birthday Fun

Everyone loves a birthday but it is hard when your birthday falls very near a holiday like Thanksgiving.  This turned out pretty cool for Violet this year.  We celebrated with the family on her actual birthday and then she got to have a second celebration with her friends a week later.  Can't get much better than two birthday parties in your honor. 

First let's not forget Thanksgiving.  This year Jon and Lissa hosted the family plus a neighbor family.
 The birthday girl wanted Butterflies as her theme.  There are lots of activities and ideas for a Butterfly Party and thanks to Auntie Cheryl, we had them all.
 Auntie Cheryl loves flying in to celebrate the birthdays of her two favorite cousins.  We love having her here.
 After the party, there were lots and lots of presents to open from friends and family.
 And speaking of family, here I am with my oldest Jon, father to the darling birthday girl.  Always good to actually get a great picture.

Friday, November 28, 2014

And the Holiday Season begins....

Halloween went by in a flash as the stores hurried to put out Christmas decorations.  Whatever happened to Thanksgiving and Fall decor?  Not to worry.  I have a tub of my own decor items used over the years.  I certainly don't need much new these days. We celebrated at Jon and Lissa's this year with plenty of good food including my pumpkin chiffon pie with coconut crust.....yummmm.  

It is fun to transfer the hosting tradition to Jon's family.  After dinner, the DGDs enjoyed watching Sound of Music while the grown-ups played Scrabble

 All set for company with treat bags put together by Makayla and Violet

 Sound of Music seems to be a holiday tradition for the DGDs.

So now we move on to the Christmas Season.  Time to put away Fall and bring out the Christmas Spirit.  Looking forward to spending some time reflecting on "the reason for the season".  Thankful for all my many blessings.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tribute To Stephen

I began this project in January 2010, not quite a year after Stephen's passing.  I started it in a class at Road To California.  The class was called Making A Grand Entrance and it was taught by Kathy Kansier, a teacher from Missouri.  It was definitely a challenge class for me. After looking at her samples on line, I began to consider what I could make.  I had two photos of Stephen that had  been taken during my time with him.  One was a shadow picture that he took against a tree.  The other was one that I took on an outing to Dana Point.  I took both to class, hoping that the instructor would help me choose.  In the end, I decided that the shadow picture, though interesting, was too sad for me.

I also took along a picture of an arched window from Spain.  I wanted to use it to enclose the picture because Stephen had always wanted to travel to Spain. He was never able to fulfill that desire, but in 2012, his dad and I traveled to Spain with his brother, Jon and his family.

Here is the pattern that I managed to draft for my project.  I pretty much stayed to that size.  A picture of the window that was my inspiration is also shown. 

 I found that I had to be in the mood and feel Stephen "speaking" to me in order to work on this project.  Part of me felt I should get it done.  Part of me wanted for it to marinate and speak to me about what to do next.  The project languished off and on.  I'd work on it a little and then put it away without making much progress. It provided a good opportunity to try out thread painting and quilting skills. 

Below are pictures that might be labeled "in progress. 

I knew I wanted the backing to reflect music so I used up lots of collected musical fat quarters and pieced them in no particular order. 
I played around with the idea of adding foliage of some sort but I could never come up with exactly what I wanted.  For a while I thought about bougainvilla but I didn't feel skillful enough to create something like that.  So it sat, and sat, and sat until one day while looking through a Quit Arts magazine, I saw a quilt about cancer that had a lot of words on it.  I had my ah-ha moment........Stephen's quilt needed words.   
We were coming up on Stephen's birthday on September 15th.  He would have been 38 years old.  I knew what I was going to do that day.  I was going to finish his quilt.  I sequestered myself in my sewing room and went to work.  With Stephen's spirit beside me, I have finished my tribute to my youngest son.  I love you Stephen.