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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Catching Up With Projects and Plans

September is flying by. Is it already September 28th? We got back from California on August 27th just in time for Labor Day Weekend. On the Tuesday after Labor Day, we went to Wolftrap in Virginia to see Les Miserables. Was that ever wonderful. The staging was unique and the music was incredible. I've always wanted to see Les Mis and I was not disappointed.

The very next weekend I was off to Harrisburg, PA with friends to see the Mancuso Bros. Quilt National Show. We spent Thursday night in Harrisburg and therefore had a good day and a half to see the show and shop the vendors. On Friday, we were back in the car heading for the hills of West Virginia to a retreat house that a quilter friend had secured for us. And it was definitely up in the hills. I stuck with redwork so I didn't have to bring a machine. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Hannah's affects on our region, we had to leave early. It was still fun to spend time with quilty friends.
The weekend's efforts eventually resulted in this cute little needlecase. The pattern was from a company called Cinderberry Stitches. The designer is from Australia. I also worked on a pattern that I had found on-line and I've managed to finish it this month. I did it because it reminded me of my dear friend LaDonna and since both of us have names that start with "L", well it was a natural. I call it "Ladies Who Lunch". Definitely something LaDonna and I like to do.

While feeling inspired this month, I also made a lap quilt from old left-over strips of fabric. I think some of the scraps went back about 20 years. I'm going to be giving it to my dear FIL in November for his 90th birthday. Of course, first I need to get a label on it.

In about three weeks, we'll be heading our for our grand Spain/Portugal adventure. I've been having a great time shopping at Chico's for travel clothes. I also found a wonderful and (hopefully) secure travel bag that fits neatly over my shoulder and across the front. But I needed something a little more fancy for going out in the evening. Thanks to a pattern from Lazy Girl Designs called 'Sassy Bag', I now have a cute little secure (hopefully) evening bag. I first made the pattern according to directions from a batik. For my 'evening bag', I added zippered pockets and an inset decorative fabric and applique.

And as if I wasn't busy enough, I also found time to work on my small group quilt sampler. My goal is to actually have it quilted and finished in time for our quilt guild show next spring. The top is now done. The sandwiching and quilting......well let's just hope I don't keep procrastinating.

And finally to finish off the month, I got around to working on my September BOM for The picture shows the pieces cut out and laid on the dining room table but in actuality, I now have them fused on the background fabric and ready for stitching down. Two days of September to go. I just might finish before October's pattern is out. This has been a fun project and I'm very proud of myself for tackling it and doing as much as I have. I am seriously considering stopping at nine blocks because Fall is looking pretty busy. I think nine would make a very nice quilt.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 is August already. As I look at the calendar, I realize it is almost to the half-way point of August. The months do fly by. Currently we are having a lovely respite from the three H's that usually dominate our summer weather in Maryland. No heat, humidity, and haze. Lately, we've had balmy breezes, blue skies, and perfect temperatures. We haven't turned the A/C on in 6 days. Hope that has an impact on the utility bill. I took this picture when I was out and about on one of our clear and beautiful days. These barns are a vanishing breed in Montgomery County, MD.

Next week, we are off to CA for a visit with the DGDs. We'll be with them for one day before they leave for a vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We'll house-sit while once again scoping out the area for a future place to live. When they get back, we'll stay on for a few more days of DGD hugs and kisses.

We're slooowwwwllly.....but surely attacking the closets and cleaning out the clutter. It's really discouraging to find boxes of stuff you packed up thirteen years ago when moving from CA to MD. But I'm finally getting to them and tossing out stuff like crazy. DH has found the shredder and he's having fun with that while watching the Summer Olympics. This closet used to be filled to the ceiling with boxes. You couldn't even walk into it. I'd say there is definite progress.

I'm working on a scrap quilt that I'll give to my FIL in November for his 90th birthday. There's a picture of the initial top on a previous blog. I'll take another picture and post it when I finish it. I just have the border to quilt and then the binding and label. I haven't even started my August BOM
for the TQS challenge. I'd really like to do that before we leave for CA.......maybe this coming weekend I'll get inspired.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Quilty Weekend Away

Last weekend was my annual visit to MAQ. The letters stand for Mid-Appalachian Quilters. It's a guild whose sole purpose is to meet once a year for a weekend seminar/retreat. This year over 300 people attended and over 50 classes were offered by local teachers. We stay at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD. I took advantage of two classes and spent one day in studio working on my own projects.

First up on Friday was a class on making T-shirt quilts. It was called "A Scrapbook You Can Sleep Under" and it was taught by Lauren Kingsland who just happend to be a member of my quilt guild. I learned great techniques for stabilizing the stretchy knit fabric. I also liked how we used all the little bits of the T-shirts including pockets. Lauren helped me pick the sashing which is just perfect....kind of a watery, wave look to it. Now I need to add a border and get it quilted for DH.

On Saturday I hung out at studio finishing up the T-shirt quilt top and then working on some sashings around sampler blocks. The sampler blocks are from an exchange I had with my mini-group and they've been hanging around in a bag waiting for me to "do something" with them. There are about 12 more to add sashings to. Then I need to see what kind of setting will work. My goal is to have this done for our guild quilt show in April 2009. I'm one of the last of the group to get this project finished.

Ahhhhh......Sunday, a day of rest. I took a half-day class learning the techniques of redwork. I could seriously get into these portable little projects. I must be very loyal because once again, my instructor was one of our guild members. After class, it was time for lunch and the drive home. Fortunately, I'm only about an hour away. Now I reflect back on memories of a great weekend with good friends.
When last I blogged we had sold the townhouse in Valencia, CA. Closing is scheduled for next week on Tuesday. Along the way there have been a few glitches but everything has been solved so far. Just waiting for the check in the bank. In anticipation of a little money in the account, we're looking over brochures for trips to Spain and Portugal. We're ready for our first post-retirement trip to somewhere wonderful.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Scraps and Snippets of Life

The first step in the journey to CA has begun. We have sold our townhouse in Valencia, CA. If all goes well, it will close on July 23rd and we'll have some money in the bank. Timing wise, we're not quite ready to buy in Alameda so our actual selling of the MD townhouse and the move to CA might not be until next spring. Of course, the big hurdle is dealing with the accumulated stuff. It is so easy to procrastinate.
I'm back in to listing on eBay but it is slow. I've sold a few books. Recently I started cleaning out a closet and came across oldest DSs old bookshelf strategy games. They are now for sale on eBay and I've actually got a bid. Who knew? I guess some people are still in to board games. Hmmmm....I wonder if anyone wants some jigsaw puzzles?

Just for the fun of it, I started making a string quilt. I'm not sure why since I have many other unfinished projects. It started when I began cleaning out a fabric drawer to put aside fabric for my quilt guild's charity quilts. The scraps were just too enticing so before you know it, I was sewing a quilt top. And it is just that.....a top, not yet a quilt. But I'm auditioning borders for it and I really like it so it has the potential of actually becoming a quilt.

And my last little project......a small 10"X12" quilt from a pattern I found on-line (though I know not where). I just loved the turtles, especially the one going off the edge. I also loved that it was small and doable in a day. I even got to practice some thread art.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

California Celebration

When last I left my blog, we were in St. Louis, MO. From there it was back in the air to Los Angeles, CA where we would be attending my sister-in-law's surprise B-day. The logistics of getting an entire family and various friends together was a nightmare. But thankfully all planning was done by my niece and all we had to do was show up and help out. The helping out began with meeting my DIL and DGDs at LAX. Oldest DS would be flying in the next evening. Friday was supposed to be the wind-down day, playing at the park, hanging out with the DGDs, going swimming at the hotel pool. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate and it was rainy, windy, and cold. What do you do to entertain active toddlers? You go to Target and buy toys and DVDs.
Saturday morning, DIL and I were dropped off at the party leaving DS, youngest DS, and DH to manage on their own. The sons were required to feed the girls and get them dressed with bows in their hair. Then they would ride with DH who was to also get FIL and BIL to the party for cake cutting. It was a girls luncheon but the guys were going to come in with the cake as a surprise after lunch.

The party was incredible. My niece did an outstanding job of putting it all together. It was elegant and sophisticated and lots of fun. My SIL was definitely surprised. People from all walks of her life were there. This party had been in planning since December. My SIL has been a real rock in my DHs family. She cares for her husband who has diabetes, her father who is in assisted living and an elderly brother. She does all this with smiles and good humor. It is just the kind of person she is. We were all delighted to be there to pay her tribute.

One of the things I have in common with my SIL is that we share the same birthday. Though we always remember each other with a gift or card, we haven't actually been together on our birthday for 13 years. Though this party was definitely for my SIL, my dear niece thought of me and actually provided two birthday cakes. Mine was chocolate and SILs was lemon filling.

The Birthday Girls!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Visit to Missouri

On May 12th we left for a three week trip which would culminate in Alameda, CA. First stop....Kansas City, MO for a four-day Genealogy Conference. What a delightful city, Kansas City turned out to be. The weather was just right (not too hot, not humid) and the hotel was luxurious. We enjoyed the downtown singing fountains and a visit to the Hallmark Center. The amount of new genealogy info was almost overwhelming but we enjoyed learning new techniques for research.

Next stop was just down the road in Independence. My DH's roots go back to the original LDS church which later became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and today is known as Community of Christ. Though we are not members, we had wanted to see the temple that they built in the 1970's and DH wanted to do some family research at their archives. The temple is quite an impressive building.

The temple to the right is the Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, IL. Navuvoo was the next stop on our family research trip. This temple was burned in the 1840's and the LDS church restored it in 2006. The views from the grounds near the temple were breath-taking. The town itself is rather small and quiet.

Then it was time to head back to MO for a visit to St. Louis. We took the scenic route along the Mississippi River. The weather again was beautiful and not hot and humid. Spring was blossoming all over. The St. Louis Gateway Arch was just as fabulous as I thought it would be. I decided to "go for it" and take the little car up to the top. It was like riding in Mork's capsule. Once we were at the top, I elected to take a quick view out the windows and then sit down. Needless to say, we didn't stay up there too long. We also took an hour long river cruise. A leisurely riverboat cruise is much more my style.

So that's our trip to MO. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Next blog..........Celebrations in California.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Visit to Fallingwater in PA

One more place to check off my "want to see before I leave the east coast" list. Today we visited Fallingwater in Ohiopyle, PA. It's a house built in the 1930's by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufman family of Pittsburgh, PA. The Kaufman family owned quite a bit of land near Ohiopyle and at their son's suggestion comissioned FLW to build a house near waterfalls that were on the land. He not only built it near the falls, he built it over the falls. It is a very modern house for its time. The Kaufman's son donated the house to the Western Pennsylvannia Conservancy in 1963. I had seen it in pictures but to see it in person is a totally different experience. We were blessed with a beautiful spring day. There are no pictures allowed inside but you can take pictures around the outside. Here is a small look at Fallingwater

I would suggest a visit to Fallingwater for anyone who is in traveling in the area. It is southwest of Pittsburgh. Frank Lloyd Wright had an incredible vision when designing this house. Every room in the house leads the eye to the outside and the beauty of its setting.
From Fallingwater, we traveled north to a small burg called McMurray. This was, of course, genealogy related. We found the cemetery at the Presbyterian Church in town and without too much trouble discovered the gravestones of Jim's gggg grandparents, Jane and Alexander Sweney. Tomorrow it's in to the city of Washington, PA for more ancestor searches.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Where Have I Been Lately?

Just got around to looking at my Blogspot blog and discovered I hadn't written anything here since March 10th. The probable reason is that I also blog at and I tend to hang out there most of the times.

So to catch up......we returned from CA on April 2nd. It wasn't all fun. We spent 5 days helping our youngest DS clean out and move to an apartment. But in the end, we got the southern California townhouse on the market. The real estate market has tanked and the Santa Clarita Valley has way too much inventory so we're just sitting tight and hoping for a sale. We tried to price it accordingly. Looking for a townhouse in a nicely landscaped area near freeways and good schools? Take a look at this link Fairways Townhouse.

From southern CA, we traveled up to Alameda, CA to deliver some furniture and to housesit for about 10 days for our oldest DS while he was in Hawaii with his family. We took the time to walk and drive through the neighborhoods we might want to live in. We also became "lookie-loos" and went to about 12 open houses. We're not even near ready to buy and there will be entirely different houses on the market when we are ready. But it was a good overview of the area.

Since coming back to MD, I've been to the AQS show in Paducah, KY. I had great fun with 7 friends including one of my best friends who came in from IN. We stayed in Grand Rivers, KY at Green Turtle Bay resort. It was perfect for coming back from the show for a rest.

This house had 4 bedrooms, each with its' own bathroom!

Current projects I'm working on include the TQS Block of the Month. I'm working on stitching down the fused edges of the April block which makes me a tad behind since today is May 1st and the May block is now out. I'm in awe of myself that I'm not further behind. I had hoped to make a small journal quilt for each month this year. I only got as far as January so that puts me 3 months (almost 4) behind on that project. While in CA, I cut out and fused 4 purple blocks that need some kind of inspiration for finishing. Then there is the "practice FM quilting" quilt which sits by my machine waiting to someday be actually finished.

Enough musings for today. The TQS BOM calls me to finish it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Off To Warmer Climates

We leave Wednesday for California. There will be lots to do out there. The biggest job will be getting DS moved out with the rest of his stuff into his new apartment. Then there is the clean-up and readying of the townhouse for selling it. This is like the worst time in the world to put real estate on the market anywhere in the U.S. But it is what we need to do. We just hope the agent we have contacted will advise us sensibly about the price. By Monday, we hope to be on our way to Northern California to house-sit for other DS and his family. They are going off on a much anticipated trip to Hawaii. We want to get in a short visit before they leave since our ticket to come home is the day after they get back.

On the quilt front, I've been working on a BOM for I've completed the first three blocks. Most people are doing the project using needle-turn applique but I'm trying my hand at raw-edge invisible stitch applique. So far I am happy with it. It's a lot of "cutting and pasting" and sewing around leaves.

One day in a fit of frustration about an insurance issue, I retreated to my sewing area and produced a journal quilt about my car accident. It was a very calming and freeing experience. I might try my hand at more journal quilts.

It's great to have day-light savings time back. Spring can't be to far behind. In the meantime, I'm hoping for warm weather in California.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Redwork, Retirement, and Regaining Strength

It's been 7 weeks since the accident and I can walk without the aid of a walker or a cane. I'm still slow and my right leg still fatigues easily and hurts and throbs off and on. I'm expecting that the next x-ray will show that the fractures have pretty much healed. Now if the pain would just go away.........this is definitely a test of patience.

The third week of January I went to a quilt retreat sponsored by my local guild, Friendship Star Quilters. It was held about 45 minutes away at a religious retreat center. I didn't have the energy to bring my machine so I just took along some hand-work projects.

This is the redwork square that I began at the retreat and finished at home. I found that I liked doing this.....very relaxing and easy. I also tried a little needle-turn applique heart but I don't think that needle-turn is for me. My fingers felt all out of sorts and I couldn't seem to get any rhythm going.

I also took along a Yo-Yo project. Basically, I discovered that making Yo-Yo's is boring. Maybe if I had some real project in mind, I might like it better. I finished about 20 Yo-Yo's and I have no clue what I'll do with them. Something to add to the UFO basket.

The most exciting thing to happen in January for us was DH's retirement after 38 years at the same company. His department held a very nice dinner at a French Restaurant to celebrate. It will be some adjusting to being home together 24/7 but we are looking forward to travel and projects together. The first BIG project will be the move to California. The accident has put a slight damper on that but the goal is still to move in 2008.

And finally..............My January BOM for I'm not sure what inspired me to even start such an ambitious project. At heart, I am not an appliquer so I am using raw-edge fused applique. It won't be as pretty as all those patiently needle-turned blocks but I'll enjoy it just the same. Having the encouragement of an on-line community of quilters definitely helps keep one motivated.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Progress Report From the Red Chair

Actually the occupant of the red chair is getting around some and not hanging out as much in the red chair. Two weeks later, I can walk pretty proficently with the walker, go upstairs using a side-step, and can fix an easy meal for myself. With God's grace, I meet each day's healing and challenges. Friends and family have been incredibly wonderful with prayer, food, and companionship.

I haven't done much on the quilting front. Not too surprising considering that my sewing area is in a loft 2 stories above my red chair perch. With quilty friends help, I did get two labels on quilts that needed to be sent out. They went out in the mail today. Again, a friend took them to the P.O. for me. It's humbling to let other people do all those mundane chores of life for you. I hope that when I'm able, God will grant me the privilege of "pay it back" opportunities.

There's nothing to take a picture of today so this goes out with just my random thoughts. We've done nothing but talk a little about a new car. No matter what, it WILL have side air bags. We're partial to Honda Accords but my husband has been researching other cars, too. I don't think I'll be cleared for driving for another 4 weeks or maybe longer. I'm a little skittish about the idea of driving but I know I'll do it. I've already been a passenger in a car to go out to lunch and I handled that pretty well. head was swiveling side to side checking the cross traffic. With time that will go away.

I'm really going to venture out next weekend and go to my quilt guild's retreat. The facility we're using is handicap friendly and there will be lots of people to help me carry things. I'm not going to take the sewing machine. Instead, I'm going to put together hand-work projects. I'm definitely keeping it simple.

And in order to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we're tentatively planning a trip to Chesapeake, VA at the end of February to visit my uncle and to see the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show at Hampton Roads, VA. The goal is to have a new car by then and for me to be walking on my own or fairly well with a cane.

DH retires January 31st after a 38 year career at the same company. His co-workers are giving him a retirement party on January 30th. The next phase of our lives is about to begin. Just wasn't expecting this bump before we even got started on the road.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

God's Grace in Unexpected Accidents

Who knew when I woke up on Thursday, December 27th that by that evening, I'd be sitting in a hospital bed with two pelvic fractures in my right hip. Our car with me as passenger was t-boned at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon by a man who ran a red light. There is a possibility that he might have been intoxicated but we'll know more about that when we get the official police report. The car has been totaled and I'm using a walker while my hip heals over the next 4-6 weeks. Life has come to a sudden slow crawl.

But God is good and I have experienced an amazing outpouring of love and concern and care from friends and family. I do believe that God has said "Not yet" as he has granted me grace to live once more as wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

So here I sit.....queen of the red chair.....taking it easy, catching up on reading and trying to not get to anxious to get up and get going. Everyone from doctors to friends have told me to take it one day at a time and allow myself to heal so that is what I must do.