Showing posts from 2009

The Year in Review

I've wrestled a little with how to measure 2009. I could list the quilt projects I've completed (9) or the cross stitch/needlepoint projects (21) or the books I've read (at least 50). I could talk about having to participate in a due process hearing at work, one of the most difficult times in my professional life. Or I could dwell on the stress of watching from afar as my oldest struggled to make ends meet in this economy in Los Angeles and his uncertainty about his career choice. Or the stress of helping/encouraging/outright incessantly nagging my daughter to get her college applications done. Or the difficult time my church is having with a pastor out on medical leave. Or the frustration of not being able to drop some pounds. But there have been many, many blessings as well. My middle son completed a very successful freshman year at college and had a great summer as a camp counselor. It was wonderful to see him so happy. After some coaching from my husband and me, my ol…

10 Book Challenge Completed!

I finished my 10th book for the challenge I joined back in September. The list is in my sidebar. You'll notice that most of it is pretty lightweight fiction since most of my reading time is limited to a few pages before I fall asleep at night. I really do miss having the time to sit and read for long stretches but that just isn't possible with a busy teenager, a house and a full-time job. And of course, stitching and quilting!

I do listen to quite a few books while I'm driving and while I'm quilting. Right now, I'm listening to A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore and I can recommend it highly.

The Children Were Nestled

In my family, we open our gifts on Christmas Eve. This tradition got its start in my own childhood. I'm assuming my parents started this because we lived in the same small town as my paternal grandparents who had 11 children. Every year, nine of those children and their families would come for Christmas (one child passed away before I was born and one family lived several states away). That meant 22 grandchilden as well. We rented the Community Hall in town so everyone could be together. Obviously, my parents helped a lot with the food shopping and preparation and needed to get things together on Christmas morning. So we had our family gathering a little early. I've continued the tradition with my own children since we have hosted Christmas (and all the other major holiday) dinners since my oldest was born. We go to church, come home and have snacks and enjoy a leisurely time opening the gifts.

This year, I made a quilt for each of the kids with the plan of putting it on their …

Happy Birthday, Winter Baby

This is our daughter's 18th birthday, and coincidentally, my brother's birthday. They were born 40 years apart--you do the math.

My third pregnancy was a surprise. I don't usually tell people since I don't think it's fair to my daughter to advertise that. I'm sure none of you will break it to her, though. Because I was an "older" mother--all of 38--I had some genetic testing done early in the pregnancy. The alpha fetal protein test, the one that checks for neural tube deficits like spina bifida, came back positive twice and I ended up having to have amniocentesis. We chose not to find out the baby's gender.

My daughter was due on December 12 and early in December, my doctor was telling me that it would be any day. On the 12th I had definite signs that labor should begin soon, but nothing happened. On the 17th, I went to the hospital to be induced. On the way, my husband and I speculated about what the baby would look like. We already had a boy wit…

All I Want for Christmas

My husband and I have always taken a lot of pleasure in giving each other gifts at Christmas. When we were first married, he used to do his shopping two or three days before Christmas. Then, one year, he caught a nasty flu and was flat on his back on December 23. There weren't presents for me that year and even though we shopped the after-Christmas sales together, it wasn't the same. He learned his lesson and since then has always been on-time and very generous. Last year, though, neither of us could think of anything we really wanted. I think it was partly the economic climate and partly the fact that while we are not great consumers, we pretty much buy ourselves whatever we want/need during the year. So we agreed to no gifts, and I've got to tell you that wasn't much fun. This year, we gave each other modest lists although once again, I had a hard time thinking of something I wanted. I do need a new wallet so that went on my list.

But what I really wanted, and no on…

It's My Turn To Be a COW

A few weeks ago, Nancy, Near Philadelphia made this post. While I object to the acronym, my daughter's high school concert was the cause of my becoming a Cranky Old Woman last night. I used to love going to these concerts when my son was in high school. But in the six years between his graduation and last night's event, concert-going etiquette has suffered greatly in my community. Seems many people think "concert" and "sporting event" are synonymous. Thus, the cat-calls, whoops and whistles after every number, no matter how classical. Thus, people feel free to walk in and out at will, no matter who is performing. And how about the family who once spent ten minutes wondering aloud whether the audience would stand for the Hallelujah Chorus and then talking the whole way through it. Or the woman who sat next to me last night and sang along with the choir (and not well, I might add). Hello--I came to hear my kid, not you!!

OK, I feel better no…


Here's the view from our deck last Sunday morning when we had a few inches of snow. It was the best kind--just enough to make everything sparkle and not enough to affect travel on the roads. As you can see, our back yard is wooded. It's home to quite a bit of wildlife, including some foxes and many, (too many), deer. I often step out onto the driveway and see a deer nibbling about six feet away from me. They barely look up any more.

Well you would think that this snow would get me in the Christmas spirit, but that seems to be slow in coming this year. We have a interim pastor who is just wonderful and his sermon on the first Sunday in Advent was about anticipation. (For those of you of a certain age, he used the Heinz ketchup commercial with Carly Simon's "Anticipation" as one of his illustrations.) I'm finding it hard to capture that excitement. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that at my school we have been directed to keep the holidays ou…

Bound, Labeled and About to Be Delivered

This is the last of the four quilts I sent off in August to be quilted. (I think my quilt holder needs to grow a few inches and get longer arms). This one is a Christmas present for my sister. I finished binding it about a month ago and believe me, it was touch and go about whether it would actually get sent out to Iowa. I loooove the colors and I seriously contemplated sending a Harry and David fruit basket to her instead. But now it has a label with my sister's name on it so there's no turning back!

Over the River and Through the Woods

They came by plane and by car, not to Grandmother's house, but to mine. Both my boys were home for Thanksgiving as the older one flew in from LA and the younger one got a ride home from college. And they both left again this afternoon. We've never had to say goodbye to both boys on the same day so this was tough. I miss them, although I won't miss the mountains of laundry they generated. But the semester ends for my college student on December 17 and the older one is coming back for Christmas on the 19th. Just enough time for the washing machine and dryer to rest up.

Despite all the loading and unloading of the machines, I got some quilting and stitching done this weekend. I finished all the piecing of a quilt top and just need to add borders and sew the backing before it goes off to the quilter's. When I was playing in my stash last weekend, I found enough fat quarters in the fall colors I love to do a quilt with them. I finished cutting all the pieces this weekend.…

Black Friday

I live approximately 3.1 miles from the largest mall on the East Coast. It's huge--we have Macy's, Bloomingdales, Penneys, Sears, Nordstroms, Lord and Taylor andNieman and Marcus plus Crate and Barrel, Tiffany's, Bath and Body Works, Victoria's Secret, Gap and just about any type of restaurant or specialty store you can think of. It's a destination and busloads of shoppers come in throughout the year. The hotels across from it offer Black Friday packages and there are no vacancies at these inns during Thanksgiving weekend. Let them enjoy their shopping today, and may they spend lots so my real estate taxes stay low. As a "native", I know how to duck in and duck out during the slow times in order to cross items off my gift list. No way, no how am I going to enter the fray today. But, my local quilt shop is having a sale and I know how to avoid the mall traffic to get there :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

A happy Thanksgiving to my readers! I hope your day is filled with blessings from family and friends and wonderful food. It will be just the five of us for dinner today which is fabulous. My older son wasn't able to join us last year and the table felt empty. He flew in from LA last Friday and it has been great to have him home. He's filled our house with his friends and we have loved catching up with them, too. His 5 year high school reunion is on Saturday night so I'm sure we'll hear lots more news after that. My younger son came home from college on Tuesday and after finishing a paper that's due next week, slept most of the day yesterday. Writing is a challenge for him so I'm glad he got this assignment out of the way. Yesterday was a half-day for students at my school. Teachers had to stay until 3:00, but we were given time to work on report cards. I got about half of mine finished so I'm way ahead of where I usually am. Last night, I watched …

Playing in My Stash

I'm an early riser. My alarm is set for 5:00am during the week and I find that I wake up around that time on weekends, too. (The end of daylight savings time meant that I was waking up around 4:00 which is just a tad bit early even for me.) The rest of my family likes to sleep in. So sometimes on Saturday morning, I use those early hours to play in my stash. I saw a picture on the Sister's Choice blog of a snowball quilt that would be really fun to do. Even though I won't be participating in the challenge, I immediately ordered 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts from Amazon. As a bonus, it also had the pattern for the Peppermint Twist quilt I've been lusting after ever since I saw it in a shop in Virginia last summer. The Snowball pattern in the book is from scraps, but I really want to do a red and white quilt. Then Sister's Choice had a link to show what Cupcakes & Daisies did with some of the centers of her snowballs and I just had to do that with my qu…

Sorry I've Been MIB*

*Missing in Blogland

We've been busy people at my house getting college applications sent off. It didn't happen without a lot of drama and a very rare fight between my daughter and me. My poor husband finally negotiated a truce. But I swear these children are programmed to engage in behaviors during their senior year of high school that makes you want them to leave (and the sooner the better).

Then there's been an on-going home repair problem that still isn't resolved. Plus a wedding last weekend. And work--there's always work.

I finished a quilt top for my daughter and took it to the quilter's last week. I spent some time laying out the 100 blocks I made earlier this year and got an arrangement I like so I've been sewing those together. I also realized that my daugher is turning 18 at the end of December and I had planned to make this for her. It's a Lorri Birmingham design that I got at Heart of Cross Stitch or CATS. I'm planning to use it as the to…

What's in Your Bag?

Anna asked this question and though I'm late to the party (hey, I've been busy!!), I finally took these pictures when I was home during daylight hours yesterday. This is only one of my stitching bags, but it's the one that travels in my car and to guild meetings. It's from Tarzhay and has served me well over the last few years. Right now it contains a Kathy Schenkel canvas ornament project for the eventual Advent tree, an over-one project that has no business being in the travel bag (it was a guild project that hasn't been moved into the stitching basket beside my couch), a Lights of Advent ornament (in the Q-snaps) along with a working copy and a bag of threads, my name card for guild meetings, two pair of scissors, a Vera Bradley wristlet containing packages of needles and a doodle cloth.

A Quilt with No Name

Here's the third of the four quilt tops I sent out to be quilted. This one is for my daughter. She picked out the fabrics and we originally had another pattern in mind. When I started this quilt, I realized that the other pattern wouldn't work and I developed this one to feature the red and white print. You may remember it from the post about the repair I needed to make. Again, this was a learning experience. I learned to "fussy cut" blocks and I also learned the importance of checking the layout before sewing. The perfectionist in me isn't happy with this layout and this is another project I won't be showing to my quilt guild. My daughter loves it, though, and it will be used. But neither one of us can come up with a name for it so suggestions are welcome.

What I've Been Up to

My posts have been further apart than I would like, but working 10 hours a day cuts into my blogging time (not to mention every other aspect of my life). I've had to stay after school to work at the PTO spaghetti dinner, attend an inservice, and sit in on conferences. Arriving at work at 7:30 and leaving at 5:30 or thereabouts is not my idea of a balanced life.

When I've been home, I've been binding off the quilts I got back from the quilter a few weeks ago. This one is for my son who went to school in Miami and now lives in LA. It's my first top and I think I did a great job of matching the houses on the border when I had to put a seam in the middle. It wasn't until after I had it quilted and laid out on his bed to surprise him when he comes home for Thanksgiving that I realized that the beach chair sections on the right side and the bottom make it seem unbalanced to me. I probably should have added another row of chairs to the top and left side. Oh, well, I'm …

How 'Bout Those Phillies?

I am so not a baseball fan, but my principal is. When the Phillies are in the post season, we as a school cheer them on by wearing our Phillies gear (although I personally own no such items). And that also means being able to wear jeans to work. For two days in a row this week. I am a huge fan of being comfortable, so GO PHILLIES!!!

Quick, Before It's Gone!

I got four (4!) quilts back from the quilter* last week and that has meant a whole lot of binding. Here's a photo of the first one I completed--ignore the shadow from the tree in the upper right. I found the kit at a quilt show a few years ago and knew it was perfect for my second son who loves to snack. The finished quilt is now on his bed, but he's coming home for fall break this weekend and I'm sure this will go back to college with him.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouraging comments on weight loss and exercise. It does help to have my husband to walk with. We have an on-going joke about who has to pull whom out the door every day.

*Someone told me once that there are quilters and then there are piecers. I'm definitely a piecer and think life is too short to do my own quilting.


I've struggled with my weight ever since I was 10 and had to take large doses of prednisone to control my asthma. I lost 17 pounds with Weight Watchers a few years ago, but those pounds crept back on and invited a few of their friends to join them. My husband and I have been walking 2 miles at least three times a week since the beginning of the summer. With the arrival of the cooler weather, we've been out nearly every day. He's lost 14 pounds. I know I've lost inches and I'm waaay more physically fit because I can talk all the way up the long hill on our route, but the scale wasn't budging much. Until today when I finally saw a 9 as the last digit (and by the way, the scale is from Google Images and doesn't represent my weight. Not even close, thank goodness!). I had promised myself a new cross stitch project when I reached this milestone. I'm thinking Quakers and Quilts, Bent Creek's Teacher Row or La-D-Da's Act Justly. I'll le…

A Goal Accomplished

When I was a senior in high school, I had to write a short essay on what I hoped to accomplish in life. One of the things I wrote was that I wanted to be a mother who greeted her children with homemade cookies when they arrived from school at the end of the day. Now, mind you, I didn't have a mother like that--she worked as the kindergarten teacher or librarian at my school from the time I was in 5th grade. So who knows where I got that idea--chalk it up to being 17 and living in Nebraska.

Well, I did end up being a mother of three wonderful children, but I worked before my oldest was born and I kept right on working after he and his siblings arrived except for the relatively short maternity leaves I took. We did a fair amount of cookie making together over the years, but after school "quality" time was usually spent in the car on the way home from day care in the elementary years, and in the case of my second son, on the way home from track practice at his high school.


Actual Stitching Progress

Here's the third panel of Petit Sampling Etui. Not tooo much frogging occurred during the stitching of this segment, so it went more quickly than the first two panels. I'm plugging away on the fourth panel and discovered last night that I needed to frog a small section I had misplaced. Shouldn't take too long, but I want to make forward progress, not reverse! I'm getting a bit discouraged about how long it is taking me to stitch this since I've been working on it pretty much exclusively since July. I've always known that I would finish in the top three if there is ever a contest for World's Slowest Stitcher, but this is getting ridiculous!!

Of course, my foray into knitting (thank you everyone for your kind comments!) and trying to complete four quilt tops to take to the quilter next week has abolutely nothing to do with how little stitching I'm getting done. Nothing at all.

There, That's Better

Remember the baby blanket in the last post that was 3/4 done? Well, I got to the end and cast off. Then I tried to pick up the stitches on the sides to do a border and ended up with loops and pulled stitches. I looked at my earlier knitting once again and decided it all had to come out. Even though this isn't perfect, I'm getting much better with the tension and my work is much more even. Maybe the 15th or 16th time is the charm.
This picture is dark because I'm not home much during daylight hours these days. I leave to take my daughter to school and then go on to work about the time the sky is beginning to lighten up. I've been staying at work to get paperwork and plans together until I have to pick up my daughter at 5:15. This spares her a bus ride home and gains her some time to shower and eat before she goes out to a trumpet lesson or work on some evenings. We eat a quick dinner when we get home and then my husband and I walk for half an hour. It's usually getti…

I've Been Knitting

Every now and then I get the urge to knit. What I actually produce is only a reasonable fascimile of knitting. (Notice all those holes?) But that doesn't stop me from trying. This is a baby blanket that has been started and ripped out, oh, about 14 times. I started this the first time because I wanted a larger project than a scarf. And now I keep trying to knit it because I'm stubborn. I do see improvement, but this piece isn't going to win any prizes. If I actually finish it. Actually, a finish is looking good this time since the pattern repeats 12 times and I'm on the 10th repeat. Stay tuned.

Another Challenge

I found out about this reading challenge from Anna. I've always been a reader, like my mother, aunt and grandmother before me. I'm sure that all my kids will remember about their childhoods is me saying "Just a minute until I finish this page." I got hooked on audio books a number of years ago and that has broadened my horizons since I don't have nearly as much time to read as I'd like. And I really, really like to make lists. So this challenge is a natural for me. My next 10 books will probably be: 1. Ocean Waves-Terri Thayer (a quilting mystery) 2. Rabbit at Rest-John Updike 3. Under Orders-Dick Francis 4. Shoot the Moon-Billy Letts 5. Understanding Poverty-Ruby Payne 6. …

Still Alice

My mother had Alzheimer's. This is a horrible disease that took her away from us bit by bit and made us mourn her well before she passed away two years ago. So it was with both curiosity and fear that I got the audiobook, Still Alice by Lisa Genovese, from my library. It's a novel about Alice, a Harvard professor of psychology, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 50. It is perhaps the saddest, and oddly, the most hopeful book, I've ever read. It's sad because of the way the disease progresses and because of the way it changes her relationship with her husband (although I couldn't decide if it just highlights what was already lacking in their marriage). I found it hopeful and reassuring that some of what made Alice unique was still there and cherished by her family even when she began to forget them. The fear in getting the book is probably something that every child of a person with Alzheimer's has--does forgetting some triv…

Let the Games Begin

I am so not a sports fan. I think baseball is boring, and don't even get me started on the salaries of professional football and basketball players. But I grew up in Nebraska in the late 60's and early 70's when the University of Nebraska had powerhouse football teams. In fact, they won the national championship during my senior year of high school. Richard Nixon came to Lincoln to present the trophy. The entire student body of the high school in my very small town gathered in the gym to watch the live broadcast of this event. (Do you think this was educational or was it just because the male teachers wanted to see it?) President Nixon came to the podium but his opening remarks were drowned out by nearly everyone in the high school pointing and saying "There's Mark ___." when we spotted a former student in the band seated right behind Nixon. OK, so I've always been a closet college football fan and haphazardly followed Big Red over the years. Then my olde…

Almost Caught Up

Two or three years ago, I joined the Delaware Valley Historical Sampler Guild which is a fantastic group of people. We're doing Petit Sampler Etui as an SAL with a goal of doing the finishing at our meeting in January, 2010. The panel with the house gave me all kinds of problems and I had put it aside in the spring. In June, I began to panic after talking about the project with another member who reminded me about how far I was supposed to have been at that time. So I've been stitching on this very steadily since then. I continued to have problems with the house panel and I'm sure I have stitched it three times. I also had to do some "reverse stitching" on the panel with the two ladies, but the third panel seems to be the charm and I am moving right along on it. I completed the over-one lettering last night after I took the picture. The suggested guideline for the SAL is to finish the third panel by the September meeting on the 12th. I'm pretty sure I'll …

My Feet Hurt

I've spent the summer in flip-flops (or more accurately, Fit Flops, those sandals that are supposed to tone your legs. Still waiting for that to happen.) but today, in honor of the first day of school for my students, I donned a real pair of shoes. Big mistake. I spend a lot of time traveling from classroom to classroom and by mid-morning, I was feeling the hurt. So lesson learned and tomorrow, I'll be back to more comfortable footwear.

Other than that, the day went fine, with only a few tears from children and parents. The other good news today was that the ruling was issued for the hearing I was involved in regarding a student's placement. The ruling was in favor of the school district and the parents were denied all their requests. Good news for us, indeed, but I do worry about the child involved in all of this.

The picture is of the July Bauble by Sam Sarah Designs. I started this during our trip to LA and finished it a week or so ago. I need to add small buttons on eac…

Read All About It

This article about Rittenhouse Needlepoint was on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer one day last week. It's an interesting story about a new venture two men have undertaken. I like what they are trying to do with creating a community. Isn't that what all of us who blog about our passion for needlework are trying to do? Sounds like a trip into Philadelphia is in order for me once I'm off the 25-project challenge!

And There He Goes

The car was loaded last night so that we could start out before 9:00 this morning to take my son back to college. He took charge of both the packing and loading which was nice to see. The trip was smooth and he checked in about the same time as his roommate. We had been anxious to see the new dorm room since we had heard about how much nicer it was than the freshman dorm. We weren't disappointed and I, as a veteran of 20 college tours over the last three years, can say that it is the nicest dorm room I've ever seen, bar none. First of all, it's carpeted, and second, it has at least 12 foot ceilings. And a private bath. The boys could bunk their beds which was an impossibility last year since the one on the top would have had only about 2 feet of head room. The closets are moveable so there are a number of ways the furniture can be arranged and still allow for lots of open space. It's fabulous! The rooms at either end of the hall are suites consisting of two single room…

100 Blocks Finished

In March and April, I took a class at a local quilt shop to learn how to make a Perkiomen Valley quilt. I should have put some more thought into this for two reasons-- 1) it was advertised as an advanced beginner, but I should have realized from looking at the sample quilt that it involved more skill than that and 2) it's a lot of blocks. 100 to be exact. 92 of the blocks are like this one and believe me, I'm showing you one of my the best ones where all of the triangle points lined up. Trust me, that didn't always happen on the first try and sometimes not even on the third try. Anyway, all of the blocks are done and I need to move on to the next step of doing the layout and trying to align the triangle points when sewing all these blocks together. I've just been a bit distracted by other things, like the super easy quilt with large blocks and no corners to match that I did for my sister and the other super easy quilt I'm doing for my son.

There are a few good thin…

He's Back!!

And here's the laundry to prove it!! This is what my son brought back with him from his 10-week stint as a counselor at an overnight camp. We picked him up on Sunday and I've been slowly working my way through the wash. He's home for the rest of this week and then we take him back to college on Sunday so he can do pre-season training with the cross country team. The camp experience was great for him in terms of helping him mature and forcing him to interact continuously with his peers. It seems as if he learned some things about social interactions. As an added bonus, he lost 25 pounds!! He needed to lose the weight and looks great. I think the camp should buy a hot tub and market themselves as a spa part of the year. I'd be one of the first ones to sign up!

Thanks for all of the comments following my post about my son's special needs. We are very proud of him for continuing to try his best every day. And I have to give some credit to my daughter who is ver…

A New Year, A New Start

Today's my birthday (56--I know I mentioned it awhile back, but thought I would refresh the memories of any readers who, like me, have "senior moments"). When I turned 50, I used the occasion to start a new cross stitch project and I continued that on each of my birthdays thereafter. Here's a photo of Elizabeth Rush which I started when I turned 50:

And one of Spanish Wine that I started on another birthday:

(Sorry about the photo. It's a rainy day here in the Philadelphia area which should relieve some of the heat we've had the past week or so. Perfect for sitting on the couch and stitching.)

And a photo of my progress on Nutmeg Needle's Patchwork Pieces that I started last year:

The Keep Me Sampler was also a birthday start.

Looking at these projects I know two things--where all of my needles go (each of these pieces has at least one stuck in it) and that I have a short attention span. So, on this birthday, my new start isn't a new project, but rather a…

As Promised

As promised, here's a photo of the July Baubles project I worked on during our trip to LA. These are great travel projects because of their size and the repetition of the designs. I usually stitch on these while I wait for my daughter to make her way out to the car in the morning during the school year. (None of my children are "morning people.") This and the August Bauble will be finished into a double-sided cube-it. . .someday.

I'm enjoying the last few days of my summer vacation. Yesterday I put the borders on the quilt for my sister's Christmas present and this morning I sewed the backing. I also began the layout for another quilt that I'm hoping to get pieced before I go back to school.

On the non-stitching side of things, my husband was out of town last night so my daughter and I went to see The Ugly Truth. We chose it mainly because my son's college roommate is the assistant to the manager of one of the actors and I had never seen this person in a m…

Hurray For Hollywood

We're back from a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit my son. He actually lives in an apartment complex on the other side of the hill that has the famous Hollywood sign. This was our second trip to the West coast this year. Last time we saw Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Strip, and ate in Mel's Diner. This time we did a lot more exploring and went to visit a college with my daughter as well as going to Manhattan Beach and Huntington Beach.

We also took the Warner Brothers' Studio tour which was terrific. Two hours full of information about movie and television show sets and how things are filmed. For example, we were told how colored leaves were wired onto trees on a set since there isn't a change of seasons in LA. We even got our picture taken in front of a "green screen." I figured there would be an extra charge for this, but it was a gift at the end of the tour and we have a great shot of us standing in front of Hagrid's cottage from the Harry Potter mov…

Unexpected Pleasures

My final college tour trip with my daughter last week went smoothly. I left my summer school job on time and less than an hour later we were parking at the airport. The flight was on time and the hotel was easy to find. My daughter's interview at the first college went well and she was pleasantly surprised by how much she liked the campus. She admitted to me that she is "a sucker for a quad" (so am I!) and this lovely institution has two of them. After lunch on campus, we wandered up the road to a small shopping center and found these fat halves in a quilt shop. They had more of the Amy Butler fabrics my daughter loves so we got some yardage to make a quilt for her. I does amaze me that she loves bright, bold prints since I fall in love with nearly every piece of fabric in an autumn color and/or a small print.

Day 2 of this trip was a little less successful as neither of us were wowed by the second college we visited. We had high hopes as it sounded great on paper and dur…

There will be no stopping me now

Last year we bought a Mac laptop for my son to use at college An I-touch came with it and I claimed it since everyone else in the family has an I-pod. I didn't do much with it until I discovered I could download books from my library onto it. I kept trying to take advantage of the wireless capabilities to read e-mail and my favorite blogs but the print was too small. I just didn't get it until my daughter showed me how to enlarge the screen. Duh! So now I get it and I'm fully mobile. As my son said when I sent my first text, "Welcome to the 21st century."

Portions Toll or the Summer of 95, Part 2

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. The E-Z Pass got another workout last week when my daughter and I took off for Washington, DC on the second leg of our college tours this summer. I haven't mentioned it here, but I grew up in a town of about 300 in southeast Nebraska. Not a lot of traffic. So I'm always amazed that I've learned to negotiate Big City traffic. I do it in Philadelphia all the time, but I wasn't too sure I'd be able to manage DC. But manage I did with the help of Mapquest. It was a smooth trip down with plenty of time to spare before the first tour started. And what a tour--the college should be paying the guide much more because she really sold my daughter and me on the place. Only one missed turn getting to the hotel where we collapsed for the evening. While my daughter slept, I completed the background stitching on the two ornaments you see above and finished a book. Day Two of this tour was a marathon. We started off in a taxi (o…

Stitching Progress

My mother had two sisters, one six years older and one ten years older. Neither married and since their parents (my grandparents) both died when I was six, they spent most holidays at our house. Only the middle sister is still alive. When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and later, after Mom's death, my aunt was a great comfort to me. She'll be 91 in a few weeks. Last year, she had some health issues and gave up driving (!), and then several months later moved into assisted living. I try to call her every week. The last time I spoke to her, I talked about how my usual summer plans to clean the house from top to bottom weren't working out well. She reminded me that the housework will always be there and that I should really be using my free time to do things I enjoy. What a wise woman!! So I've taken her advice and I've been stitching, quilting and reading the days away with only small twinges of guilt now and then.

I put in a lot of time on…

Turning Twenty

My second child's birthday is today. He's 20 which means we now have only one teenager. He was born on the most beautiful Sunday and was the perfect baby. But there were subtle signs early on that something was not quite right. At the age of 4, he was diagnosed with ADHD and we made the decision to medicate him. I know that not every parent would have made that decision, but we felt it was best for him and for our family. Still, he was immature and struggled socially in elementary school. Just before his 14th birthday, he was given the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that some place on the autistic spectrum. It was a huge blow and when we got the diagnosis, all I could hear were doors closing. We were able to find private schools for his middle school and high school years that provided a smaller class size. We also got therapy services from a psychologist and social skills groups. Our son joined the cross country team at his high school at our insistence, an…

We Can Put a Man on the Moon

Can it really be FORTY years since the first moon landing??? I remember it as if it was almost yesterday. I was a mere child of 15, volunteering for the summer at a state institution for the mentally handicapped. This was about 50 miles from my home, so my fellow volunteers and I were housed in a dorm on the campus of a community college. One of the college students set up a TV with about a 15" screen in the common room and we all watched the historic event. Only 40 years since we've been able to say "We can put a man on the moon, but. . ."

The moon landing is just one of the historical events that I try not to let my elementary students know that I've witnessed first hand. Not that they would be able to calculate how old I am, but their parents and even more importantly, their teachers (my co-workers) can. I've now reached that certain age where I am the second oldest faculty member at one of my schools and believe me, the parents and teachers look y…

We Need a Little Christmas

I mentioned in this post that I finished a needlepoint project because I wanted to work on something new during a few car trips this summer. I finished ornaments 6, 7 and 14 during the trips to my son's camp and to Newport. Ornaments 20 and 21 were earlier finishes. I took them all to the finisher this week and am choosing a few more to work on. These are by Kathy Schenkel and will be placed on an Advent tree. . .eventually.

I apologize for the delay between posts. Life intervened in the form of a lot of pain following a dental appointment. That issue still isn't resolved, but I'm going back today so I'm hoping it will be taken care of. We also had an overnight guest on Friday. I always look forward to seeing him as he is one of the most upbeat people I know. Another friend was over on Saturday afternoon which was a perfect day for sitting out on the deck. Due to the houseguest, I had to do a little extra cleaning, but I also managed to get out to lunch with a friend a…

Quilting Disaster

I have been making a quilt for my daughter for quite some time now. It was a learning experience as I had to "fussy cut" the fabric to make the block that you can partially see here. I had nearly finished it before I started a quilting class in March. That quilt involved cutting several hundred 2.5 inch squares and sewing them into 100 nine patch blocks. It took awhile and my cutting board was littered with the squares. I finally finished the blocks last week and cleared the cutting board so I decided to finish the top for my daughter's quilt last night. All I needed to do was cut and sew on two borders. All went smoothly until I was giving the top a good pressing and checking for stray threads. That's when I noticed the tear on the left side in this block. Aargh!!!! I have no idea how that happened! Fortunately, I have a good amount of this fabric left over due to changing the design of the quilt after I bought the yardage. So I was able to cut a new block and sew…

Portions Toll or the Summer of 95, Part 1

The College Search Project has been launched in earnest for my daughter. This post should actually be "Portions Toll", Part 2 since we have already made a trip up the PA Turnpike and I-95 to northern New Jersey where we visited a Very Famous institution of higher learning that it would probably take a miracle for my daughter to be admitted to. Although, who knows, maybe VF will need a 5'3" brown-eyed blonde who has barely had time to breathe in high school to make their class of 2014 perfect. But I digress. The trip that is the subject of this post involved heading down I-95 for 5 hours on Thursday to visit my daughter's Top Choice and back up 6.5 hours today. Same 300 miles, but way more traffic today. We crawled north past D.C. and Baltimore. I bonded with the US Air Force Retiree in the small orange car with the knitted heart hanging from the mirror and the couple from PA in the blue SUV with Two Men and a Truck moving boxes in back. I'm sure they also ha…