Saturday, September 27, 2008

Beautiful Quilt & a Cupcake Award

When I first heard about Tina's giveaway, I thought it was too good to be true. Who makes a quilt, in fact a different quilt each month, and then gives it away on her blog? Tina at Dragonfrye News is who. Even once I won the drawing I thought, no body really does this!!! For a brief moment my suspicious paranoid New York perked up and declared "It's a scam! Some one is going to ask for my address to "send me a quilt" then really trace it to my credit card bills and social security benefits and....and....and....." But no. Just an adorable quilt in the post! Don't you agree?

I loved it in the picture on her site and I love it even better in person. Some of the fabric reminds me of vintage sheets (I keep reading people obsess about them for quilts, but just didn't catch the vision until I got this quilt!), some is plaid, some has metallic gold thread, one great dark purple block, some pretty paisleys...oh, and the cute polka-dot fabric??? Love it! Just love it!

I have to admit I have curled up under it already, despite my best intentions to put it in a hope chest for future daughters who will love it. I am afraid those daughters will have a hard time sneaking it from Momma for an occasional snuggle!

So thank you Tina! Here's a cupcake to you for sweetness! Yes, your generosity gets the second Cupcake Award on my blog.

Photo by Kelly Sue DeConnick, used under Creative Commons License

Who else wants some of Tina's sweetness? All you have to do is check out her site at the beginning of October. Her next drawing will be posted on October 6! Hope one of you wins the next one!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thought for Friday....

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Sir Matthew James Barrie

My dad is an engineer, but more importantly, he is a mountaineer. The picture above is of him climbing the rope he hangs in the welding shop most days to do some lunchtime training. When there are mountains to climb, one must constantly train! He even took a hanging gym with us on our Washington trip this summer...rope and rings and who knows what else that he hung from the tree at our rental house. When he climbs the rope he uses only upper body legs to shimmy or support or climb or hold. That alone is impressive (I can barely hang on it like a wet rag), but my dad is almost 60 and he's been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

At his worst two years ago, when the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong, he could barely open his car door with one hand. Walking from his car to work (about 100 yds) took 20 minutes. Getting into the car and buckling up required a rest. Showering required a rest. Everything required a rest. I look at him now and am in awe of how he pushes himself, how he fights to be able to do the things that matter most to him, how he struggles to beat, no obliterate, the odds. He talks about the pictures of himself he plans to send to his rheumatologist...tops of mountains, in handstands, in handstands on the rings. His rheumatologist has never had a patient like this!

While I am amazed that his strength and abilities are greater than almost everyone out at the plant (from 18 to 65 and completely healthy) or even everyone I know, they are still dramatically less than what they once were and what he hopes them to be. He works to keep his vision as a powerful climber strong. He battles for the strength he once had, the strength he needs, fighting to restore his ability for the one thing he loves more than anything in the world (except his daughters, of course!)...being on the mountain.

First time back on the ice, Dec. 2007

Some of the battles we fight are obvious to others. Everyone in the office knew my dad was fighting something awful when he was really sick, but I don't know if they realize how hard he fights now. They know my dad is a warrior just from talking to him, but do they have any clue about his daily physical and mental battle ? Do they see how hard he is fighting every single day?

I think all of us at different times in our lives have battles like this raging. Things that weigh on us everyday or pop up and pull the rug out from us from time to time. When I first read the quote above on my cousin's blog (thanks JJ!), I was having a particularly hard day in a struggle that only some people knew about. It was weighing on me, making focusing on work and doing my day-to-day things difficult, yet those around me had no idea what was going on. They couldn't see me fighting for the emotional equivalent of getting one more rep out on the rope. I thought about how often our personal lives, our fears, our insecurities, our losses affect us deeply and then we go to work or church or rehearsal or out to dinner, and life demands that we carry on as usual. While I am not a fan of denying what you're going through, sometimes the battles are internal and private, fought personally, but hopefully with the encouragement and love of a few close supporters.

Dad leading a climb in January of this year! Rock it, Dad!

Today, the pictures of my dad are a reminder that there is progress possible. The things we love can be within our reach. The struggle can give us back the things we need most. But also, sometimes it continues to be a struggle. Sometimes it aches....everywhere! Sometimes we fight internally where few people see. Sometimes the successes are small and the workouts long.

Be kind, please. Be encouraging as we all struggle and learn and progress and succeed! I know the kindness of others has sustained me at times when I was bottoming out. I hope all of our daily inside battles ultimately lead us back outside and to the things we love. Thanks for the reminder, Dad! Hope there is a wonderful ice season ahead of you this year! I love you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Husbando

(Husbando is Spanish for husband....obviously!)

Today is my hubbie's birthday! In honor of his big day, I am going to share 10, nope 11, favorite random facts about him, all things that I love, even those that I wonder no. 7!

  1. He has subtle, but utterly adorable dimples and crazy curling eyebrow hairs.
  2. He was once a white-water river guide. Talking about it on our first date resurrected teenage fantasies about running away with (rowing away with?) a river guide and solidified my serious interest in him.
  3. When he really laughs, he sometimes busts out a little "Ernie laugh"..."kehehehehe".
  4. He out "movie-trivias" me (which isn't hard to do) but he does it even on MY favorite movies. (p.s. Don't challenge him and his siblings to a movie trivia contest. Unless of course, you like to lose. Badly!)
  5. He's a Spanish-speaking Scot. Every now and then I am lucky enough to get him to whisper sweet nothings to me in Spanish. (note: I never ask for sweet nothings using Scottish vernacular as they might include references to haggis.)
  6. Oh he makes me laugh! laugh! laugh!
  7. Shoe tying is absolutely optional for short excursions.
  8. He listens and listens and listens.....and listens some more.
  9. He is ticklish, but don't you dare tell him I told you as he really doesn't like it. Bummer!
  10. He can cook and iron and clean!!! Thank you Momma Mac! He took care of so many of those things while I was in school. Lucky, lucky girl!
  11. He had hair longer than mine when we first met and I LOVED it. Funny thing is, now I think he just looks smashing with short hair and can't imagine him as a "long haired freaking people", as he used to describe himself.
I love the man he was when I met him and I love the man he is becoming. I am so unbelievably grateful to be married to him. Happy birthday, babe!

p.s. If you don't know the Ernie's a little sample...enjoy!

p.p.s. I think I just figured out one possible explanation for the shoelace thing...perhaps he is avoiding the grave dangers of having shoelaces tied too well when you must engage in a game of chicken on a tractor! He is so smart! I knew there was a reason I loved him more than punch dancing Ren McCormick/Kevin Bacon! Wahoo!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Busy Day...

Don't have time to write and post pictures (even of the ADORABLE quilt I received in the mail from Tina! hopefully tomorrow...), so I'm just passing on a few links that I am wanting to spend more time checking out....

For dinner....if you want soup, check out Turkey Cookies soup recipe swap. Oh they look yummy! Or if you want to explore some vegetarian options, how 'bout this site?

For fellow apartment dwellers, check this site out. I want one of these in my living room! And they speculate about the staying power of cupcakes. Vital life questions.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jump back!

I decided to watch this last night for a bit while I was quilting because I thought I could watch a snippet before we went to a friend's for dinner and then just put it back on the shelf. Both the hubster and I ended up getting hooked and must watch the ending tonight. This is where we stopped it last night. Tell me you know this movie....please...

(Of course that's the VHS box! Gotta have it on VHS!!!)

Yes, Footloose is hands down my all time favorite 80's movie. I don't even know how many times I've seen it and can't tell you all the reasons I love it, but here's a few....
  1. it was filmed less than an hour from where I grew up (so I saw the iconic roller mills where Ren McCormick worked whenever we drove south to visit family) and in my young mind it made this movie mine, personal, close to home
  2. leg-warmers (need I say more?)
  3. the "teaching Willard how to dance" scenes rock
  4. the way the short order cook and waitress and everybody else boogies to the beat at the drive in because they are just SO rock and roll deprived
  5. tractor chicken fights anyone?
  6. the "time to dance"speech in front of the city council (see pic above!)
  7. teenage rebellion fighting against the staid small town patriarchy (but in a "just wanna cut-loose" kinda way of course)
  8. Diane Wiest as the wise and subtle preacher's wife & Sarah Jessica Parker back when she was a just the cute sidekick
  9. Kevin Bacon dancing out his anger...with dance moves that make me think "Flashdance" and scream 80's, but I still love!
  10. and last but not least, the phrase "Jump back!"
Mostly, I think I love it because it is all about longing to dance, loving to move and respond to a beat, wanting to boogie (or groove or slow dance or party) together... and the overwhelming desire we have to celebrate physically, with movement and music.

(Pic of the VHS box up close. Isn't it classic?)

As we left for dinner, hubby and I discussed my undying love for this movie, what gives it staying power and what other 80's movies still rock our world. How 'bout you? What other 80's movies MUST hubby and I add to our library? Votes anyone?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thought for Friday....

" is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

This is a quilt made by my maternal grandmother, who sparked my interest in quilting. My mom calls it the "Coat of Many Colors" quilt. I love it! Is so bright and cheery and it makes me smile! I sometimes put it on my kitchen table just so I can see all of it at once.

Today, I want to be bright and cheery and hopeful, so I think I'll put out Grandma's quilt, smile, open my heart a little more and offer a quick prayer for hope. May you have a blessed day too!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Package in the mail...

Posting about what I received in the post...

Here's the cute checkbook cover Carol over at Giraffe Dreams sent me. Isn't the orange and white polka dot fabric fun?

And doesn't it look great peeking out of my favorite purse?

Carol, thank you! It is beautiful! I think I'm going to have to start carrying my checkbook everywhere just to have this cute thing in my purse!

Also, on the "hope to get a package of my own in the mail" front, hurry over to Knot Sew Crafty to enter her 200th post craft giveaway. The giveaway will be a surprise and the suspense is killing me!!! Be quick...she's drawing a winner tonight.

Have a lovely day all!

p.s. If you want to make your own check book cover (or I'm thinking about modifying one to fit my pocket calendar), the tutorial Carol recommended can be found here.

p.p.s. One more giveaway I just discovered via commonplace....Film in the Fridge is giving away one of these cute bags...

Hurry over there! She's drawing a winner tonight at 7 pm ET!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Photo by Striatic under Creative Commons License
If my office continues to be an ICEBOX can I justify knitting my WARM wool socks on the clock?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finished Object! Kajsia's Pinwheels

Yes it is true! This is a quilt I finished just this weekend for a girl-friend who is having a baby this month. It was definitely a "learning" project for me...blocks leftover from the first quilt top I even made & and an attempt to do free-motion quilting on my old sewing machine (the same machine pictured here). Whew, was that an adventure!!! I'll tell you, I was certainly laughing at myself and the resulting quilting while making it.

(The whole quilt...a bit out of focus! About 40x40, I think.)

Although the quilting is completely irregular in every way, I still think it turned out pretty cute. It will keep her little one warm or give her a little play space on the ground, wacky/learner's permit quilting or not.

(Some of the "good" pics of the toe-catching stitches! =-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008


That's how I'm feeling today. Busy day ahead of me...with things I should be excited about (like the first Quilt Guild meeting of the year. I'm going to join today finally!!!), but I feel...well, blah, and a tad bit overwhelmed. I am going to do something about it though, like going to the farmers market, maybe dropping in at commonplace to share the things that make me happy and then getting to work. I'll let you know how it goes.

I am happy....I am happy....I am happy.....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thought for Friday....

"Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow"."

The Talmud

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1st Ever "Cupcake Award"

Photo by Kelly Sue DeConnick, used under Creative Commons Lic.

Cupcakes are the epitome of sweetness! They are just the right size to bring the perfect amount of joy...

So, in honor of someone who was excessively sweet, the first "little collection cupcake award" goes to.....(drumroll please.....)

Carol at Giraffe Dreams!
I participated in her red and white challenge, and when my blocks arrived after she drew for her give-away prize, she decided to send a little something to me too! When it arrives, I will be sure to post about it here!

Thanks Carol for your sweetness!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Looking for something new???

Check out this ingenuity over on A Foothill Companion...I swear crafters are the most creative, make-do-with-what-you've-got folk!

Or make this yummy dinner....(sans arugula salad in my case). Another favorite summer dish. (Fresh corn does make a difference! I do mine more like pancakes than fried fritters.)

(My back home, meat-and-potatoes family is probably feeling sorry for my hubbie about now! Oh well!)

Or ask yourself "what if...." and make a crazy quilt block as an answer!

Any other suggestions for something new? It's going to be a creative Wednesday....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Farmer's Market Bliss...and a Recipe!

I love the farmer's market! I love buying local, organic the reused bottles, just like my mom had when the milk man actually delivered! I love the fresh veggies. I love everybody stocking up on their greens...and reds and yellows and purples and peaches! I love how beautiful and busy it all is and that it is all grown close to home.

And I love that it brings this to my table....

"Hail-kissed" very juicy peaches
and this.....

Fresh Tomato Sandwiches on homemade bread with corn on the cob

And of my recent favorites ways to use fresh corn....

Corn and Black Bean Salsa/Salad

This recipe is from Heather, and I LOVE it!!! The lime, the cilantro, the peppers....YUM!!! Make it while the corn is good, just don't flaunt it on Heather's blog as there is apparently not a great bean selection in Kazakhstan!

Here's the recipe:

Corn and Black Bean Salsa/Salad

2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (3-4 ears)
2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup red onion, minced
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 large jalapeno, finely chopped
3 T vegetable oil
2 T fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
few drops of Tabasco (optional).

In a large bowl, combine the corn, black beans, red onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Stir in oil and lime juice. Add cilantro, 1 tsp of salt and Tabasco and toss well.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Season with more lime juice, salt or Tabasco, if necessary, and served chilled or at room temperature.

My variations: I used one 15 oz. can black beans, one of black-eyed peas. I vary the peppers (red, yellow, green, purple). I wing the proportions a bit, depending on what I have on hand....and the fact that I think lime and cilantro should always be quadrupled! I rarely put in that much oil, and usually use olive oil. I often add tomato and cucumber. I use the green Tabasco.

Can be served it as a main dish with bread or tortillas, side dish with chips or any other way that strikes your fancy. It is just plain YUMMY!

Bon appetit!

p.s. I just noticed the use of all of the following "diced, minced, and chopped" in the recipe above....wonder if I ever chop the onion and mince the jalapeno? Tastes good anyway!

p.p.s. Any end of summer favorites and recipes you can recommend?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Made Me Inexplicably Happy...

Working on blocks for Clare over at Quilts for Leukemia yesterday and today did just that!

Clare makes quilts for children who have been diagnosed with Leukemia from blocks made by quilters from around the world. She sends each quilt on to one little person with Leukemia. The blocks are all red and white (symbols of healthy, vibrant blood cells, yes?) and are all so different and beautiful. I initially wrote off the possibility of participating. "Send them to France??? I'll never get around to that."

Then Carol at Giraffe Dreams issued a challenge. Somehow I was hooked. Double charity good? She'll send 'em to France? Use up leftover red and white from my Irish chain? "Done".

Started with one checkerboard was too small so I cut it in half to make two, adding a white background and border. It just needed a bunny hopping up the hill, don't you think?
Makes me think of my sister's bunny from when we were kids.

And this one and the "love" block above. The didn't start out wonky, but with some seam allowance differences and the need for another border, I decided to play with wonky. I like 'em!

Then I had enough strips to make some new checkerboards, but since everything else had embroidery, thought it needed just a touch of embroidery too.

The red work embroidery was so fun to do I think I am going to talk my Grandma into doing a red work quilt with me. (What do you think Grandma??? :) In fact, I was so excited and concerned about getting them to Carol on time, I woke up at 4:45 am Friday morning and thought, maybe I should get up and start working on them NOW to make sure they're finished before work! (I am NOT a morning person. In fact, my father thinks I am completely unaware that the day even exists before 8 am! So you know I was excited.)

So thank you to Clare and Carol for doing something good and giving me the chance to be a part of it! It truly made my day!!!

p.s. What other fun things would go with my bunny if I were to revisit this design in the future? Suggestions anyone?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Patience & Miracles

photo by Bret Arnett
"Each time I walk with Abraham and Isaac on the road to Mount Moriah, I weep, knowing that Abraham does not know that there will be an angel and a ram in the thicket at the end of the journey. We are each in the middle of our earthly path, and we don’t know the rest of our own stories. But we, as Abraham, are blessed with miracles."

Susan W. Tanner

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I feel like I have been reading about so many tragedies on blogs in the past little bit, so many losses and deaths. This is a time when within my own family we are facing plenty of struggles of our own...cancer, fertility issues, custody difficulties, rheumatoid arthritis, unhealed hurt feelings....

I find myself asking, what do I have faith in in the midst of uncertain times? What guides me through my troubles? I have swung the pendulum in my ideas about faith from believing that if I have enough faith, healing will occur exactly as I want it hoping and praying that if I have enough faith I can trust that I will be ok, and even joyous, whatever the circumstances.

Whatever the circumstances...I believe that mortality, this sojourn here from birth to death, will always have thorns and thistles...things that crop up all their own, simply because we are on this planet. Yet, I also believe that we somehow knew this before coming here, knew it would be part of the experience and agreed to it wholeheartedly because this existence is about becoming, and it is these struggles that will most help us become more compassionate, more humble, more grateful, more aware of what matters most, more connected to the divine.

I believe that there IS access to divinity in our lives if we seek it.

In a recent yoga class, the focus was on grace and continuing to open our hearts to the heavens. That is my prayer today....that if I lift my heart to heaven, it will be held by grace. Please, today, lift your own heart and say a prayer for grace, grace for those you love, for yourself, for those you are grateful for, for those you know who are struggling and perhaps for me and my family. May all of us (including you!) be blessed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hooray for Grandma Tutorials!!!

I was successful in making 4 loaves of wheat bread today due to the great tutorial I had from my lovely Grandma this summer. Two are in the freezer, one is being devoured and one is on its way home with a friend. I love having time to bake!

Thanks Grandma!

(sorry no battery the best part of baking bread is the aroma and you can't put that on the blog anyway.)