Saturday, December 29, 2007

And again - another great rainy day!

Tonight is Saturday night and our last night here in Portland. We loved the show "Disney's Beauty and the Beast". Meagan was mesmerized by the music and all of the characters which surprised us. We also had supper at our favorite little Mexican restaurant in the Sellwood District. One of the things we really enjoy about Portland is all of the little shopping districts throughout.

We are heading for Spokane tomorrow for a visit with some friends there and then on to Bozeman on Monday. We leave Portland with lots of love and warm memories from the past few days. I will check in again when we get home.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Little More Rain . . . And a Lot More Fun

We had another great day in Portland. We spent a lot of the day with Allison and Meagan at OMSI - Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It is a magical place for kids of all ages. Roy had to work so he wasn't able to join us until later in the afternoon. We then took Meagan shopping for something special at the Disney Store. We also had to shop for a new skirt outfit and ended up also finding a very nice little coat that she liked as well. She does not like to wear anything, but skirts and dresses. We are now "shopped out" and "Barbied out". We ended the evening with another nice dinner out at Romano's Macaroni Grill with the three of them. Tomorrow we are heading to see "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" at the Northwest Children's Theatre.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Rainy Day . . .

We left Portland in the rain this morning about 6:30 and drove up to NE Seattle for a memorial service for our good friend who passed away from early onset Alzheimers. It was a three and a half hour drive in pouring rain alternating with snow and way too much traffic for these "country kids" from Montana. The service was filled with love and lots of friends. We are so glad that we were able to go and share in this time for the healing to begin.

We left the church about 2 and started out again for Portland - three and a half hours of rain, mixed with snow, and lots of traffic. I said it would be so nice to have a button on the steering wheel that I could just push to make the windshield wipers go extra fast when the big trucks go by and splash you all over.

We had supper tonight at Roy's. He is a great cook and made Shepherd's Pie with a wonderful green salad and olive bread. It was a perfect meal after a long day.

We had looked and looked for a special Barbie doll for Meagan. I should have bought it before Christmas, but I wasn't sure which one it was so I bought something else and said we would find it when we were here. Well, it was the Holiday Barbie and it is not easy to find, but tonight we stopped to get some nose spray as we are both down with a cold, and there it was - on sale even.

My friend, Ronda, is home from the hospital and it sounds like she had really bad bone spurs that they removed. I am sure she will enjoy many years without the awful pain in her shoulder. If you visit her blog, send her "get well quickly" wishes.

Today was filled with blessings of all kinds.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Busy Day in Portland . . .

We had about 35 hours in the day and all of them were fun. We started with some good "Barbie" shopping for Meagan and following that we had a great lunch at the Claimjumper. We then spent almost half an hour trying to get out of the parking lot.

Allison and Meagan went to an annual traditional family gathering for Allison's family and Roy, Bob and I went down to the Portland Art Museum and enjoyed a wonderful journey through the art of Chuck Close. We should have shopped less - or ate less - because we all agreed that a couple more hours there would have really been good.

Then we started out towards a "highly recommended" place for a light supper and a great dessert and I ran into a wonderful yarn shop that was still open so we had to stop there for just a short visit. Then, when we got to our supper place, there was a bead shop right next door and so I had to do another short visit. The lady there had to show me some things and then I had to buy some things as I want to make some "dangly" earrings. It was a really great day and now we are heading for bed so we can get an early start tomorrow morning for Seattle.

More tomorrow night . . .

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How did that all happen . . .

. . . so quickly? Monday noon we left Bozeman in a blizzard headed out to Missoula which is about 200 miles west. The snow ended about 30 miles out and the trip to Missoula was good. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my parents, my sister and her family as well as Bob's sister and her family.
Then this morning (Christmas morning) we got up early and started out on the long drive to Portland, OR. The roads were good and there was a lot of snow as we got close to Lookout Pass on the Montana/Idaho border. Here are a couple pics at the rest stop just before you go over the pass which is also the Continental Divide.

We were about 80 miles east of Portland and we hit quite a snow storm again in The Gorge on the Columbia River. We arrived here fine and had a wonderful evening with Roy, Allison and Meagan. Meagan will be 4 next month. Here are a couple pictures of her with some of her new dolls and a bit of chocolate on her sweet face. The rice bags I made that you heat in the microwave can be seen here on Allison while Roy is busy shopping online to spend part of his Christmas gift on a new "road bike" he is building. It was a long two days, but so worth it! It was glorious to get here and the hugs were priceless!

On Thursday, we need to go to Seattle for the day to share in love and memories at a memorial service for Bob's long time friend who recently died from early onset Alzheimers. Then just a couple more days with our loved ones here and we will head back to Montana stopping for a day in Spokane for a visit with long time friends.

I hope to get to see my good friend, Ronda while I am here. One thing for sure, I want to wish her the best for her coming surgery on Thursday. I know it will help end the pain in her shoulder.

I hope everyone had a safe and loving Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oops - couple things at the last minute. . .

Had a last minute brain burp last night so I am busy today making a couple microwave warming rice bags - long ones that go over the shoulders. Also - looked and looked for the right comfy shirt for my dad. He can't pull anything over his head and likes button up shirts, no long sleeves and a straight bottom. Just try to find one of those. So I am going to fix one like that. Pictures to follow at the end of the day.

Better get going . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blessing as you travel . . .

Please know my love and prayers are with each of you as prepare and travel to spend time with family and friends and share in the glory of the Christmas celebration.

An Irish blessing . . .
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
The sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

The weekly interviews will restart after the first of the year. I will check in over the next week and share some on our travels. Enjoy glorious holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What a wonderful day . . .

Grades are in . . .
All of the emails have been sent to my graduate students with comments on their many papers and grades are all turned in for this semester. It is all done! I am doing the "can't believe it happy dance"!

Families are gathering . . .
And - the little peanut and his parents are heading south to Colorado to spend the next 10 days with his Mom's family there. I will miss him, but will also enjoy being footloose and "fancifree" and I know he will enjoy his Colorado grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Here he is mesmerized by "Nemo" - again!

Now on to finishing getting ready for our coming Christmas journey. We are heading to Missoula on Monday to spend some time with our families. We will then travel on to Portland to be with our "Portland Kids" - our son, Roy, his wife Allison and that other little person, Meagan. We will be back around the 1st and have plans to have another Christmas celebration then with Stan, Rainy and Weston here.

Movies are here . . .
We are giving ourselves some great movie adventures this holiday season. Here are a few we have on our "give it a try" list:
1. "The Golden Compass" - love Sam Elliott - here is an interview with him on it.
2. "The Bucket List" - with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholas - here is more about the story.
3. "Great Debaters" - with Denzel - nothing else matters - but here is a bit more about it
4. "I Am Legend" - with Will Smith - not sure, but it is on the list
5. "Charlie Wilson's War" - with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts - what else do I need to know?

And - here is a start of a list of "don't miss" that are out on DVD.
1. "Ratatouille" - watched it last weekend with Weston and we will watch it again this weekend

So - what movies - either current screenings or DVD versions are on your "don't miss list" this season? I will let you know what we think of those we get to see. And I am going to put a list in the right column once they hit our "Don't Miss List".

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An attitude of gratitude . . .

I woke very early this morning feeling so grateful. Sometimes it just overwhelms me. I decided to list five for today.

1. Thank you to Peggy, Patricia, Ronda and Ann for being so willing to share your work and yourselves on this blog. It has been wonderful fun for me and I am blessed to have such talented people in my world.

2. Thank you Weston for spending time with Grandma. I love your smile and your head on my shoulder when you hug.

3. Thank you Bob for being my very special friend and partner.

4. Thank you for this wonderful season to share love and happiness with family and friends as I celebrate Jesus' birth.

5. Thank you for my love of learning.

Now - how about a quick five from you? It is so easy and it feels great!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


What a night and day! Weston came last night and we had such a good time. He went home this evening and the house seems way too quiet.

Bob made him a great house from the huge boxes from the TV. He was so impressed and he insisted I had to go inside with him. Now that was quite impressive as well! He is such a fun little person and keeps us in stitches. We watched "Finding Nemo" last night and "Ratatouille" today. It was like a vacation for us and we hated to see him go home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Started . . .

Miss Daisy finally got to go for a run yesterday and all is well. First I had to give her a spa treatment. Then, I loaded up that round robin quilt from a year ago and took off. I may be healed!

Also - there is some problem Blogger is having today with the photos on the top of the blogs. I hope it gets fixed soon - or not!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What to do...what to do?

As you know, I have been away most of the fall and my Miss Daisy (my A-1 quilting machine) has been covered since the first week in October. I have looked forward so much to getting home to do some quilting.

And now - I have lost my mojo! I can't make myself quilt anything. How do I get started again? I need some great motivation and inspiration.

There - I have said it out loud! Maybe that is the first step. Is there a "frozen quilter's anonymous" group somewhere I can join?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And more holiday fun . . .

We also have this wonderful picture of our Weston with Santa. He looks so like he is tolerating the adults in his world - and he does that with great patience most of the time. I would love to know what he is thinking.

Last night we had a wonderful evening. As Bob said when we finally turned out the lights at 11:30 pm, "It was worth the price just to have such a fun evening". What was the price? Well we met at Costco for some shopping before supper. We have looked and looked at a new big screen TV. Bob has wanted a replacement for our 12 year old workhorse for a couple months. And, to be honest, I thought we would probably keep looking for a few more months. The decision was made more difficult with words like "plasma" or "LCD" or "projection" - and then you get into "DLP" and "1080" and "the right size for your room" and on and one. I really thought it would be next year before we would make the "final decision".

But no - Bob decided to buy last night. Then we didn't have any way to get it home as it was too big for either SUV. So we called our neighbors who have a flatbed to see if we could make arrangements for the next day or so. They said, "Wait right there and we are on our way." So while we waited, we enjoyed a Costco "hot dog" supper. Our son, Stan, called and we told him and he offered to come help us unload it. So, we got back out here about 8:30 pm and not only did they unload it, but Stan had it up and running in minutes. And as we watched him connect it all and get the remote to run everything, we enjoyed great laughter and coffee with Bailey's. It was a wonderful party - the unplanned kind. Now to call the satellite folks to get HD.

We were both so excited when we finally went to bed that neither of us could sleep. Just like little kids - and inside we still are.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Love to remember . . .

Well, I talked with Meagan last night. She is almost 4 and has always had a mind of her own. We looked at the slippers and she wasn't as excited about them as I was so I realized, I should just get them for me. Here is a picture of Meagan with Santa. Would love to know what she is really thinking.

This time of year, I remember my own "little boys". You know, the ones who are now grown up and "Dad" is the name. I wish I had known more then. Here is a poem I love as I remember.

Children are Like Kites
You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground.
You run with them until you are both breathless.
They crash. They hit the rooftop.
You patch and comfort, adjust and teach.
You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday, they will fly.
Finally, they are airborne;
They need more string and you keep letting it out;
But with each twist of the ball of twine,
There is a sadness that goes with joy.
The kite becomes more distant and you know it won't be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you two together and will soar, free and alone.
Only then do you know that you did your job.

Erma Bombeck

Monday, December 10, 2007

Online Shopping . . .

First - thank you all for visiting the special interview with Ronda Beyer. It was fun to do and I am glad so many of you stopped to enjoy! And - a big thank you to Ronda!

I am doing some Christmas shopping online this morning. It is so exciting to get ready for the big celebration. We are heading to Portland in a couple weeks for some Christmas time with our grand daughter, Meagan, and her mom and dad.

Here is a slipper that captured my heart this morning. They are from Geisswein and these can be seen on "". What are your favorite online shopping places?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Awesome Artist - Ronda Beyer

This is the third in a series of interviews with very special quilting artists I know and love. You will enjoy reading a bit more about Ronda and her inspiration below. Be sure you also visit her blog and webshots with links at the end of this interview. What I share here is just the "tip of the iceburg" of her gorgeous qulting. This first picture is of Ronda (baby on the right) and her sister. Can't you just see that cute face with red hair and a wild, creative spirit!

When did you start quilting?
I began piecing/hand appliquéing when I was 18, handquilting when I was 19 and machine quilting when I was 44.

When did you know you had a special talent with color combinations and selection?
I have always had a good color sense. Mom used to say I came from a band of gypsies as I have always loved color, lots of it. I am asked to help put together quilt fabrics and colors whenever I am at my Mom's shop. Note: Ronda’s Mom, Jane, owns Jane’s Fabric Patch in Tillamook, OR.

What has been your biggest surprise as a quilter?
How freeing it is, it allows me to express the personality of a quilt. I was also amazed how quickly I picked it up. I was winning ribbons within 6 months of purchasing my longarm quilting machine.
Here is a picture of Ronda with "Stars for Arden", a special quilt she completed this year in honor of her brother.

When did you decide to design patterns and why?
I have always liked traditional quilts with a twist and loved medallion quilts and could not find anything that truly expressed what I loved, so I just started to create.
Ronda and her friend, Jill Kroll, have a pattern company, Pear Valley Designs and have published several of Ronda’s original quilt designs.

What would you like to do that you haven’t done related to your quilting art?
I want to do a wholecloth. That is what I originally thought I wanted to do when I purchased my own longarm machine. I thought I wanted to continue to work at my management job and quilt my own work.

Who was an inspiration to you?

My Grandma Gert and Mom are my biggest sources of inspiration. As far as longarm quilting, I would have to say Karen McTavish is my inspiration. Her work online is what pushed me into buying my first quilting machine.

What has been your favorite quilting project of all time?
This is easy; "It Ain't Easy Being Green" is by far my favorite. "Stars for Arden" was a very healing quilt for me and a gift of love and admiration to my brother.
Ronda’s “Spanish Rose” quilt is my personal favorite. Here it is hanging at the Northwest Quilting Expo in 2005 where it won “Best of Show”. She is widely known as being the quilter who does magic with bright greens. Below is a picture of her “Key Lime Pie”.

What would be your biggest thrill as a quilter?
This is a hard question because I think each quilt is a thrill, seeing them finished is always a wonderful feeling, leaving me wanting more. Of course winning Best of Show in Paducah or Houston would be fantastic!

Of what are you the most proud when you think of your quilting career?
"Stars for Arden" has to be my proudest hour to prove to the world that my brother who took his life is and was truly a “Star” even though he did not feel that way about himself.
The fact that I could use my creativity to honor his memory makes me happy and proud to be his sister.

What would you like others to know about you as a quilter that you don’t think anyone knows?
I am a firm believer that it is better to try something and fail than to do nothing in fear of not succeeding. I push all my friends and students to enter their work into shows. I like to inspire and motivate others.

You can see more of Ronda’s beautiful quilting at her Webshots albums. And be sure you visit her blog, Ronda's Creative Quilting, as she often posts pictures of work in progress.

Ronda has been featured several times in the machine quilting magazine, "Unlimited Possibilities" as well as in "On Track", the professional magazine for members of the International Machine Quilters Association.

Thank you, Ronda, for being an "Awesome Artist" and a special friend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Heading home . . .

Tomorrow is Thursday and I will be traveling all day from Laramie to Bozeman. The weather looks like it will be okay - some snow showers, but no blizzard warnings. It is almost 600 miles. I am going to be in Bozeman until the middle of January and I am so excited to look forward to being home to get ready for Christmas. Weston is going to come visit me on Friday morning and Friday night we have our first Christmas party.
So it is good-bye for a few weeks to "The Cottage". I love being here, but there is nothing like being home.
I have a couple pictures of the quilts in my new office that I thought I would share here. Everyone else is still unboxing things and just hanging a couple quilts makes my office look pretty spiffy. Or at least that is "the word from the halls."

Tonight (December 5) the family in "The Big House" (the main house in front of The Cottage) celebrated Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Eve) which is a Dutch celebration. I got to help out with the knock on the door and the tossing in of the pepernoten and then shared some Bishop's wine and other treats later. I did not know of this celebration so it was fun and filled with surprise. Do any of you celebrate this?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thank you all . . .

Thank you, Patricia Pressler. for letting me share about you and your wonderful work. And, thank all of you for stopping by and for the nice comments. I will be posting another "Awesome Artist" again next weekend and hope everyone will come back again.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It is Friday -

And I truly understand this week the meaning of TGIF - and give thanks that my special prayers to get me to the end of the week have been answered. I have had a real memorable cold - the kind where you end up looking like Rudoph from blowing your nose so much. I am in Laramie all weekend and I am going to stay in my comfy clothes and do whatever I want. I am going to sew and get more done on my quilt projects! And, I am going to take my "Tumbling Through Time" quilt to the local quilt shop to share as they asked if I would bring it in. This weekend is to nurture my artistic spirit. I wish you were all here!

I did a technology seminar today for some faculty. It was on making a podcast from creating and editing the audio to adding sound effects and music tracks to publishing it on a website. I also identified all of the resources available to faculty on the University of Wyoming campus and interviewed them to better understand how they might be able to help individual faculty with podcast projects. Now considering I didn't know any of this on Tuesday noon of this week, I have done a bunch. I feel pretty darn proud of myself that I could do it - between blowing my nose and sneezing - and can now help others with their projects as well as work on some of my own. It is really not part of my "Ed Leadership" job, but there are many here who remember me from when I worked for Apple, Inc. and they still think I must know "everything". LOL! If they only knew - some days, I can't even spell "everything".

Tomorrow I am posting another great interview with a quilting artist. I will give you a hint - this is another Montana quilt artist that many of you know. Please check back!

Now, I am going to get horizontal with a good book, a warm blankie and some hot chocolate. And my "kleenex" of course! And then - I am going to warm up a great relationship with my little Janome.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Got Milk?

I am back in Laramie - came back here late last night from meetings in the afternoon in Jackson. What a gorgeous drive! I decided to drive back rather than staying in Jackson so I could beat the new snow that was coming that way.

Here are a couple of really cute pictures of Weston. He stayed with us the night before Thanksgiving and you have to know his smile goes all the way through. He had just finished some milk for a bedtime snack and you can still see his "milk-stache" with the snack pack and his beloved "blankie". Thanksgiving was wonderful! Our family all gathered in Missoula with Mom and Dad. We are all blessed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Awesome Artists . . .

Peggy Holt - Quilting Artist . . . Part 2
The interview with Peggy Holt continues below.

What are some of your other "favorite" projects?
Another piece that comes to mind is Chocolate Box. This started from a published pattern that I eventually tweaked. It has a lot of intricate appliqué and hand piecing, both of which were new for me in such an ambitious project. It was 4 years in the making.

Hydro Flora is a piece that was inspired by a small study I made in a workshop with Laura Cater/Woods. It was a very difficult piece with over 100 individual pieces each requiring its own template. This small wall hanging was juried into International Quilt Festival, Chicago.

Probably my most important piece is Mad Cow Disease. This small wall hanging was made at a particularly difficult time in my life and is a testimony to my faith in God who is constant and gracious. It hangs in my studio to remind me of the source of my joy and strength.

Most of my quilts are studies in technique or in some way I challenge myself. I am always pleased when it actually works, and each quilt becomes important to me because of the triumphs or because of what I have learned.

Talk about one thing you would like to do with your quilting?
In my dreams, I am a well-respected, nationally recognized name in the industry. Not a big name like Nancy Crow perhaps, but just someone others have heard about. In reality, I would like my quilting to join all the other bodies of work that document the passing on of the craft from one generation to the next. I would love to think that my meager contribution to the craft would be found worthy of my being called a quilter.

Specifically, I want to continue to learn and grow in all aspects of the art, particularly through my art quilts. I hope that my body of work will show a respect and awe for those who have come before me and be an inspiration and source of knowledge for those who see it now or will see it a generation from now.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Every new project offers the opportunity to grow and learn. Every time, I just know that this is going to be the one that will be worthy of sending off to a national show. And every time, something goes awry that, in my judgment, makes it fall short. So in that respect, each quilt I make is a disappointment. And yet, every quilt has something that I have accomplished because I always set up a challenge with each new project. I am always so pleased when it works, even if not perfectly. So, each quilt I make is a success; each quilt is a disappointment.

Of what are you the most proud when you think of your quilting career?
I have had two quilts juried into national shows and I am very proud of that. But topping that: In 2006 I was a featured quilter at our Guild Show. It was such an honor to be recognized that way. I was very humbled by it.

And topping that: Our quilt show is every two years, and in 2004 a new award was instituted. It is named after one of the founders of our guild and a well-respected quilter. Geneva Chaffey was probably the most instrumental influence on dozens of us in the 80's. Unlike the people's choice awards, the Geneva Award is private, in-guild voting. Each member is given a ballot to vote for her one favorite quilt in the entire show of 500 quilts. It is to be based on originality, design, excellence in execution, and exemplary in all aspects of quilting. Three Geneva Awards are given each year; all of equal merit.

In 2004, Hydro Flora was one of the recipients. And in 2006, I was again honored to receive the award for Chocolate Box. Those two awards mean more to me than any national recognition. It is very humbling to see those ribbons in my studio.

If you would like to see more of Peggy's work, you can visit Longarm Chat. Peggy has some recent posts in the "Chit Chat" forum if you are a member and you can also see her wonderful quilting in her "Media Gallery".

The next Awesome Artist will be posted next Saturday. Please check back.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Awesome Artists . . .

Below is the first in my blog series of Awesome Artists. I have asked artist friends and family to participate in this series. I feel truly blessed they all agreed to be interviewed and let me post a few pictures of their wonderful work on my blog. This series is my way of celebrating their dedication to their art and thanking them for the inspiration they have provided to me and others.
Here is the first of the Awesome Artists.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting ready . . .

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and it is going to be a wonderful day filled with family and love.My Christmas cactus is blooming as usual this time of year. It blooms again about Easter time. It was started from a plant my aunt had when I was growing up. It is a direct connection to the love of generations.
We are having one of those weeks that help you remember what is really important and what we need to be grateful that we have.

Our furnace went out on Sunday before I got home and it has been cold and snowing. So I spent a couple days bringing in wood to keep the stove insert in our fireplace going while Bob worked and tracked down a new water circulating motor.

This morning, our hot water heater has "passed on". So, I will need to be creative about a shower and warm water for the cooking. I am cooking a turkey this evening and cutting off the meat. We then refrigerate it, put it in a cooler tomorrow morning for the 3 hour drive to Missoula and then put it back in the oven with a little broth to prepare it for dinner. I am also making crock pot mashed potatoes to take with us tomorrow as well.

Weston is coming this afternoon and staying overnight with us. He is riding with us in LilyB to Missoula and we will leave early, early. Stan and Rainy (Weston's mom and dad) are coming along later in the day. My sister and her family will be there as will my aunt Laura. We were going to stay over for a couple days, but we will probably head home tomorrow night in hopes of getting the hot water heater changed out on Friday. Things in older homes kind of "go out" in "threes" it seems. So, I am wondering what will go next. It won't matter - it is just a reminder that "life is what happens to you on your way to do what you planned".

I have some great interviews coming - had wanted to get them started today, but I want to wait for a couple days.

Give thanks and lots of hugs!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Home again . . .

. . . and it is snowing hard with more to come!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Busy days ahead . . .

My next few days are going to be busy ones so I am checking out for a few days. This is my to do list:

1. Set up new office today and haul up books and crap from the Cottage so I have a separate place to work.
2. Get materials ready for weekend class in Casper
3. Load LilyB (vehicle) with stuff for class in Casper, laundry, 2 projects in process, and fall clothes to take home - it is winter here now for sure.
4. Travel to Casper to teach on Friday (yikes that is tomorrow), Saturday and Sunday.
5. Teach the three days - it is our last weekend class for this course.
6. Drive home to Bozeman after class Sunday afternoon - 6+ hours
7. Catch up on hugs with Bob and Kassie and unload LilyB.
8. Have a "hospital day" on Monday. That is where I don't get dressed and don't do anything that I don't want to do.
9. Enjoy being home and with family until after Thanksgiving when I come back through Jackson Hole and spend a couple days. Somebody had to do it!

And - my first job when I get home is to make 2 new stockings this year for my Meagan and my Weston. Here is Meagan's from a couple years ago and it got ruined last year with water damage. So, I am going to hit my felted wool stash and get started. I want to get the stockings designed and put together before I head back here so I can work on the embellishment part here in Laramie. I am going to make Meagan's as much like it was as possible, only larger. I want to do Weston's like this as well, but embellish it with "boy" stuff and use green wool.

See you next week when I surface again. I am planning some exciting interviews for the next few weeks with wonderful quilting and fiber artists, a couple antique quilt collectors and a talented actress - all good friends and family. I am blessed! Please check back.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday . . .

I love Wednesdays - not sure why. Maybe it is the name of the day. It is such a big name compared to the rest of the week. It has always been my favorite day as it just seems smooth.

The movers have been moving offices all week and hopefully they will finish today. They are moving everything from the third floor of one building without an elevator to the third floor of another building with an elevator. And there must be a billion books that have to be moved from each office except mine. I wondered why they didn't use some kind of a boom lift. They have one sitting in the parking lot for a lighting project, but of course, it is from a different department at the university. They could just lift it up - put a whole bunch of the billion books in boxes on the boom from one fire escape, turn it around and unload them at the fire escape of the other building. But no, these guys are using hand trucks down all of the stairs. And complaining with each step about the billion books. And, they are so surpised that all of "this stuff" has to be hauled down these stairs. It's not like it all hasn't been on the third floor for many years and the stairs have been their just waiting. I learned a long time ago not to say a word when men are working. Just nod, smile, and duck out of the way quickly. LOL! I hope it is done today.

I now need to think of some nice things for my new office to make it comfy until spring. I am thinking of hanging a couple quilts that I can get when I come back after Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 13th . . .

I was 14 years old and living in a very small town in Montana. It was also Friday, the 13th, and there was a "Sadie Hawkins Dance". Maybe I was shy, but I know I didn't ask anyone to go with me. Only those who were "going steady" did that. It was semi-formal and I had what I thought was a "gorgeous" black lace dress with a full skirt. The bodice and underskirt were red taffeta. The fitted jacket was just lace with long sleeves. I felt so pretty! And - the one boy who I thought was most special asked me to dance over and over. Then he asked to take me home and he was a bit older and could drive. Now that was all strictly innocent in those days! Mom was at this dance as a chaperone and she had to give her okay. Taking a "girl home" was just that! You gave her a ride from the school to her home and walked her to her door. But that was the night of my "first kiss" and I have remembered it forever. We both went our separate ways in school and in life, but our paths still cross every now and then as friends and we both laugh at that time so long ago. I have always enjoyed November the 13th.

Did anything special happen to you on November the 13th or any Friday the 13th?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Football update . . .

The Montana State Bobcats won their game over Portland State in Portland. Our son goes to PSU so that is kind of a conflict, but we are glad they won. The Wyoming Cowboys lost big time to Utah in Utah.

And exhale I did . . .

I just spent the last two plus hours at the local quilt shop. It is really a great shop. Of course I had to buy a few things. Here are the pictures. I bought some more to go with the koi quilt - have a little different direction I want to go with it being as I didn't get the original idea finished in time for the Innovations challenge. And then I bought some for a new quilt I am going to work on based on a sketch I did. And everytime I get started piecing, something comes up and I have to put it on hold for a few days. It is a good thing I am loving this work because it sure cuts into my quilting time.

Also - I have a picture of Weston from last Monday when he visited me in Bozeman that I just had to share. Just look at that face, those eyelashes and that dark hair with the gentle curls. (you can click the picture to enlarge it) Sometimes I think he is two going on twenty-two.

Waiting to exhale . . .

I am glad to have a weekend to get caught up. It feels like I can just let out my breath and relax. It seems that this might be the last nice weather day we will have in this part of the country for a few months. It has been in the 60's here in Laramie this past week and it will be today. That is above normal and it has been wonderful. But, tomorrow it is going to cool down and there may be some snow heading this way. So, I am planning a big walk today.

We are moving our offices at work this week. The university has remodeled the third floor of the Education Building and the Ed Leadership department is all moving to that new area. It is really nice! I have been using a temporary office so far this semester that is not close to the rest of the department so I am really looking forward to the move. The down side is that I will be spending less time working here in "The Cottage" and I suspect I will have to get out of my jammies much earlier in the day. But, I love change so I am up for it!

I am enjoying the beginning of my self-designed quilt history project. I am doing some reading on how the Oregon Trail passed through Wyoming. The wagon trains came into Wyoming at Fort Laramie. That is not here in Laramie which I always thought it was. It is on the eastern border of Wyoming north of Cheyenne. You can click to enlarge the old map. Which makes total sense as they followed the Platte River and it tributaries to the Continental Divide at South Pass. I found the diary of Narcissa Whitman. She was (along with Eliza Spaulding) the first white woman to travel the Oregon Trail in 1836. Here is a link to her diary.

I am going to start a new blog on my quilt and fiber history related learning in a few days and I will post that when it is up and ready. I am really enjoying this journey.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Moving on . . .

I think a lot about change and moving on to the next place wherever that may be for me. I love stories of the Oregon Trail and how those people came across this vast prairie and these rugged mountains. Many went back and many stopped along the journey. Many died on the trail and many lost everything including loved ones as they struggled to reach their dreams. Those precious items carried along the trail and often lost or left behind included their completed and valued quilts as well as those in progress. The stories of those quilts and the women who loved them keep calling to me.

Here is a great site that tells more about the women of the Oregon Trail. It is found on the website for the "End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center" located near Portland, Oregon. I have also enjoyed reading the work of Judy Anne Johnson Breneman as represented on her website, Womenfolk , and from this page on pioneer women and their quilts. You will enjoy a visit through her writing.

So being as I am going to be here in Laramie off and on for the next several months, I have made the decision to focus my learning on the history of quilts starting with those connected to this part of the country. Of course, I am going to keep creating my own quilts and quilting, but those stories of all of those beloved quilts are calling me to listen. I will share some of my journey here from time to time.

One of the places I really enjoy visiting online is "The International Quilt Study Center" at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I have found the database an excellent source of pictures and information. You can get there by clicking the link, "The Quilts" on the left of their home page and then searching through their collections. I have been feeling a bit sad that I will not be able to go to a couple quilt shows this spring because of my teaching here. So, I have decided to make the journey through Nebraska from here to Lincoln in the spring when I am finished with my work here to visit the Quilt Study Center.

Maybe this will become my next "career". One thing for sure, I am always so grateful that I have the perseverance of the pioneer woman to keep "moving on". It is all about those good genes!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Grandmother . . .

My grandmother was Hannah Paulsen Jones. She died when my mother was a young girl, many years before I was born. I never knew either of my grandmothers. This year, the diary of my great grandmother from 1907 is being shared with many, many cousins each week through email by a 3rd or 4th cousin from Minnesota. And, another 3rd cousin is adding photos that she is collecting. It has been a wonderful year to get to know Grandma Hannah. Here are two pictures of her. The first one was taken about 1901 and she is the 2 year old at 6 o'clock. The older girls were the three oldest children in the Paulsen family and the younger girls were the three youngest. Between the two sets of three girls there were four Paulsen boys who were probably in a photo of their own. The second picture of those three youngest girls was taken a number of years later and she is in the middle. I feel so connected now to Grandma Hannah and I never even knew her. I am also very grateful that my great grandmother wrote a daily diary and we are able to share it 100 years later. That has inspired me to keep this journal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gratitude . . .

Tonight I got back to Laramie. I would like to share some thoughts about gratitude. Some days I like to just think about what I am grateful for and say "thank you". Here are some things I am grateful for about today.

1. I had a safe trip driving the 568 miles between Bozeman and Laramie.

2. I had great meetings with two grad students who are in the middle of internships so they can be school principals. It is so gratifying to know the future of schools and students will be in good hands wherever these two land.

3. I know what I want to do next year. I want work that I enjoy as much as this within daily commuting distance of home in Bozeman.

4. The cells are limited across Wyoming, but I did have a couple very interesting conversations with quilting buddies and I am glad they are understanding when the call just drops off into nowhere. "Can you hear me now?"

5. I learned that I can speak my mind clearly about strong feelings based on my own experiences and beliefs.

6. I made it back in time for "Dancing With The Stars" so I can see who doesn't get to come back. :(

7. I found a great shirt for Weston that says, "What happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's".

8. I am healthy, in love, and enjoying each day - those are things for which I am very grateful each day!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Deciding on the layout . . .

Here is another picture of the vintage six-pointed star quilt that I need to finish for a client and then quilt. I have been stumped as to how to get this into a rectangle. Here is the layout of the blocks as they are now. Each six-pointed star measures about 24 inches from star point to star point.

So I decided I will move the first one on the left in the second row to become the last one in the first row. I will then remove the last star on the right in the last row. I will then trim the quilt into a rectange that will measure about 84 x 72 for a finished quilt size. The customer wants the one on the left in the last row gone anyway, so this will work. This is what I am going to do to start. It feels good to have a place to start. I have not wanted to tackle this for several months.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lots of good stuff . . .

I got a fat, puffy envelope in the mail today from Gina. I won a prize by being the 10,000th visitor to her blog. Her blog is the prize and it is a wonderful, fun place to go every day. I opened the envelope and found this wonderful Presencia thread in gold and blue. I have wanted to try it so I loved getting it. She also included a wonderful quilter card. Thank you, DearGina!

It is so good to be home and spend time with Bob and the Weston. I visited him yesterday afternoon at his house for a few hours while his mom and dad were working. I went out to my car to get a camera and he decided he wanted to drive and talk on the phone. And then today, Bob and I picked him up after the football game (we lost - nothing more to say about that). We watched a bit of the Lion King and he talks continuously while he is watching. "Oh, no!" and then "Poor Simba" and on and on.

Yesterday we got Meagan's school picture through email. She was working on a smile. Last year she would not smile for anything and did not want to have her picture taken. So this year she really tried to work up a smile. I love the picture. She is going to be 4 in a few months. She is not too impressed with the school picture taking process. Smart girl!

An inspiration hit me to make a baby quilt. I want something to quilt tomorrow that will be forgiving and fun so I can "bond" again with Miss Daisy and love doing it. I had this pajama satin fabric that is lined with flannel and then found this cute fleece for the backing. So that is going to be my quilting project tomorrow.

I also have a customer project that I will take back to Laramie to finish some piecing on. It is this star quilt, all hand pieced, but it is not square. Whoever made it decades ago just kept adding the stars and it became a very long parallelogram. I am going to try to get it into a rectangular shape and then quilt it . I love working on these vintage pieces and will enjoy this if I can figure out how to get it into a rectange with 90 degree corners.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Home again, home again . . .

It is good to be home. It has been almost a month and that is too long!

Here is a cute picture of our little Elmo from last night. I guess he had a good Halloween even though he wasn't sure at first he wanted to be Elmo. I love his independent spirit!

I like my new "warrior woman" avatar so I am going to keep it for a few days to celebrate. It is in my Viking blood!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Needing a fabric fix . . .

I am needing to immerse myself in fabric and do some sewing. It seems there has not been enough time for that so I am anxious to have four days at home. If nothing else, I am going to just sit and "feel" my stash. LOL!

This piece is one of my current favorites. Everytime I look at it I see a different flower or pattern. I loved it when I bought it and I have had it for a while. I keep thinking it will talk to me about what it wants to be. Today, I heard it loud and clear. I will share that later. What piece from your stash is your favorite?

Verizon "opt out" info . . .

My Verizon wireless is my only phone here in Laramie and I found this very interesting. The info below was sent to me by my sis and I checked it out. You may have already received the notice, but wanted to call it to your attention. The notices were sent out a week or so ago.

Verizon Wireless is mailing a notice advising wireless subscribers that if they fail to Opt Out within 30 days, Verizon will begin SELLING their Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) to “third parties and affiliates”. CPNI information includes all the calls you place or receive on your cell phone (along with date, time and call duration). Verizon intends to allow “targeted ads” created by their affiliates sent to your phone. There's more details in the blog. The opt out number is 1-800-333-9956. If you have more than one phone on your plan, you have to opt out for each one.

I also did some sleuthing and here is a page from Verizon's policy blog - more info is in the comments following the entry.

I just called the number and it is easy to "opt out" with a robot person on the other end.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The week ahead . . .

Here it is noon on Sunday. Bob and Jesse just left and we had a wonderful weekend. Our Montana State University Bobcats lost - that wasn't so good, but we had fun going to the game. Our beloved Rockies lost, but we enjoyed watching the game at a great restaurant here in Laramie. So, win or lose, with my Bob here, it was a plus.

I have decided to try to do 4 days of work in 3 days. I am planning to head north on Friday and stop to visit with a couple students doing internships on the way through their towns. The weather looks "iffy" on Friday and it looks like Thursday will be a better travel day. I am going to work really hard to travel on Thursday to take advantage of that window of good weather that is in the forecast. Of course, it can always change which is common in the Northern Rockies about every 25 minutes.

I am anxious to get home for a few days. I miss my Bob already!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The boys will be here this weekend . . .

My Bob and our good friend, Jesse (guy in the green shirt), are coming to Laramie tonight for the weekend. The Montana State Bobcats play football at UNC in Greeley, CO on Saturday so we are all heading over there. The team is staying in Fort Collins so we will go down there tomorrow night to visit with the boosters and parents who travel with the team. My friend, Suzie from here at UWyo, is going with us to the game on Saturday in Greeley as she is a UNC alum. UWyo is playing UNLV here - another great game and I wish we could see them both. It is going to be an "A" weekend! I am kind of glad they are leaving on Sunday morning so I will have a day to get caught up with work - and rest!

I have everything we need for cranberry margaritas when they get in tonight. Of course I also have a crockpot of chili brewing. I have a great recipe for cranberry margaritas . . .
11⁄4 cups good tequila
11⁄4 cups frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1 cup canned, jellied cranberry sauce
10 T. lime juice or the juice from 5 limes.
6 T. Cointreau
I mix it all in a blender and then pour half out and blend each half with ice for blended, but you could pour over ice for on the rocks and rim the glasses with salt.

The iPod is a great addition to The Cottage. I can't believe I never had one. I also bought a little dock with speakers - very inexpensive - but it works to shuffle through the different songs. I then had to visit the iTunes store to download a bit of music. I have quite a variety here from Yo-Yo Ma to Willie Nelson with Aaron Copland in between. My spirit is soaring! Now to get my work done.

And - if you have had the strength to read this far - I am so sorry our Colorado Rockies did not play better last night, but I am still thrilled they are in the World Series!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elegant laundromat . . .

After being so empowered with my friend's hunting story, I decided I had to face the reality that I needed to do laundry. The Cottage does not have a washer and dryer so it was off to the laundromat. But this one is pretty special. I drove to Denver to Gail's house (2 and a half hour drive) and had a wonderful visit AND got my laundry done. As you can see this laundry has a nice "sitting room" and a wonderful view off the deck with a little snow still on the golf course from the weekend storm.

When I walked into her family room, she had the quilt "Centennial Sky" hanging on the wall. I lost my breath. We both worked on the quilt. She did the piecing and I did the quilting. These pictures do not do it justice to reflect how it looks in that room. I did a similar one for another friend as these are sister quilts from a Denver Shop Hop a couple years ago. But Centennial Sky has crystals and the light was so beautiful shining in from the huge windows that each crystal was on fire. It is a beautiful quilt - and stunning in that setting.

Of course we had to do some shopping. I found some great buys on dresses for my granddaughter which I will get in the mail today. I also bought my first iPod (classic) with a speaker setup so I can have music in The Cottage and do some podcasts for my courses. And I got a new Rowenta iron and heated mattress pad. I had to have the basics as well as music for my soul. It was a grand time at the "laundromat". Thank you to Gail and Jim.