Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some days are just too big . . .

Every so often a day comes along in life that is just too big and today was one of those days. It is my birthday so I woke early at 5 am to do some sewing in my studio. Mom has been here for a few days and with Easter activities, sewing has taken a back seat. I wanted to get a few things done before heading off to our Breakfast Club group that is so much fun.

After getting back from the sewing about noon, we had lunch and then went to visit a cousin here who Mom wanted to see before heading back to Missoula tomorrow. Mom saw a condo next door to their place that was for sale and decided she wants to look for a condo here in Bozeman - hmmm - so we called a realtor and went through some possibilities. We will do some more looking tomorrow - the trip back to Missoula is put off for a day or two.

Then it was off to birthday supper with Stan, Rainy, Weston and Walker and just as we were leaving, the phone rang and our friends from Australia were on their way here in their motorhome. We met them in Flagstaff. They are taking a year to tour the USA with their 3 young sons and have been in West Yellowstone in the snow and decided to head this way. Bob felt he had best stay and help them into the drive and get parked and hooked up.

Mom and I went in for our supper. As we were leaving the supper place to all come out here for cake and ice cream with the grands, Bob called to say the motorhome was stuck as they were turning into the drive and a wrecker had been called, but we would not be able to get in. So we went to Stan and Rainy's and about an hour later we came home to find all was well.

After a fun visit, some more birthday cake and ice cream here, everyone is ready for bed. It is all good! And, I have so many blessings, but it has been a big day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

lots of love . . .

Easter is always about family love and this one is no exception.

I have some pictures from the past couple days and I will post a few here. We had fun dyeing Easter eggs yesterday. First we did the regular coloring kind with the tablets in water, crayons and stickers with Weston and Walker. Rainy helped and we had lots of fun.

Then the "big girls" decided to color our own eggs. I had read about wrapping silk ties around the egg and then boiling them in water with vinegar. We gave it a try and even though we were doubtful that we would get much, we were pleasantly surprised. Next year we will do more and we know now to spend a bit more time getting the silk ties wrapped more carefully around the eggs if we want more distinct patterning. But we thought we did fine for the first time and these were very pretty eggs.

This morning we had brunch here. Well, first we had a little egg hunt for Weston and Walker. Then we enjoyed ham, great quiche, cheese potatoes, a fresh fruit plate, waffles with strawberries and whipped cream - and a couple brunch desserts. The special strawberry pie was amazing. The filling is cream cheese and whipped cream. That big KitchenAid mixer is great for making whipped cream. The orange cranberry bread with orange glaze was right there as well. It was a wonderful Easter with all of the love, joy and thankfulness that comes with this magnificent celebration.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This is quick . . .

Just a quick note about yesterday and today . . .

• Bob and I did our Senior Grocery deliveries yesterday. We had one elderly lady pass out while we were there and so we called her family and waited a bit after she came around until her niece arrived. Then we a few stops later, a lady who has had multiple brain operations had a amall seizure type attack - stayed with her until she was better. I am glad we do it, but I am so saddened by the living conditions of some of these folks. Bob and I always talk on the way home about how blessed we are to have each other and our health. We were pretty quiet for the rest of the day - I need to do more.

• Got up early today to 6 inches more snow and yucky roads. I picked up Weston and we headed west for the 200 miles drive to Missoula to pick up my mom. The bad roads didn't last more than 20 miles out of Bozeman - in fact 20 miles west of here there was not snow at all. Once we were in Missoula, we had a great lunch at Wendy's (have you tried their apple, pecan, walnut salad - half size?), shopped at Michael's and Target and started home. Those are both favorite stores for Weston. We came home through Helena (adds about 12 miles to the trip but some different scenery) so we could scope out some sites for a birthday celebration for Mom this summer - it is her 90th. Weston also got to ride and ride and ride the carousel in Helena. We got home her about 8.

• We had a nice visit from our neighbors when they got home to pick up their mail after having been gone for a few days. We do that for each other out here in the country. Rainy came to pick up Weston and we had a little party - well it was decaf coffee, a little Irish cream and lots of laughter.

• I am now off to bed - it is 11 pm. A good day!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday - my very favorite day . . .

I love Wednesday - just like the way the word sounds. And - it is in the middle of the week so I am past the hard part of the first two days of work and yet there are two days left to get everything needed done. That is how I used to think when I worked! But, I still like Wednesday!

Fiber and Fun . . . I have been working off and on on this little table topper for Breakfast Club. It was to have a solid black border and the black floral binding. When I was at the quilt shop on Monday - the one where we have Breakfast Club - I saw this wonderful fabric with the teacups. I just fell in love. I had no idea what to do with it, but I bought a yard thinking I might make 4 placemats to go with the little table topper. Then when I got home, it seemed to want to be a border on the table topper. So a border it is! I had to figure out how to turn the corner with the cups. They are actually even, but in the closeup the quilt is hanging and it looks wavy. The background of the cups is a soft polka dot. I think this will be really cute when it is quilted. The floral also hanging over the table rail is what I am going to use for the back and I think it needs red binding. Breakfast Club is next Tuesday and I would like to have it quilted, but that is not going to be. I want to do some custom quilting with metallic gold thread so I will wait until after Easter when I have time and won't feel rushed. I will work on something else - loving my studio time just making fun stuff.

Family . . . I am heading to Missoula early Friday to gather up Mom and bring her back for Easter with us all here. Weston is going along. We will come back through Helena where there is a carousel he loves to ride. It is a little longer (12 miles and not all interstate). We will also look at some possible venues for Mom's 90th birthday celebration in July. Her actual birthday is next month, but she wants to wait until my sister can be here from Arizona and that means July. It works for me! Someone mentioned having it in Helena - she lived there and taught school there for many years before they moved to Missoula after retirement. She kind of liked the idea so we will go in that direction.

Friends . . . Had two surprise phone visits today with good friends. . . always a special blessing. It is fun to catch up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It did snow . . .

This is what we woke to this morning - tried to take the picture in the same place as yesterday when the snow wasn't get "sticking". I think we ended up with a bit over 6 inches It has been very coo all day and it is supposed to get really cold overnight as it has cleared off.

I went to our art group gathering tonight. It is a group that comes together once a month and some share work they have done. . . some don't. I rarely share anything, but I do enjoy seeing the work of others. Tonight we did have a good, but rare, discussion about what we could do in the future to have a few work sessions. It will be interesting to see where that goes. As in all quilt groups that I have known there are a few who are very outspoken and maybe not real flexible - and they seem to set the direction of the group. The rest of us just show up and mostly keep our mouths shut. Once a year or so the group does have a show and this spring there will be a showing of some of the work at the Pioneer Museum. It should be a good show. I had thought I would show the small wall hanging of heavy quilting I did just before Christmas, but it doesn't feel right to show it so I have decided not to - not the right fit for this show.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Snowy springtime . . .

Great big snow flakes have drifted down off and on all day. There may be a couple inches by morning and it will continue off and on tomorrow. The mountains will see more. As you can see, the grass has just started to green, but there will be no leaves on those trees for another couple weeks at the least. It is colder than normal.

I have been writing my blog in segments to see if the subtitle still fits. I have not had anything related to the "food" part yet - but that might come. I want to continue with the segments for a while.

Fiber . . . I did a quick visit to day to 4 quilt shops. I want to start doing more customer quilting again as I haven't done much for the past couple years. I actually didn't ever plan to take new customers again. I kept quilting for a few customers I had had for quite a few years. But, I have had some new customers come my way recently. When I took this finished table runner to our Breakfast Club quilting group where we started them, I had several requests for quilting. I did quilt one other members table runner and it was well received. I have given it some thought and I have come to realize that I have thoroughly enjoyed quilting for customers again. So I am off again to get a few more new customers.

I am trying two things to see if I can bring in some new customers. The first thing I am doing is to personally hand out a special business card that is specific for 20% off "edge to edge" quilting. This ends on June 30th. I will pass these out next week at Breakfast Club and I have given them to a few previous customers. The second thing I am doing is to revisit a couple local quilt shops and let them know that I am in the business for new business again. I gave each of them a little card worth one free quilting on a sample/display quilt to be used in the shop. I will see what happens from that. I enjoy quilting and I particularly like quilting shop samples as the quality is very good and the patterns/fabric are current and fun. And, it is a way to help out our local shops where things are not quite so economically flush.

Friends . . . Today I returned the quilt I showed yesterday. She is a new quilter and we were very good friends 35 years ago while in graduate school. I was a young, divorced mother with two young sons. Last night I was awake in the middle of the night for some time struggling with the thinking that I wished I could have provided my boys with a more stable growing up environment. Today, as this quilter/friend and I were reminiscing about those days long past, she said, "You were such a dedicated, loving mother to those boys." Without even thinking, tears just rolled down my cheeks. It was such good medicine after a sleepless night. No coincidence - but rather a special blessing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Low and slow . . .

When I am tired - or at least think I am tired, I like to "fly low and slow" - that was the way it was today.

Fiber . . . I finally got my April block done for the online group block of the month. These are all batiks in various reds, a couple blacks, light pink, and oranges. I really like them. I am not sure how many I will get done - these three might be it and they would make a nice table runner, huh? We started in February so the second picture shows the three blocks together.

Friends . . . When we were in Flagstaff on our way home a couple weeks ago, we met a wonderful family from Australia. They flew over to the west coast, purchased a motorhome with a tow behind car and are spending most of a year touring the USA. They have three young boys - twins who are 7 and a 9 year old. We invited them to come see us as Yellowstone Park was on their "must see" list and we so close to the park. Today they called and will be here sometime this week. We hope they will stay and celebrate Easter with us here. I did tell them that there is still a lot of snow in the park, but at least some of the roads are open. I am not sure they are prepared for spring in Montana.

Family . . . I am going to Missoula later this week to pick up Mom and bring her back with us to enjoy Easter together. We will have a brunch here with an egg hunt for the little guys.

Fun . . . I watched a few basketball games in the past couple days as it is the start of the NBA playoffs. I have a couple favorite teams and if I don't watch during these first games, they may be gone. I enjoy watching San Antonio, Denver, Portland, and Boston - so I will see how far they all manage to get. All of the games that I watched were really good ones.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wonderful day . . .

Fiber . . . First off, I finished my first pantograph design using the software "Art and Stitch". I tested it yesterday on some muslin and made some adjustments so it would stitch smoothly. Today I used it on a new customer's quilt. She made this sampler in a class at one of our local shops and she wanted it quilted so it would be "soft" and not very much quilting with thread that "really blends". I think this looks good and I hope she will like it. She and I were graduate students together over 30 years ago. She retired a few years ago as well, but she just started quilting.

Family . . . Fun . . . Food . . . This evening we went to Stan and Rainy's for a yummy supper. Rainy fixed the best baked chicken with brocolli and couscous. She has a wonderful caprese salad and for dessert she had black bean brownies with ice cream. It was all wonderful and very Weight Watchers friendly. The purpose of the evening was to celebrate Bob's birthday which was really in March while we were in Arizona. It was a really special evening with very special loved ones.

Friends . . . And then a major "ah-ha" for me this morning. Friendship should not be so hard! If it is hard work to be a friend, then it is not meant to be. Sometimes when you meet someone, things seem to really click with humor and common interests. And then, it seems I end up doing all of the work to maintain the "friendship". Today, I finally realized that I just plain try too hard and true friendship should not be so hard. Good friends are a blessing and a gift. But, I must remember that not all situational acquaintances are meant to become true friends. They may be enjoyable and even inspirational - but should be enjoyed for the moment and then let go into the wind. Life just got so much simpler!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Whew . . .

Where does the time go? And why is every minute of it so much fun? I feel like a teenager in the summer.

Well - I guess life is good, huh?

I have been in the deep end with my quilting and grandkids for the past week since we got back. I love time with the little guys and when they are not here, then I am in my studio or meeting with customers and getting around to the quilt shops to let them know I am back. Life is good for sure!

I have been doing quite a lot of digitizing and testing patterns. It is so much fun, but now I need to get a couple customer quilts done. Pictures later - promise!

If you need - or want - anything digitized, just let me know. I am using Art and Stitch and can save in any quilting or embroidery format.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

home again . . .

We got home this afternoon. We enjoyed our time visiting the area around the Grand Canyon and a couple days in southern Utah where we connected with some good friends who had also been in Arizona and were on their way home.

After a quick trip to the post office, I stopped and picked up my Weston and Walker for a fun few hours. We did a little shopping . . . a little supper . . . lots of laughs and some great hugs.

It is good to be home. But the memories of the past 6 weeks are luscious!

Off to enjoy more wonderful moments.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Still on the move - a little . . .

We are moving north - slowly - and we are still in Arizona. We came up to Flagstaff yesterday. We are in a nice campground so we took off with the jeep today and drove the loop to see the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I had not ever seen the Grand Canyon and I was so humbled that I started to cry. So much emotion about how little we really matter.

Our time in the Mesa/Chandler area was wonderful. We were on the run every day visiting with friends - old and new - and seeing lots of sites.

But, that hectic pace and two days of traveling have caused us to say, "What is the hurry?". We really don't have to be home on any certain day so we might just hang out here for a bit longer.