I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday time. We are looking forward to a couple days with family here - fixing turkey with all the trimmings.
I was just sitting around thinking of the blessings and being thankful. I remembered this summer when the Portland kids were here. This is a photo we took the morning they were heading back home. Meagan is almost 9 now and Weston (on the left) is 7 and Walker is 3. It was fun to see them together.
And believe me - that little lady in the middle kept those two boys on the straight and narrow - much to the chagrin of Weston who is usually the boss.
I tried to get this done in time to share at our Art Group tonight, but I unstitched more in the past couple days than I stitched. But about 4 pm today I found myself on the right track. I am now anxious to get more time to work on it - but probably not until after Thanksgiving.
The Art Group meeting was fun - saw some great stuff from others.
Right after my last entry, the first part of July, my brother had a heart attack. My mom who is 91 lives here in Bozeman in her own condo since her move here last summer. My brothers illness really took a toll on her. My brother had surgery in mid-August to replace the titanium valve from several years ago as that was not working and he is doing fine now.
Mom continued to struggle during my brother's health issues and then her younger sister passed. Mom had been so vibrant, so independent and able. That suddenly that started to end, as it can, with memory loss, angry phone calls made that were not remembered, family conflict over issues that didn't exist, overtaking and undertaking prescriptions and continually wanting to move away. And we keep working on it.
In late July, we enjoyed a huge family reunion here at our house with lots of cousins. We ate "fried chicken" made memory of the Kimble family who all loved their friend chicken. My dad and his two sisters were the parents of the 75 "chicken-eatin'" relatives. It was a milestone for us all - lots of memories made and certainly worth the work. You can see some of the cousins in the photo above.
Our Scottish Terrior, Kassie, got sick right after the reunion and was soon diagnosed with bladder cancer, inoperable, and yesterday we said our final good-bye to her.
I always think about being on the Oregon Trail. You just keep heading "due west" through all kinds of good and bad and that is what we are doing. Today it seems like we have arrived somewhere - not sure where - but not a place of celebration. Just a destination. And then we will head out again.
I have continued with my studio work - including some art quilting, traditional quilting and design digitizing. I want to start a new blog focused on my art. I will post that here when I get it up.
I took some time off and now I am back. It has been a busy couple months, but all is well here.
We have had lots of celebrations, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, kiddo's soccer, some "granny nanny" days, planting flowers, visiting, kiddo's soccer, meals with friends and so it goes. Mom turned 91 in May and we had an open house for her. She is doing very well in her own condo here in Bozeman.
This past week, I have been doing lots of "cleaning out" in my studio area which is the area over the garage. There is a large storage area that we call the "eve storage", a bedroom, and my studio in the space over the garage. The entire space is about 900 square feet. The bedroom is filled to the brim with stuff - or at least it was. When Mom moved out of her house in Missoula 3 years ago, I brought her antique quilt collection here for safe keeping. She has about 50 antique quilts - some of them quite nice and some just representative of an era. She decided after her birthday that she no longer wants to do any more sewing or work with the quilts. So, I am moving them to the eve storage which meant I had to go through every thing in the storage area, empty it all out, haul stuff to the dump, to our new Goodwill, and lots and lots of books to the library for their annual book sale. But, the eve storage is now empty with shelves rearranged and I am starting to put things in there. I also have several boxes of her fabric - mostly wools as she never quilted, but did lots of beautiful sewing/tailoring of her own garments. And, I want to reclaim the extra bedroom as an office area. More on that later.
In the midst of that I have found some inspiration to play around with creating some "fabric sketches" for a challenge in our little art group. I dug through my scrap basket and pulled out little scraps of what I liked. That is the first picture above. Then I pressed them and started just sewing pieces together freeform and this is the first "sketch". It is 9" x 9" and I want to do some stitching on it now.
Tonight I made cookies for church tomorrow. I have found a church I like so much. I have been going now for almost a year when we are home and I always leave feeling so much love. Sometimes Bob and/or Mom go with me, but sometimes not. I am doing more and more volunteering there and it feels right. Mom gave me the cookie racks 'cause I bake so many cookies. I like it more than I thought I would.
So, it has been a good couple months - I have found time to be just me while enjoying special days.
I just need to be "Carol" - not wife, mother, daughter, grandmother - just "Carol". Do you know what I mean?
Today is one of those days of awareness. I need to just be me - all day - going to church alone - in my studio alone - happy alone. It is a gift and I am going to bask in it for today. The world out there is going to have to get along without me for today. And I know it will do fine - probably even prosper.
Bob had to work today at the Builders Exchange and came home a bit weary as he has a little cold going on. He wanted to stay home and rest and I wanted to head out so decided it would be a good night to take Mom out for a dinner out. We drove out to Willow Creek which is about 40 miles and had their ribs - the best ever. It was a great evening and we decided that it would be fun to do a "girls night out" on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. I am using lots of flexibility with the word "girls" here - but you know what I mean.
I got the coach unloaded, washing done and some work done in my studio today so I felt like a celebration was in order - and it was a fun evening.
I can't believe I haven't written a word in 3 weeks - what is up with that?
I will try to catch up in a hurry. We were still in Palm Springs area the last two weeks of March and had a great time. Met great new friends and "old" friends joined us as well. We did lots of sight seeing, visiting, shopping, and just enjoying the time. We left Palm Springs area a week ago today and came north through the high desert of California to Barstow and then through Las Vegas to St. George, Utah. We stayed a few days in the St. George area and loved our time there. We started home from there this past Thursday. After an unscheduled stop at a truck repair facility just south of Salt Lake City, we arrived home early last evening.
The little guys, Weston and Walker, were waiting to color some eggs and we had a fun family evening. Today we all went to church together and had a long brunch here at home. Nothing like hitting the ground running.
It is always good to get home, but I miss life in "Gus" as well. We will have a busy week as Bob is going to work at the Builders Exchange for a few days. I am going to get Gus unpacked, laundry caught up, and work on a quilting project that deserves to be finished.
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”
We are enjoying our time here in the Palm Springs area. We have shopped, done some site seeing, walked, eaten at some good places, and met lots of very nice people. Bob figured out how to get the dish hooked up for satellite TV. He brought a free dish with him and we brought one of the receivers from home. On one of the boards he follows, he found a neat stand to make and it all works. We are enjoying some of the "Road to the Final Four" games when we are around.
We like this RV park, but when it is windy in the area, it is very, very, very windy out here. Of course everyone says "it has never been this bad before". Could be. Today is cooler with a little drizzle now and then and some low hanging clouds. This is a picture from when we were heading out of the park this morning and there are lots and lots of the wind generators in this valley. That should have given us a clue that it might be a bit windy in this area, huh? We don't see them from our site in the park and the park is very nice, clean, well maintained and the lots are huge. Because most folks own their own lots, it has the feel of a neighborhood and everyone is really nice.
We have two other couples heading into the Palm Springs area at the end of next week and we will enjoy doing some things together although we are all staying in different places.
I hate to post without pictures, but we are still here in the Palm Springs area and really enjoying the weather and the surroundings. Bob has been doing some "nips and tucks' here and there on Gus just to keep him looking good. (Gus is the motor home - not the pool boy) He had him washed and waxed a couple days ago and repaired an awning that ripped in the windstorm on our way through Idaho a couple weeks ago. We will probably order a new awning when we get home. He built a stand for an dish for TV that he came across in Bozeman but then we found we left the remote for the receiver at home. It is going to get here the first part of the week in our mailbox coming from home. We had the pottie pedal break and he fixed that - he really enjoys all of the little projects. I keep wondering what we would do if he weren't so able to fix anything on this old Gus bus. We would just be living in the parking lot of a CW somewhere.
Me? I am doing only a litte - here and there - a little sewing - a little shopping - a little cooking. But - I am walking again every morning. That is a true blessing and give thanks. I must continue now to better health.
More later - and I will try to add some pictures of this pretty area.
Here we are in North Palm Springs which is - just like one would think - north of Palm Springs. We got in last night after lots of wind coming across the high desert, but we arrived in one piece and it looks like it is going to be a fun month. We did some exploring today - lots of great little shops, lots of places to hike, restaurant choices, shopping, visiting - it will keep us busy. It is quite a bit different than our special little paradise site at the state park in Arizona, but we will enjoy it as well.
This is the view from the front window of Gus this morning. The lots here are very large and have nice landscapping put in by the lot owners. The owner of the lot we are renting lives is in the Seattle area and they didn't come south this year due to the arrival of a first grandchild. The resort has all of the amenities - large heated pool, gatherings, games, and friendly residents. It is all good.
My brother, John and his wife, Ann, adopted a little rescue dog the day before we left the Parker area. His name is Charlie and he is a Lhasa Apso. They drove over to Phoenix to pick him up and had just returned when they stopped to introduce him to our Kassie. She was only impressed with the doggie treats that came out when he arrived to visit. They had a little guy like this before and have missed him so I hope Charlie will be the same kind of good friend to them. He is in need of a lot of TLC starting with a trip to the groomers and some good groceries, but that will all come. This is his "before" picture.
We arrived in the Parker, AZ area on Thursday and found our site at the Buckskin Mountain Park. We really like this spot - lots of room between RV's and everyone here is so friendly.
Last night we had hamburgers at my brother's who lives pretty close to us here. We celebrated his birthday which was a week ago and my Bob's birthday which is next week. Today we did a long day trip to Phoenix - the east side of Mesa actually - for the wedding of my brother's granddaughter. She was a gorgeous bride. The wedding and reception were outside. But it is a long drive over and back in one day.
Our friends from Helena, MT are also in the area and we met up with them for lunch yesterday. I think tomorrow is a stay at home day. We have not even had time to get to the grocery since we arrived. It is all good!!!
We had a beef delivered yesterday so had to wait for that. We split it with 3 other couples and the sharing turned into a wonderful gathering of family and good friends - so we were late getting everything finished this morning, but we are on the road.
We are in Idaho Falls tonight - nice RV park - good neighbors from Canada who are heading home - hot soup and hook-ups. Not a bad way to go after a long, hard day.
It was a great time - but God knows what he is doing when he gives them to the young.
Weston and Walker were here this weekend. They came yesterday morning and stayed until this evening. We love having them come to visit. We had a Target shopping spree for Valentine treats and a fun supper out at Wendy's last night. We had their favorite waffles this morning, made valentine buttons, mini donut pops, learned to make videos and Weston did a great job "doing the news" on a little video he made. And, Walker got in a little nap and woke up sick so there was a lot of unplanned washing. Tonight we made a big "make your own" taco/nacho supper in the evening and had everyone here to end the day. As soon as everyone was out the door, Bob and I put up our feet and let out a big sigh - good memories from every minute.
But, I am not far from bed and it is just 8 pm. We are so blessed.
The last piece of the "remodel" arrived. The stools came yesterday and they look good. They are a bit redder in color than the cupboards, but I like them fine. It has been 9 months since we first identified the water leak and black mold from the dishwasher leak and this is the last part so it feels good. And the time it has taken is probably the main reason I like them just fine!
If the color had been off a bit 6 months ago, I would have cared, but I love the way time evens out what is really important.
Monday I took Mom to Missoula to visit with some of her friends and for a meeting with her accountant since it is tax time. We stayed overnight and came home yesterday. When I got home last night, the new fireplace insert was finally installed. It was "just in time" as we woke this morning to no electricity and 8 degrees. Of course we soon had the power company here and within a couple hours they had the problem fixed. At first they thought they were going to have to dig and replace a bad section of the cable that is buried from the road. However, they found it was a bad connection in the transformer so that was good news and a much quicker fix. But the fireplace insert sure kept this part of the house toasty. I think we will love it.
I am finally feeling human. I ventured out today and picked up Mom to do a little grocery shopping. The coughing is less and I only had one "coughing fit" in the store. After several days of being down, it is feeling good to be up and around.
Here is a picture of the stitchout I did of the border design. I still have some tweaking to do to make it as nice as I would like, but I was pleased with how it looks. I would certainly use it on a quilt and have lots of ideas on how to use this method for similar designs.
Weather here continues to be really nice for winter in Montana.
I came home with some kind of crud - well I probably went with it and it just didn't bloom until I got back home. I have been coughing, coughing, coughing. You know the way that goes - your stomach and ribs hurt and it feels like I could have a an accident if I were very far from the bathroom. I am glad I am home. I think it is the mucinex - but it is getting all that bad stuff out of there.
Here is what I worked on today. . . I wanted to try to find a way to digitize the beadboard border above and below a design in a border. The lower picture is of a border I did like that shortly after I got my IQ. I used my IQ for one run of the panto, Waterworld and then did the beadboard manually.
This is my first effort at seeing if I can digitize this type of design so it will be repeatable for a border. This one might work, but I have a lot of refining to do. I was just glad to get it to run from left to right and have the start and stop point end on the same plane.
I will try to do some stitching out tomorrow with Hoke.
Here are a couple photos from the workshop. This first one shows Loes and Theo on the left. They are the creators of the digitizing software "Art and Stitch". They are from Amsterdam and come over to do major shows and often have retreats during their stay here. They will be heading home in a few days and plan to return to the U.S. in June.
To the right of Theo is Sharon Schamber and her husband, Gene. That gorgeous quilt in the foreground is one of Sharon's recent prize winning quilts. It was quite an experience to actually have time to study her work and hear her comments and answer questions. Gene is a great supporter of her work and creativity as well as a darn good cook. He fixed us a fantastic chicken stew lunch one of the days we were there.
Sharon also shared her thoughts of the FriXion pens - she uses them. She is clear that one must use a strong shot of steam from a hot iron to force the jel into the batting so it will not reappear as a brown ghost even in cold temperatures. I will try them again. She also talked a bit about thread. She has so much knowledge in e very area of design, construction and quilting that it is overwhelming. I hope to take another class from her.
The second photo is of one of the projects we completed as we learned to better use the software with the most recent new features. This is "Crazy Bird" and we were to take a very simple outline and add to it whatever we wanted from our own designs or from the large library. This is the image of the actual digitized file and I plan to see how it will stitch out tomorrow.
Now, I am working on several new motifs of my own and hope to have several done in the next 2 or 3 weeks. It is so much fun - and it was an amazing time with very creative people.
I just came home this evening after spending the last few days in Payson, AZ. The Art and Stitch crew had a retreat there and it was held at Sharon Schamber's studio. Sharon taught one day on background fills and what to keep in mind when we design, digitize and quilt our own designs. We also got to see her latest quilt and a wonderful trunk show of many of her winning quilts from the past few years.
That first day was then followed by two fantastic days with Theo and Loes from Art and Stitch. They showed us the latest additions to the software as well as worked with us to create our own designs.
It was an amazing experience shared with 14 other wonderful quilters from various parts of the U.S. and Canada. I will try to share more once I get to feeling better (came home with a cold) and get some sleep. We left Payson this morning at 5 am to drive to the airport in Phoenix and it has been a long day.
That is my motto - and I will keep working toward getting something posted that is quilt/fiber related each day. I am not giving up - thank you, Winston Churchill for those ringing words related to a much more important need.
Have you picked up and read the recent issue of Quilters Newsletter? I like this magazine, but this current issues is one of the best. The cover quilt was a partnership by Gail Stepanek and Ronda Beyer. It has won lots of ribbons and cash and they have a nice article inside. There are other great winning quilt pictures and more articles about how quilters have worked on their own dreams to find success.
And here is a good reason to not get much sewing and blogging done this week. This is Walker, 2 and a half, watching his favorite "Little Einsteins". He was here to visit one day this week. He has come to visit a couple days a week since September when his mom went back to work. He is now going to start at a pre-school after next week. We are having feelings of loss mixed with knowing it is time. On Tuesdays, his brother, Weston, has also come out after school and we would all have dinner together before taking them both home. We have sure enjoyed them and will miss these times, but we are getting ready to head south so the timing is right.
Today I did some cleaning in my studio to tidy my nest and make it more cozy so I will want to spend more time there. Once that was done, I determined it was time to get this zipper in Weston's coat. He has other winter coats, but this one is his favorite for skiing and he is off to ski tomorrow. I have been putting it aside for a month now. See that bright shiney brass colored metal zipper? It was not easy, but it is in there, sturdy and replaces the plastic ones so often in little boys coats that last for 2 wearings.
So, I will keep trying to add a picture and a few words about my fiber/sewing/quilting journey each day.
I have sure enjoyed the first two weeks of 2012, but I haven't done any blogging about it, huh? I am going to make a real effort to post a picture of something fiber-quilty-sewing related each day. Now, I won't make a promise, because you know how I am. Sometimes when I am having fun, I get involved and forget all about blogging. But I am going to try.
Here is a quilt I just finished for my good friend in Denver. It is a wall hanging and she was in no hurry so it has been on and off the table several times in the past few months. Finally I had to get it finished so she could hang it in her dining room. She completed a remodel a little over a year ago and this is a piece she did for that. We worked on it together when she was up here for a week of sewing. We have laughed off and on for the past few months - she might remodel again before the piece gets quilted. Her life is as busy and fun as mine so it hasn't been a problem, but I am sure glad it is done and she likes it a lot.
We had a quiet day at home after a fun night at the neighbors to see in the new year.
So what do I want to focus on this new year? I don't make "resolutions" - but I do like words that guide me. This year I am going to work more on "focus" - focus on those things that really matter to me - family, friends, fiber art, health, blessings, and joy.