Friday, February 25, 2011

Everett Samuel Merkel

I had so counted on this being a happy, excited entry in my blog. I don't think I'm ready to say much more than to quote the two things my precious daughter has already posted. First this, on Wednesday, February 23rd:
Thank you all so much for your sweet words and prayers. Everett Samuel Merkel was stillborn this afternoon at 1:40. He weighs 6 pounds 8 ounces, and is 19 inches long. While we don't understand why this happened, Jason and I trust that God is good, and His thoughts and plans for us are for our good and His glory. We continue to covet your prayers.
And then this, yesterday evening:
The outpouring of prayers and love for our family has truly been overwhelming. While I haven't been able to respond personally to each comment and message, know that your words have been a blessing in our time of grief. Our sorrow is Everett's joy, and we rejoice in the knowledge that we will be reunited with him because of God's sacrifice of His own Son. Praise God!
And while I am heartbroken for my darling girl and her husband -- who has been her pillar and comfort, even in his own grief -- I am also amazed and encouraged by their strength and courage. It is comforting to see that in their sorrow, there is also joy. God is good.

Everett will always be loved.

And that is worth my smile.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

cribbage . . .

No, I'm not talking baby cribs, I'm talking about the board game, cribbage! I received a wonderful - surprise - gift in the mail over the weekend. A cribbage board carved from elk antler!

It's really quite stunning -- the photos don't do it justice.

My great uncle carves the boards out of antlers he's found, walking in the woods of Montana, his home state. He'd made my dad one, which I had the pleasure of playing on when I visited for my folk's 50th anniversary. I e-mailed my great uncle (who we lovingly call "Great Grand") and asked if it might be possible to get one of these beautiful creations. He wasn't sure he was going to be able to find the antler to do it, so I figured it probably wouldn't happen.

But I was WRONG! When I went to the post office Saturday morning, I knew we had a package waiting -- I just thought it was something Todd had ordered. Todd thought it was something he'd ordered. Then I was handed this box, with *my* name on it, and it had a MONTANA return address, and I almost couldn't make it to the car before opening it up!

And he even put my initials on the board. I'm just so tickled! Joc came over yesterday to relieve the monotony of still being pregnant, and I taught her to play. We'll be holding a cribbage tournament, no doubt, when my family heads up here next month! Whoohoo!

I'm so touched by this gift. Cribbage, anyone?!?


Monday, February 21, 2011

bear/bare design wall . . .

Umm, yes. I do know the difference between bear and bare! But my design wall/board/table is b-a-r-e because I'm working on a b-e-a-r!

Who knew that a pile of faux fur . . .

Could be turned into something as adorable and snuggly as this darling American Teddy Bear?!?

Can you not just see this handsome fellow in the woods, making his way towards the teddy bear picnic?

So Saturday I took part 1 of the teddy bear workshop our quilt guild was offering. The woman leading the workshop has made hundreds of these darling critters, and was happy to share her expertise *and* her fur!

I picked two -- the blond and a very dark, dark brown. Because the brown had short hair, I picked it to work with first. The longer hair looked daunting to me, but in retrospect, because of the way you are supposed to cut, I think the longer hair would have been easier.

Our job Saturday was to cut it out, pin it together, and watch her demonstrate sewing the pieces together. Our homework is to sew the pieces together and turn them right-side-out.

She also gave us the hardware that we'll use at the next workshop to put his pieces together. We'll also put on his eyes and nose.

Aren't they darling? And of course I had to make two!!!

But this is really what I should be working on . . .

Turn in date comes quickly -- I'd hate to have to use my "Oops" card this early in the game!

Enjoying the day off? Well then you must take time to browse on over to Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times to see what else is going on in the quilting world today! So many talented people out there working on quilt projects!

Tonight, I'm headed to the first meeting of a ladies book club at our church, Lighthouse Baptist. We are reading, Dinner With a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory. It's a great read, and if you're a Kindle user, it was only 99¢!

Have a great day -- I'm waiting on Everett Samuel to decide to make his appearance. We're hoping for a "fair of face" or "full of grace" baby!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

quilt, by gayle thomas

Our guild had a stitch-in last night and today, and during today's, they held a 2-part workshop on making teddy bears. And I took it! I'll share more about it, with pictures of my first bear in progress, tomorrow.

Today, however, I am sharing with you this awesome short film on quilting. It's on the blog. Very inspired and well-worth the view -- it's full of modern and traditional methods of quilting, kaleidoscoped into beautiful eye-candy. Even if you're not a quilter, it's fascinating to watch, and well set to some toe-tapping tunes!

Oh, and ps: Godiva strawberry truffles? YUM!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

what's in a name . . .

Grandmother is the formal term, but through the years, hundreds of adaptations have found their way into the mouths of babes. From 'Granny' to 'Bibi' to 'Mimsy' and back again; the possibilities are endless.

I have a friend whose children call her mom, their grandma, "Sweetie." The reason is not because that's what they were told to call her, but it's because that's what they always heard their grandpa call her. They thought that was her name! Aside from being a darling, darling grandma-name, it's quite a testimony to their grandpa, as well!

I was the first grandchild to both sets of my grandparents. Lots of times, the first grandchild sets the pace. I called my mom's folks "Grandma & Grandpa" and my dad's folks, "Grandma Willie & Pop pop." Naturally, all the siblings and cousins that followed, followed suit. Of course, that's what I was *taught* to call them.

Sometimes, no matter what you've tried to teach your babies, they say what they want to say. I'm sure that's how tags like "Mawmaw" and "Meemaw" and "Gramma" and "Nana" possibly came about.

Sometimes Grandmas have preferences . . . for example, I know one grandma who goes by "Gigi". But in her mind, that's G.G. for Gorgeous Grandma!

Anyway, all this grandma talk because, well . . . I am one. And about to be again! And therein lies the crux. Sawyer is the firstborn, and is well on his way to talking, and he will set the names for each one of his grandparents! And since he's got a couple of each, as will Everett, I got to thinking . . .

Wouldn't it be nice to have one of those grandma names that is just unique to me?

So I started playing around with names . . .

Grandma Denise (mouthful)
Grandma Neese
Grandma Neesey

So, provided Sawyer goes for it, Todd and I will be Paw-paw and Neesey.

Neesey. It's just who I am!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

future magician . . .

Hocus pocus, abra cadabra . . .

Sawyer's the Harry Houdini of pacifiers!


Monday, February 14, 2011

I left my heart . . .

. . . on the kitchen table.

Or at least, I left my little mug rug heart on the table!

I was being very quiet yesterday. Todd wasn't feeling well (he caught what I had earlier in the week), and so I was trying to do things that made no noise. I was on the computer, reading blogs and web surfing . . . and finally got tired of looking at other people's projects and decided to make one of my own! Especially since I took the Christmas stuff down and don't have much in the way of Valentine's Day decorations. I needed to make a heart . . .

It's a perfect fit!

My design wall is a bust. I was going to work on my next BOM yesterday, but I wanted to tidy up my quilting space first. I decided that was too noisy a venture, so the BOM will have to wait. However, lots and lots of busy bees have beautiful designs walls just waiting for you to check out over at Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 11, 2011

gorgeous finish . . .

This week may have started out on the rough side,
but thanks to my darling man,
it sure finished on a gorgeous note!

Isn't it sweet? I love flowers delivered at work!

I ♥ him!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

my last 24 hours . . .


stomach virus




the end.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

owl finish . . .

I took optimum advantage of being laid up yesterday. The benefits?

My knee feels much better . . . and Everett's Owl Quilt! is finished! Labeled and everything!

The binding went on nicely -- you'd have never known I had trouble with two of my four corners! Thank goodness for that.

All in all, I think it looks fun, and it will be a wonderful finishing touch to all the darling nursery!

Tomorrow night Todd & I are meeting Joc & Jason for dinner. I'll bring this to her so she can put it up. She's due ONE WEEK from today! Oh gracious!!!

And since I had been holding off doing any other project until the nursery project was *completely* finished, when the last stitch was in on the label, I went straight to my orange & purple BOM and sashed it off . . .

I LOVE this orange!

I'll square these off at 12", but not until I've quilted each of the sixteen squares. I'll back & bat these soon, so I can go ahead and quilt them. And my timing is great -- I have to take these to Patches & Stitches on Friday to pick up my next two. And I got a sneak peak -- they're flying geese. Yikes!

Owl-in-owl, I'd say it was a good day!


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

baby to toddler . . .

I can hardly believe this darling, precious little guy will turn ONE YEAR OLD next month! Where has this last year gone?! Certainly, though, for as quickly as it's passed for me, Sawyer has grown in leaps and bounds, and is definitely moving into the toddler realm!

I'm not sure what had caught his fascination up there, but I do adore his little profile!

He's about to bounce out of his swing -- but he still loves it so. He's gets so excited and I love to watch him dance, twirl, and jump, and to listen to him laugh and "talk" while he's at it!

There were a few quiet moments (not just his nap times) yesterday. He will sit with a book and page through it for quite a while. He likes turning the pages, regardless of who's doing the reading, him or me!

Still a ham. He knew very well that I was taking a picture. He purposefully scrunched up his little face!

And his first word (after mama and dada)? BALL! Says it plain as day, and knows exactly what it means, too. That's my grandboy!

Climbing, furniture walking, scooting . . . he's perpetual motion!

I took lots of pictures yesterday, and caught some *great* smiles and laughs, but unfortunately, because he's so on the move, most of yesterday's pictures look like this . . .

A baby BLUR!! LOL!

Todd came over and we stayed at Kim & James' for dinner last night.

I'd gotten dinner in the crock pot early yesterday, and we enjoyed pork tenderloin with sauerkraut, smashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yeast rolls for a yummy dinner. And for dessert?

I even had time to make an apple pie! It was a nice evening -- we really enjoy spending time with our adult children. We're so proud of them!

One little upset yesterday -- I got up off the couch yesterday evening, got twisted up, and really wrenched my knee, but good. Unfortunately, it was on the left -- my good leg. This morning I'm shuffling around like a little old lady. Not a pretty sight. I'm hoping that a little Aleve, some ice, and elevation will have it good as new by tomorrow. Luckily, it didn't happen while I was still watching Sawyer -- I'm not sure I could have managed, it hurt that badly!

And for my sister, an up-to-date comparison on the feet . . .

This is first thing this morning, so the swelling is at its lowest. It's still painful; the brace eliminates mostly all of the pain for a bit -- but it's rather like when I started on the anti-inflammatory, Celebrex. It was awesome for two weeks, and then slowly things slipped back to where they were. I'm beginning to wonder if I just need to steel myself to being in pain. I go back to the doctor this week, and I'll see what she says.

On a happier note, being propped up on the couch today provides me with the perfect opportunity to do some hand stitching . . . I see an owl quilt finish coming soon!!


Monday, February 07, 2011

one last week . . .

Today is design wall Monday over at Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times!

I'd committed to not having anything new on my design wall until the owl quilt was completely finished. Next week, there will be something new here! Last night though, during a rousing super bowl game, I finished up the hand quilting on the owl quilt!!! And since I was so close . . .

And the binding was right there and ready . . .

I thought, "Let's go for it!" I should have quit while I was ahead. Ugh.

When you were younger, did anyone ever get you to repeat the solemn, secret, magical phrase, "Oh-waah Tah-gue Siam"? For me, it was my Pop pop who taught me this little doozy. It ran through my head over and over after I got about halfway through sewing the binding on.

I was really pleased with how quickly it was going and how nice my corners were looking. In fact, I was so please, that just before I got to my third corner, I had the desire to stop what I was doing (stitching), and admire my handiwork. So I grabbed the second corner I'd finished, went to flip the fabric over that corner, and . . .


I'd folded it down backwards, so I stitched the binding down into itself! UGH!! Luckily it was a relatively easy fix, and just a few minute spent with the trusty ol' seam ripper.

Finally, the binding is all stitched on (the right way) and ready to be pressed and hand stitched. But I decided I needed to put it down for the night. I never really do my best work after 9 pm anyway!

This owl perfectly reflected how I felt. Grrrr.

Oh what a goose I am!


Sunday, February 06, 2011

weekend wrapup . . .

I figured that since this weekend had been all about gearing up for the impending birth of grandson number two, I'd wrap it up with some wonderful portraits of the mommy & daddy-to-be. These were taken by my son, of Something Beautiful Photography. James has a great eye, as well as terrific editing skills. I realize I may be biased, but I believe he does *awesome* work! Of course, he had gorgeous subjects to work with here, too!! Bias again? No way!

Such fun shots! They came up to the camp to do some of the shooting. I really like the black & white pictures, but I haven't decided which one of these is my favorite. Hmmm -- perhaps they are *all* my favorites!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

busy, BUSY day . . .

What a DAY! I am spent, but it's a happy kind of spent. Joc & I had a super productive day, and I have the photos to prove it!

First, we hit the kitchen and put up a total of 26 entrees in her freezer!

From meatloaf to pizza rolls to oriental chicken to chicken spaghetti (13 different entrees) we put up at least two of each entree (most of our recipes make for 6 to 8 -- since there's just the two of them, splitting each entree in half gave them twice the bang for the buck). It took us about five hours, and some finely tuned teamwork, but we ended up with this lovely sight to behold . . .

I know it will be a relief for Jocelyn to have this bounty after Everett's born!

And speaking of that darling little soon-to-be-here boy, after we finished cooking, we headed right up to:

Everett's room!!

First, we plopped the pillows in the rocker and got the curtains hung . . .

Isn't this a cozy little corner? I love the orange table lamp! We needed hooks for the ribbons on the curtains. She said she'd get Jason to put those in.

Next, the biggest labor of love -- installing the skirt and the bumper pads.

They look pretty darn cute (if I do say so myself)!

And here's Everett's bookshelf with lots of fun things.

And his closet is already filled with fun toys, helpful mommy tools, and cute, cute clothes!

And just because, here's another shot of the crib. LOL! I love her woodland creatures mobile!

Everett's Aunt Jenna, who is an incredibly talented artist, painted this darling owl . . .

And finally, the changing table. Isn't the vinyl decal on the wall just darling? Joc found this on etsy. It's perfect.

She's done such a marvelous job pulling the nursery together. I'm so proud of her! I know that having the accessories in place makes her feel a little more prepared. Her due date is in eleven days!! WOW!! I'm so excited!

And this is Princess Leia. She was very curious about what we were doing in her room.

She is in for a rather rude awakening in a few short weeks!

Now, the only thing left? Four owls to outline stitch on the quilt. The binding is cut and pressed and waiting for me. Whoohoo!

And now. BEDTIME!