Thursday, May 31, 2012

goodbye may . . .

I can hardly believe that today is the 31st of May . . . where did the past thirty days go?!  I have relatively little in the way of creative endeavors to show for it, I know that!  On the other hand, I had so much fun with family ... visiting here, visiting in Louisiana, and visiting with children and grandchildren, that I can hardly regret the lack of sewing time!

I did finally stitch the last stitch in my HQH embroidery block.  I think it will look quite lovely in the center of that commemorative quilt!

I also marked the two year anniversary of the accident and my poor little foot by buying not just one, but TWO pairs of Yellow Box flip flops, something I haven't worn, much less purchased, for two summers now!  It's lovely to feel comfortable wearing them again!  I could really probably stand to have a professional pedicure done on my tootsies, too, but the scars on both sides of my ankle and on my heel are still a little too sensitive for me to consider putting them in the hands of a stranger.  Maybe before fall.  My next doctor's appointment is October 1 -- perhaps just before I go back to see the doc!

I have both a niece and a nephew (or, as one of my uncles used to say, "a deniece and a denephew" -- ha ha ha ) who are graduating from high school in the coming weeks.  Between my three sisters we have thirteen children.  They are divided into what we call first and second generation cousins.  Joc (26) and James (25) fall into the first generation, along with Julia's oldest two -- Ben (21) and Cecilia (18), and Cynthia's three -- Matt (23), Megan (20), and Nick (18).  Then the second generation cousins start with Laura's oldest two, Ali (13) and Jasper (11), go back to Julia's youngest two, Hazen (11) and Lucy (8) and finish up with Laura's youngest two, Wendy (5) and Fowler (3).  You'll notice Fowler is just a year older than Sawyer.  It cracks me up.  There was a divide of five years between the first and second generation cousins and while they all love each other very, very much, the first generation cousins had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together growing up, and have a special "cousin" bond.  

ANYway . . . the youngest two of the first generation cousins, Cecilia and Nick, are 2012 graduates.  I'm so proud of them both!  
Cecilia is headed off to George Mason in the fall.

And Nick is headed of to Virginia Tech (joining Cousin Ben) in the fall.

Yup, I'm incredibly proud of both of them -- and of my sisters, too, for doing such a marvelous job of raising such incredible young adults!  Wish I could get to both of their respective ceremonies, but I'll settle for seeing them both at the end of July!

In the meantime, I'll love on my Sawyer and Ellie.  

Tough job I've got, eh?!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

down into the deep south . . .

Late last week, Jocelyn, Ellie and I loaded up the PT Cruiser and headed into the deep south.  Waaaaay down south, to Pearl River, Louisiana!  We headed down for a memorial service for my Great Uncle Bill Fowler, who passed away earlier in the month.  And while we were certainly sad to be saying goodbye to my uncle, we were also excited to be seeing family--some whom Joc (and Ellie, of course) had never met!

We pulled in Thursday evening, went straight to the hotel, and then headed to my cousin's home.  My dad was already there (he flew in earlier in the day) and was happy to hold a Miss Ellie-bellie (who was happy to be out of the stinking car seat)!

Carol gave us a tour of the her home.  It was very lovely!  They'd had very little damage from Katrina -- a few lost trees, but that's it.  Joc and I were both surprised and delighted to be treated to a little sampling of Uncle Bill's owl collection . . . 
The owl is on the Fowler Family crest, which explains why so many of the Fowler family members collect them.

My Great Uncle Frank had also flown in that same day.  Frank was Bill's youngest sibling.  There were eight children, total, and the spread between Frank (#8) and Bill (#6), was ten years.  Hence the six year difference between Frank and my dad -- they grew up more like brothers than uncle and nephew (my dad's dad -- Earl Peabody Fowler - was #3)!  With the passing of Uncle Bill (who'd just celebrated his 90th birthday in September), Uncle Frank is now the patriarch of the Fowler clan -- the last living of his generation.
Whenever you get Fowlers together, you can count on there being some cribbage action!  We played at Carol's house and we played at the hotel.  And Joc and I both played on our phones, too (gotta stay sharp)!  Frank mostly schooled all of us.  I think Dad told me he finally got a win in!

On Friday, Jocelyn (and Ellie), Uncle Frank, Dad and I headed over to Precious Pearls, a tea cafe which happened to be Uncle Bill's favorite little spot to eat.  We even sat at "his" table!  We all had a cup of Crawfish and Corn Bisque, which was *wonderful*!  
The ladies in the cafe were very sweet and had known Uncle Bill well (and in fact were also at his memorial service).  He loved that little place so much, he even had his 90th birthday party there!

At his memorial service, we made it a point to capture five generations of Fowlers:
What a special picture -- treasure -- this will be for me, Jocelyn and Ellie!

This one as well . . . 
At the time, the oldest and the youngest Fowlers members!  How sweet is this picture?!?

A nice shot of dad and Uncle Frank . . . 

And a shot of the Bussell clan.  Carol was Uncle Bill's only child and Mel is her husband. 
Next to Mel is their daughter, Tracy, followed by their son, D.K. (who I served in the Navy with -- we were both stationed in San Diego at the same time), and his daughter Erin.  Sweet family ... this was Joc's first time to meet D.K., Tracy, and Erin.  And my first time meeting Erin, who's very sweet.

And one parting shot of Ellie and my dad.  He loved holding her!
I have to tell you, she was a terrific little girl for the whole trip.  She was a champ on both our drive down and home, and sat through almost the entire memorial service without a peep!  Such a sweet little baby.  :)

The service itself was truly a celebration of a well-lived life.  It was both fun and fascinating to hear my Uncle Frank share his memories of his brother and family.  Joc and I found ourselves really wanting to know more about our family history.  We both want to be able to share those stories with our children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren. 

William "Bill" Knowles Fowler
September 11, 1921 - April 30, 2012
Uncle Bill loved Jesus and loved to talk and especially *sing* about him.  I will much miss his letters and stories and poems.  He was quite a character!  His influence was far-reaching and he will be much missed by many.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things this week ... perhaps I'll even be successful.

Perhaps not.  LOL!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

primary colors . . .


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

stash report 21, design wall, and catch up

I'm running waaaay behind this week!  But I wanted to go ahead and post my stash report -- I need to keep myself honest.  Last week I forgot to count that fat quarter bundle I'd purchased with the gift certificate I'd won (whoops!) and this week I added those two charm packs I won from Vrooman's Quilts giveaway, plus the panel from Paula Nadelstern.  Huh.  I'm really padding it up here! 
Used/donated this week: 0.0 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 12.75 yards
Purchased/added this week: 5.75 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 66.0 yards
Net used/donated for 2012: -53.25 yards
And if it's still open, I'll link up with Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times for the weekly stash reporting!

On my design wall, there's nothing much besides my 25th Guild Anniversary Stitchery:
Almost finished with it -- just a "2" left to stitch!  I've got a challenge piece and a doll quilt I need to finish up.  I'll also link this up with Judy's Design Wall Monday post.  LOL!  Better late than never, right?

The wedding this past weekend was such fun!  The bride made her wedding dress . . . isn't it beautiful?
And the groom and his groomsmen all wore kilts.  The bride gave her family's tartan to her daddy when he brought her down the aisle, and her new husband gave her his family's tartan after they'd been pronounced man and wife.   It was a very sweet ceremony.

Sawyer went as well.  He, Kim and I sat together (in the very back row) as James was the wedding photographer.   I was so proud of Sawyer -- he sat very quietly and nicely through the whole ceremony, which was outside.
And he very much enjoyed his first wedding cake, too!

Since most everyone knows my love of all things pumpkin, I have to share this:
Todd and I can't believe it's made it this far!  I'm pretty sure that something wild (like a squirrel) will get to it before anything much can come of it ... but it's pretty to see it blossom and flower!

Joc, Ellie and I are making a trip south this weekend ... my Great Uncle Bill's memorial service in Pearl River, Louisiana.  It's the first time I'll be the primary driver on a major road trip since before the accident and I have to admit to being just a little a little anxious about it.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this! 

And I leave you with this little gem of Ellie and her new BFF . . .

Saturday, May 19, 2012

much ado about much . . .

I have kept the mailman very busy over the past two days ... with such fun things showing up my box!  First off, I got an e-mail saying I'd been one of the winners of the coveted coffee mug from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 5 blog tour, from the Quilty Pleasures blog itself.  I was so excited!  
I was even more tickled when I got the second e-mail saying that the mug and the magazine had been shipped separately . . .  Magazine?!  What an unexpected pleasure!  It's one thing scrolling through all the different blocks via blog ... quite something else to see them page-by-page!  If you haven't yet gotten your copy of the magazine, it's on the shelves now ... don't miss out!

I also received this fun book (with a sweet teapot-shaped) in the mail.  It's filled with the Nancy Reppert's  favorite recipes from her tea room, Sweet Remembrances Tea Room in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  And it was inscribed by the author herself!  She also keeps a blog -- Rosemary's Sampler -- which is filled with fun things.
The little cookbook is filled with wonderful, perfect-for-tea recipes and some very sweet illustrations ... a lot of which would make very darling little stitcheries!  I received this from Angela McRae's Tea With Friends.  How fun is that?!  Angela does the most wonderful tea-related giveaways every Saturday on her blog, and that's on top of the terrific tea posts she does through the week.  Hers is truly a blog for the tea enthusiast!

And then --oh my -- there's this:
Two charm packs of that darling, *darling* Lilly & Will II (Bunny Hill) from Sharon over at Vrooman's Quilts!  Sharon has been doing this huge "May for ME" theme on her blog (on top of bingo and all the other marvelous things she shares on her blog) in celebration of her birthday this month!  I was one of her winners from Week 2.  She told me when she e-mailed me that I wouldn't know which set of charms I'd won until I received the.  Both were darling ... but I was particularly delighted to open my fun package and find the Lilly and Will -- it's such adorable stuff!  So tell me -- what is you favorite project that uses charm squares?!

And speaking of adorable stuff, the best part of my yesterday was spending time with this little doll baby:
Oh my, she's a heart melter!   She'd grown so much since I saw her last.  And I love that very serious look.
I tried to get one of her grinning at me ... she's got the most infectious grin!  But you can hardly see the grin for the fist.  I promise you it's there.
Yes, I could have just sat there and played with her all day.  Which is pretty much exactly what I did.  No apologies for it, either!
She loves to sit in her boppy next to me and talk and interact.  She's so alert and fun!  And it's quite hilarious to hear her try to imitate noises that she hears.  Too, too cute!

Today we're off to deliver our Bleacher Cheer Bags to the moms/grandmas/etc. of our adopted baseball team, and then a wedding this afternoon.  It should be interesting -- the groom's wearing a kilt!  Hope you have a happy Saturday!!


Friday, May 18, 2012

guild night out . . .

Last night, finally, I didn't dream about embroidery patterns and designs.  Instead, I dreamed about kaleidoscope quilt blocks.   LOL!

Last night's guild meeting with Paula Nadelstern was AWESOME!!  She was very real and immensely funny!  And for someone who's not just from New York, but lives in the same block of the Bronx that she's lived in since she was born ... she didn't sound like a stereotypical New Yorker.  Although I did hear a quilter behind me somewhere whisper, "She talks so fast!"  I had to laugh ... I hadn't noticed!

There were five things she asked us to remember about her:

1)  All New Yorkers wear black; she wears black.

2)  There are 360 degrees in a circle; that's all the math she knows.

3)  She's from the Bronx; the only borough of New York City that's attached and won't eventually float off.

4)  When it comes to fabric her personal motto is:  More is more (and she feels sorry for anyone who doesn't get it).

5)  Simply copyrighting a pattern doesn't cut it; register your copyright.  This was a lesson she learned the hard way when she found that a carpet manufacturer had photocopied pictures of her quilts out of her book--published with C&T--and made special carpet from those photocopies for a major hotel.  One in Houston.  Where the major quilt show is.  Luckily for her, C&T did register copyrights and they were finally (after a long battle) able to settle amicably

I did manage to get a picture in ... or rather, I had someone take one of the two of us.  And yes, I definitely asked if I could post it on my blog!  (She did tell us she had a very good lawyer.)

I purchased a swatch of her fabric.  I wanted a little piece of the evening to carry home with me!  
And while I really don't have a desire to do a whole kaleidoscope quilt, I really would like to do a block, playing with fabrics, seeing what the possibilities are.  Or maybe one in jewel toned batiks.  Hmmm...maybe I need to do two blocks.

When I got home, I was telling Todd all about my evening.  When I told him her motto, When it comes to fabric, more is more, he laughed and said she thought like I thought . . . and how he imagined most quilters thought!  I hadn't yet read the inscription she wrote for me:
LOL!  Yup, perfect.  It was a terrific night and if you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, definitely take advantage of it.  

I'm off to visit my little Ellie-bellie today!  *happy grandma sigh*


Thursday, May 17, 2012

live from new york . . .

Tonight is guild meeting night!  I'm especially excited because we've got a real treat for our program.  Our guest lecturer is none other than Paula Nadelstern, queen of kaleidoscope quilting.  Our board takes the speaker out to dinner before the meeting, so I get to have dinner with her, too!  *sigh*  She's doing her lecture tonight on Kaleidoscope Quilts, and then two workshops.  Friday's is NeedleStars and Saturday's is Simple Symmetry.  The only thing is ... she's requested that no photos be taken during her program or of her display quilts.  So I won't have photos to share ... just lots of exuberant chat!  :)

The kids are all back from their trip to the beach.  I got to spend a little time with Sawyer yesterday.  I got there and he was napping, and he did not wake up until his mommy returned!  I stayed a couple of extra minutes to get some Sawyer-loving!
He's super sweet and snuggly after he wakes up ... my favorite time!  Tomorrow will be an Ellie day, so I'll be balanced again.  :)

I wanted to share a slice of nature out here at good ol' Camp MACOBA!  We recently had to move both our platform feeder and the hummingbird feeder.  The squirrels were emptying the first and the raccoons, believe it or not, were draining the hummingbird feeder NIGHTLY!  We moved them both over to our picture window.  Consequently, I'm able to get shots like this . . .
and this . . .
and this little female . . .
and this . . . 
There were three sitting here on the feeder, but I didn't move fast enough and only got two.  

And finally, I thought I'd share a look outside our window first thing in the morning.  It's the squirrel brigade!  I purposefully didn't compress this picture, so if you click on it, it'll be full sized.
How many squirrels can you see?  There were actually four more that I couldn't quite fit into the picture.  We have quite a community!  But they're so darned entertaining!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

a stitch, a pin, a pattern . . .

Do you ever have one of those nights?  I evidently spent too much time collecting sweet little embroidery patterns on my Stitcheries pin board yesterday, because ALL night long I dreamed--in color--about finding the perfect pattern and how I'd stitch and embellish it.  Gracious!

I finished up the bow on my little black dress embroidery block.  I'm one-third of the way through and it's looking good! 
I was so thankful that Lisa, from A Cuppa Tea With Me, mentioned in a comment that she was thankful for Thread Heaven when working with metallic flosses.  What?!  You can use that?!?!  I was having a horrible time with the metallic floss twisting and had considered using the Thread Heaven, but wasn't sure, so I didn't.  After an exchange with Lisa, I *am* using it and what a difference it made!  Whew!  Thanks, Lisa!

I wanted to share a couple of my favorite pins.  I'd posted pictures of some HERE, after being inspired by a story on Madeline Albright, a couple of years ago.  Then my friend Melissa, over at The High Altitude Tea Duchess, mentioned she might do a linky party of blogger's pins, and I knew I had to share!  Just a couple of quick sets . . .
The copper poodle was a gift from my daddy, many years ago.  He brought it home from a convention.  I think I was in 8th grade.   It's the piece I've had the longest (not the oldest, mind you).  The roadrunner actually belonged to Todd's mom's, but I held onto it because it reminded me of my Grandma Willie and their snowbird trips to Arizona.  Her postcards would always have roadrunners on them!  And my chorus pin from high school.  Who holds onto these things besides me?!?

This set is fun ... the "Once Upon A Time" pin was given to me by a darling friend after I met Todd and he proposed (to commemorate finding my Prince Charming and happily ever after.  :)  The monkey pin was a secret pal gift, and was one of my favorite to wear when I was teaching high school (for obvious reasons).  It makes me laugh, as does the computer screen with the cat tagging the mouse!  That was a gift I received during my IT/software troubleshooter years.

Some more whimsical pieces.  The cat tickles me because his tail moves!  The dragonfly just appealed to me because of the colors (oooh!  sparkly, pretty colors!), and the little angel I found in Gatlinburg, TN, one year at a craft show.  It so reminded me of my Pop and the fun art he created with tin cans.  I had to have it (and the sweet matching earrings that went with it)!

Finally, at some point, I need to get busy on a challenge piece for guild.  Our challenge exhibit is next month.  Yikes!  The theme is:
It doesn't necessarily have to be a crazy quilt but the theme of 25 (for our 25 year anniversary) is encouraged ... and gets extra points, too.  I happen to have it on good authority that there will be some awesome prizes and door prizes that night, so I definitely want to give it my best shot.  I've got some ideas ... I just need to flesh something out.  And SOON!

That's it for me today.  Lots of busy things happening up at the camp and I've got to get a move on!  Have a happy Wednesday!!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

lucky eight hundred . . .

This is my 800th post.  It's really hard for me to believe . . . eight hundred posts.  Who knew I had so much to say?!

Our GLOW event last night was a huge success; we had such a blast!  Gigi's cupcakes were (are) the bomb-dot-com . . .
I ordered two dozen.  That's a lotta cupcake!  I also had a little cupcake candle door prize and a cupcake devotional to share.  It was lots of fun.
The best part of the night, though, was putting together our Bleacher Cheer Bags!  It was SO cool to see how twelve women could just fall into different roles, putting things together, without any direction.  We really did work together incredibly well. 
In no time, we had all twenty bags finished up and ready to be delivered at Saturday's ball game!  Now that's something to cheer about ... YAY!

The embroidery work on the satin is slow but steady.  The metallic floss is a little difficult to work with, but I think it'll be worth the effort.
I had to use a needle with a bigger eye in order to accommodate the floss.  I was a little worried about pulling the bigger needle through the fabric, but I think the stablizer makes a huge difference with that.
It'll probably be a bear to quilt ... not sure I want to even THINK about that yet.
But it sure is pretty and sparkly!