05 June, 2023

Just Right

As the base cabinets are being set into postion our own little "Goldilocks" is looking for that "just right" place to settle. I believe he thinks each one of these little cubbies are being built  for him; so many choices! Last evening I set his bed in one and he curled right up there! His little heart will be broken when the cabinet doors and drawers are all installed later this week. But for now...

...this is "just right"!
Life is Good!

01 June, 2023

Making Lemonade

I'm looking on the bright side these days; if I didn't, the whole situation of living in a construction zone would drive me over the edge. I knew that I had to shift the focus to that which I could change for the better. As someone who craves order and tidiness I am faced daily with my biggest enemies: disorder, clutter, chaos and dust; piles and piles of it! My challenge is to deal with all of the above and make constructive use of this current state of our home! When the new drawers were installed, including the one that would house our silverware, Mr. G. had already outfitted that one with custom dividers, I no longer needed the cutlery insert that I'd had before! Hmmm... I thought... would it fit in the top drawer of my cutting island where I keep thread? Would it EVER!! Not only did it fit nicely but the sections were the perfect size for my small spools to be arranged by color. No more rolling around and getting mixed up with each other every time I opened and closed that drawer! SCORE! My next victory is with spices, extracts and baking supplies. Since all of the cabinets that contained those have been removed, I am now intimately acquainted with each and every bottle and tin that we have. Those that were old, dusty and of unknown origin have all been discarded, as have multiples of the same item! Now to separate those remaining into like categories and alphabetize them before they're restocked; this will be a HUGE (much needed) accomplishment! Likewise all of the no longer useful and questionable cleaning supplies that had been stored beneath where the kitchen sink used to be: gone, gone, and gone! Getting that future space under control in a neat and orderly way will be a breeze now!
We've gone from left photo to the right one this week, the backsplash has already been removed and the wall resurfaced; fingers crossed that all of the new cabinetry will be installed this weekend.
While Mr. G is working on the kitchen re-do and I've done as much as I can on that front, I've been escaping to the sewing room and a precious scrappy quilt loaded for clamshell quilting. A friend brought this to me, it has such a wonderful story: her mother had begun piecing this before she was diagnosed with a fast moving illness that ultimately took her life, it was out of the blue and completely unexpected. Following her death the unfinished quilt top sat for a long time until recently, her father picked it up and finished piecing it! It's huge: 96" X 102", entirely made up of three inch squares; yep, that's 1,088 scraps of love! My friend wanted double batting for a weightier, more substantial quilt. Sew it goes, this is destined to become a treasured family heirloom. 
Augie's been hanging out with me while I quilt lately, the sewing room is a peaceful place for him too. We're rising to the current challenges by squeezing lemonade out of the "lemons" that our construction zone has presented and making the best of it. Someone asked me the other day if this wasn't worse than moving; "no, not at all" I answered, emphatically, "I don't ever plan to move again, if I can help it! When this is over, and the dust settles, it will all be wonderful" (and tidy and better organized than it was before!). 
In the meantime, I'm enjoying the laundry room not only for doing up the dishes by hand 
but even for plugging in the crock pot for tonight's dinner. It's all good!
Life is Good! 

23 May, 2023

Mother's Day and Beyond...

This will give you an idea of how I spent my Mother's Day! There won't be any meals in the dining room for a while. "Why"? You might ask. We're tearing out the old cherry kitchen cabinets and replacing them with hard maple ones, handcrafted by Mr. G in the basement workshop. 
We've gone from what it looked like in the top photo to the bottom view in a weeks' time...

...with a whole lot of this in between! 
The tile backsplash had to be cut out and the wall sections re-sheetrocked and tied back in. 
Augie sought refuge under the sofa table when the big, noisy tools arrived upstairs!
Can you tell that I have an affection for tea sets? 
Here we are today.  Cabinet doors and hardware are being installed as I type! This week is full of more of the same; another week, another wall of cabinets are out of here... and so it goes. I'm excited about the new look, it will be so different: lighter and brighter. 
Our slabs were selected a couple of weeks ago for the future countertops. 
Meanwhile, last week, we were temporarily "trapped" in our neighborhood by a downed pine tree! A damaging storm tore through the last Tuesday evening, leaving us and two of our neighbors with no way out! Thank goodness Mr G. and his trusty chainsaw responded as soon as the sun came up. As you can see, this wasn't any small tree, either! 
The weekend was capped off with a cheer and tumble exhibition by our youngest grandchild. Now 10, Lynnleigh's every bit as cute and spunky as this snapshot indicates! 
Our old cabinets are being donated; those removed last week are being picked up this afternoon. I'm continuing to put things away: with full and easy access before the countertops are installed!😉
Life is Good!

09 May, 2023

Quiet Time

So, this is a post about Quiet Time. As you can tell from this photo, there's lots of resting and quiet time going on here. This was taken at my parents' home in New Hampshire last week. It was Augie's first road trip and he did extremely well in the car; you would have thought that he was a seasoned road-tripper! He rested nicely on his back seat platform and did what he was supposed to do outside whenever we stopped for breaks. What a great travel companion! It was Mom and Dad's first meeting with Augie and they were thoroughly charmed, of course.  Unfortunately, the day after we arrived, my mother went to the hospital. She was feeling bad and really couldn't express what was wrong. She was subsequently admitted through the E.D. and treated for an electrolyte imbalance; of particular concern was her depleted sodium level. She stayed there the entire duration of our visit and is now getting stronger again in a rehab facility with the goal to return back home. It was a roller-coaster week. 
Both Mom and Dad contracted COVID a couple of months ago. While Mom was hospitalized at that time, Dad recovered at home, albeit s-l-o-w-l-y. The truth is that it really and truly knocked the stuffing out of both of them! My Dad has given the term "Quiet Time" to that period after lunch when he rests his eyes for an hour or so. We all know better than to call it a nap!😉 I took this low volume quilt, just off the longarm, along with me to whip down the binding. I decided to name it "Quiet Time", that just seemed right. There was lots and lots of *QT* while we rested and waited. The quilt was finished up in no time.
Here's Dad and Augie one day after breakfast; they became great friends during our stay. 
We're home again now and Quiet Time has been washed and tumbled dry. I love the soft, crinkled effect. Talking to Mom on the phone yesterday, she sounded good and much stronger. Her biggest heartbreak now is not being at home last week for QT with Augie in her lap, she's sad about that. I told her that we'd just have to make a return trip, now that we know what a great little traveler he is! Please remember my Mom in your prayers for her recovery and restored strength. I expect that she'll stay in the rehab for another week and a half to two weeks, at least. Time will tell. 
Augie is seven months old now, has already been to eleven states and completed Beginner 1 Obedience classes yesterday. He'll start Beginner 2 Obedience next month; that's quite the resume for this pint sized pup! You're right if you're thinking that there's no QT for him!
Life is Good!

21 April, 2023

Got Your Back?

Last month I went on a fabric hunt. I armed myself with a pictorial shopping list. Pineapple Fabric had a warehouse sale complete with long tables as far as the eye could see, loaded high with fabric cuts being sold by the pound! This is always a great deal, but when it comes to looking for backs for existing quilt tops it's just the ticket. This was my shopping list: color photos and sizes of the quilt tops hanging in the "to be quilted" queue. 
It took some time searching through the stacks and plenty of "tip-of-my-finger-on-an-extended-arm-to-my-nose" measuring (which, for me, happens to be 33.5") but I was able to find some great pieces to use as backs, for the six quilt tops pictured, plus two more, at a  fantastic price! When I returned back home, since not all pieces were single cuts, I chopped apart my visual aid, wrote up a piecing plan for each backing piece, and pinned it to the chosen fabric, like this:
now, when I'm ready, I can grab the quilt top and its assigned back and get it done! Along with those backs I also picked up a couple of pieces for the ongoing Cream and Sugar BOM. All in all, it was a successful hunt! Although I miss the flagship Keepsake Quilting store in Meredith, NH when I'm up north visiting family, I certainly do enjoy the physical proximity of Pineapple and the ability to still pick up all my favorite Keepsake treasures here now. Pineapple has been closed since early this year as they clear the decks and prepare for their grand RE-opening in mid-September. In preparation for that they've just announced another warehouse sale for the last full weekend in June. I feel compelled to attend; after all, they've always got my back! Who's got yours?
 Life is Good!

13 April, 2023

If Your Life Were A Quilt...

...what would it look like?  Think about that for a second. Would it be bright all over or would it contain dark areas? Would it have mistakes, inconsistent stitches, small rips and tears that may have been mended (or not), star points missing here and there or would it be perfect? Would each block be similar or would there be variety? What would your life-as-a-quilt reveal?  I recently attended a memorial service for a friend's mother; her name was Zelma. My friend, Carla, is a fellow church member, the service was held in our church. Carla's Mom was a quilter, at age 97 she still stitched every single day, right up until she was hospitalized earlier this year. Carla told me that her Mom would rise in the morning and go straight away to her sewing machine, (like it was her job!) she'd piece quilt tops all day long. She donated countless quilt tops to charitable causes throughout her lifetime and, to this day, has left over 100 quilt tops stacked neatly in a cupboard outside of her bedroom. Our Pastor's memorial sermon has stayed with me. I share those words below, with his permission. It should be noted that this Memorial Service was held on National Quilting Day, I am sure that Zelma was smiling from her Heavenly home with that knowledge. 

Memorial Sermon

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful
and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat
and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.

There’s a particular love that one knows when they receive a
handmade quilt from someone. Chances are, somewhere in our
homes tucked away in a closet, we all have a quilt we received a
long time ago from someone who made it for us out of love. And if
this quilt is handmade, we know it isn’t just something to keep us
warm, but it’s a treasured item, one that carries
memories-stitched together out of care for us.

Those who knew Zelma Rohde in her life with us know how much
she loved to quilt, a gift she has undoubtedly passed down to her
daughter Carla. And in this love of quilting, there’s so much we
can learn about Zelma’s life and the kind of person she is. To quilt
for someone is to labor in love and express....in precise,
hand-stitched detail...what that person means to you.

If the life of Zelma was sewn into a quilt and spread out before us,
what would we see? I imagine we would see something
resembling our first reading in Ecclesiastes: For everything there
is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Zelma’s life quilt would undoubtedly be large and thick, because
Zelma lived a long and full life with us. And now, as we look back
on this full life of Zelma, we can see all the times and seasons of
her life as one, beautiful, stitched-together masterpiece.

Zelma’s quilt begins with fabric of her time to be born, and today
we remember it has received its final stitch in her time to die.
But between the first and last stitch of a quilt, there is so much
that happens in between. In Zelma’s life, she had times to plant,
and times to pluck up what was planted.

It’s my understanding that along with quilting, Zelma was an avid
gardener. And I’ve learned that gardening can teach anyone who
puts effort into it important virtues...primarily patience. And from
this we know Zelma knew patience, when to reap the rewards of
her labor, and when to have just a little more patience to see her
projects through.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time
to build up.

If this life quilt of Zelma were honest, it wouldn’t shy away from
stitching together the difficult times and seasons. Seasons in
Zelma’s life when things were dark, when she needed her own
healing. But we would also see a rich tapestry of the seasons
when she was there to build someone up in love and

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time
to dance.

When we remember the life of Zelma, it’s only natural to
remember both the times of joy and the times of hardship.
Memories of laughing with her, and maybe even weeping with her.

But like a quilt of many colors, those dark times bring out a
boldness in the bright colors of her laughter and joy. Because it is
in these times when we see the love of her Lord, Jesus Christ
most perfected in her.

A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to
cast away; A time to tear, and a time to sew.

The memory of Zelma full life, and the lives of all our faithfully
departed, cause us to reflect on our own, incomplete lives. Today,
we observe the life quilt of Zelma after receiving its final stitch, but
each of us have our own life quilts that are still being sewn and
stitched together. And one day, just like today for Zelma, those
closest to us will look back on all the stitches and fabrics of our

At first, this might make us nervous to think about...every stitch?
What about the bad stitches in my life? What if there are fabrics in
my past that I’ve completely ruined?

Let us remember how Zelma sought to fix her stitches - through
the correcting, love of Jesus Christ, who has labored in love for us
and expressed....in precise, hand-stitched detail...what we mean
to Him upon the cross.

Zelma trusted Jesus to tear away the ruined fabric from her quilt
and sew back the perfect cloth of His righteousness. And now, by
faith in Him, Zelma lives on in His Resurrection from the dead.

In the same way, we can trust in Jesus to stitch His mercy in us in
those places we may need it most.

As we remember the life of Zelma, let us see her life as a quilt
God has stitched together out of love for us. Her life is one that
will always keep us warm in times of hardship, and it will always
carry memories stitched together by the grace of her maker and
Savior: Jesus Christ, her Lord, Amen.

- Reverend Matt Knuppel
Grace Lutheran Church
18 March 2023

And so, if YOUR life is arrayed to the world as a quilt, what will it reveal about you? I pray that my life's quilt will display rich, happy colors. I hope it will show that I gave good effort and always tried to do my best, that my life was one lived in faith; and, also, like Zelma, that I might rise and contentedly stitch for as long as I am physically able! 
What a precious, tangible, legacy that would be!

Life is Good!

11 April, 2023

He Is Risen!

After keeping the word buried for forty days it returned with joyful praise on Easter morning; we proclaimed it, we sang it and we sang it some more: Alleluia! He is Risen! I hope that you all are having a blessed Easter. I had the privilege to help create the paraments for the Sundays of Easter at our church this year. I didn't have a lot to go by, there really aren't any patterns for this, but there are general guidelines to which I was able to adhere, that was helpful along the way. I learned a LOT.
Once created, I was eager to get them moved to church for the big reveal (precise, careful timing ensued to avoid the constant rain showers that fell last week!)
"Happy Resurrection Day" as our long-ago, beloved, Sunday School teacher always said. 
Our daughter and family traveled to New England last week, 
this photo of Mason and Lucy Ann with my Mom and Dad
 depicts a true, heart-warming moment to treasure forever. 
I was late getting my wintered-over geraniums out of the boxes and planted up in their pots this year. It was one of those things that I kept putting off, you know how that goes: "I'll get to it", when all of a sudden you have that certain realization that it's now or never! Last week I mixed up some potting soil  and got to it. Fingers crossed that they'll rebound once again. There's plenty of green in the stems, I think everything will be okay. Time will tell. 
Augie is now six months old...
...and look where I found him yesterday! He can now jump up by himself onto the couch here in the studio. Don't you just know that feels like a big boy! He's looking at me as if to say "what, it's no big deal and just in case you're thinking about moving me... I'm NOT getting down!" Ha! I really don't want him jumping (up or down) onto the furniture; not because I don't want him there but more so because I don't want to risk any possible injury to his spine. I'll look this week for a dog ramp or a set of steps. Beginner 1 Obedience classes are going well, he's the star student!
These Iris are showing off this week; transplanted from my childhood home. 
Happy Easter!
He is risen, He is risen indeed! 

 Life is Good!