Category Archives: Family memories

It’s a Beginning

I love to start quilts almost as much as I love to finish them.  I love every part of quilt making. The picking the pattern.  The choosing of fabrics. The cutting out of the quilt.  The piecing of the quilt.  And finally, the quilting or tying of the quilt.  It’s called a comforter when a quilt is tied. At least that is what my mother always told me.  It’s only called a quilt when the fabric, batting and backing are sewed together in tiny quilt stitches.

If you have ever made a quilt, you understand what I am talking about.  And once you make one, you almost always have to make another one and another one and another one.

Right now I am working on a certain quilt that I have made before called Grandmother’s Fancy.  I found the pattern in a quilt magazine I bought almost twenty years ago.

I use to buy this magazine all the time. I don’t know if it is still sold.  It always had some interesting stories about quilters and at the back it had several of the quilt patterns that were shown in the magazine.

As you can see, I wrote Grandmother’s Fancy on the front so I would know this particular pattern was in this particular magazine.  I have done that a lot through the years when I wanted to keep a pattern I found in a magazine.

And I write myself notes in the pages while I am working.  Sometimes I write something I have heard on the radio or some advertisement I am interested in. My quilt magazines became sort of diaries through the year.

This magazine was good about showing how to put each quilt together.  This may look hard to some, but it’s really an easy pattern.  I would love to make one for each of my grandchildren, but the ones I am making now are for our bed.  As it’s a king size I haven’t made very many quilts for it because it’s getting harder for me to quilt a big quilt on my home sewing machine.  I may have to hand quilt these.

This was the first quilt I made from this pattern.  I made it many years ago and it’s been used and washed several times and is beginning to get the vintage look I love in quilts.

It is on our guest bed in our guest bedroom.  We haven’t had too many guests to stay here for a while and the bedroom started to look like a storage room until this week when I put everything away and cleaned the room and made up the bed again.  I’m glad I did because I like how it looks.  Maybe now I will have guests again.

This is a king size version of the pattern.  I plan on finishing it this year.  It’s on the top of my list of quilts to finish. Because…….

I’ve made enough of the blocks to make yet another one.  One that will be more Spring like.  I really love making these blocks.

I still have a few more I want to make before I decide what fabric I want for the borders and sashing.  I’m thinking I’ll use some shirting material for it.  I’m reading a book right now about some people during the WWll times and one of the women in it is a seamstress and she said, “Textiles are a woman’s delight.”  I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.  I delight in textiles.

David took a week off for his birthday and we thought we might do something, but we haven’t done a darn thing except go out to eat a couple of times, but that was all right with both of us.  It’s been so cold all I want to do is stay in where it’s warm and work on quilts or knit and David has been working on our taxes and almost has them done.  I’m so glad he likes to do that because I would be lost if I had to do them.  I’d have to hire someone to do my taxes even though I actually took a class on taxes in college. A lot has changed since then.

We did go see our two youngest grandsons in their orchestra concert.  Children from all the elementary schools, middle schools and high schools in Bloomington joined together to put on the concert.  Each class had a song to play and at the end the whole group played together. It was awesome. The middle school group played a song from Star Wars and their bows were lit up and they turned down the lights and it was just wonderful.

This was his debut performance on his cello. Our youngest grandson.  He’s so cute and funny.

For some reason the picture is sideways, but that is his brother smiling. This is his second year of cello and I am proud to say he has signed up for orchestra in middle school next year.  I love that they are learning an instrument.  My biggest regret of my life, and I have very few regrets, is that when I had the chance to take piano lessons I refused to take them and my poor mother could not talk me into it.  Now, when I hear our church pianist play, and she is wonderful, I think to myself that could be me up there if I had listened to my mother.  I can pick a few songs out on the piano and can read music a little, but not like I could have if I had taken lessons.  I did take violin lessons when our boys took them.  I was in the same class with them at one time and I could play somewhat well, but I found that getting the time to practice was getting harder and harder and violin fell by the wayside.   I gave my violin away.  Now I wish I had it again.

David and me and the parents of our grandsons, our daughter and son-in-law.   Sara took piano for eight years and violin for a couple of years.  Jeremy plays the drums.   Out oldest son played cello in orchestra and our youngest son played the Bass.  I use to haul them to class every week, the bass bigger than our son until he grew into it.  They both were pretty good. I guess you could say we are a musical family.

What have you been up to?  Do you have any projects you are enjoying these Winter months?  Here’s to musical grandboys and quilts to made. Bye.

 

 

Remembering 2019

The end of the year is a time for remembering and looking forward.  While there were many blessings in the past year, I must admit it was not the best year I’ve ever had what with spending so much time in doctors’ offices and in the hospital. Having a pacemaker put in was not on the top of my list of fun things to do, but it was a last resort sort of thing so I did it.

But now that is all past and just  a memory as I look back on Christmas and the wonderful times we had with friends and family.

We had Thanksgiving with family and friends. This is our oldest son’s girlfriend’s son with his dog, Annie. Annie is so cute. I made her some scarves for Christmas.

My son and his girlfriend. They love Disney World and last year they had a season pass to it and were down there almost every week it seemed.

The tree was up with the help of two of our grandsons.

These two are growing up way too fast.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.  I knit 24 pairs of stocking this year and I’ve already started for next year.   I just let everyone pick out the ones they like.

I was gifted this beautiful Christmas cactus. I saw one on Facebook that was one hundred years old and had been in the same family all that time. It was huge.  I’m not sure this one will make it that long, but I hope I can manage to keep it going until next year.

This was our front entry this year. I bought the cubby at an antique store and it held a lot of my smaller Santas and other paraphernalia.

My daddy made all the little wooden houses and the church years ago. He use to make them and sell them and they were quite popular.  I made the trees from a pattern I found on Ann Wood’s blog.  She’s a very talented and creative artist who provides free patterns as well as selling them on her blog.

Packages under the tree and I just love the way the sunlight comes in this window in the Winter.  This is the room I most often am in, cutting out quilts or knitting or just watching tv.  It’s not the warmest room in this old house though.

While hurrying to make gifts, wrap gifts and prepare for the holidays, I  sewed this pillow from a dish towel I bought in Nashville.  I don’t know why I always have the urge to sew something entirely not to do with Christmas when I’m right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, but I always do.  I think it’s my way of calming myself because sometimes the days can get hectic. I really tried this year to slow down, take it easy and just enjoy the real reason for the season.  I tried reading the entire book of Luke in the Bible. There are 24 chapters and if you read a chapter a day before Christmas, you’d get the full story of Jesus and why He was born and how He died for everyone.   I didn’t get it all read, but I’ve read it countless times before so I know the story.

This is the time of gray, cloudy days, but we have had some beautiful sunsets.  I can’t get a picture of just how beautiful this one was, but it was gorgeous.  This is our lone tree we have that was left after our neighbor cut down all the trees on his property. This one set right on the property line and I asked him not to cut this one down.  This makes me think of that one scene from Gone With the Wind where Scarlette and her father are talking about the land and Tara is in silhouette.

I did most of our shopping online this year and I think I found some very good presents for my loved ones.

David likes to play Santa.  He wears this hat at his workplace and all the children think he’s the real one.  True story. We were in line at Wal-mart and there was a little boy about three years old sitting in a cart in front of us and he was eyeing David up and down and then he blurted out, ” You’re not the real Santa Claus!”  His mother was so embarrassed, but David looked at him for a few seconds and then said, “No, I am not. I’m one of his helpers.”  Well, that little boy just kept starring at him.   It was so cute.  David gets a kick out of things like this.

He also likes to play Santa at our family Christmas gift giving.

He surprised me Christmas Eve with this….

Flowers that I used for a centerpiece on our table.

I love watching the grandkids opening their presents. The big hit this year were woolen hats with beards attached.

Oh, my.

Our daughter’s son thought she ought to wear one of the beards, soooo….

She did!  Everyone had fun with them.

He looks like he belongs to the group ZZ Top.  And guess what movie we are watching on tv.

Our granddaughter got a beret. She looks so cute in it.

This is an alarm clock that has a sonic boom sound when it goes off. It can also shake your bed. I bet this will make my grandson popular in his dorm at college next year!  Ha!

I always seem to get a chicken themed gift every year.  I don’t know why?!

So, Christmas is over for another year. Sometimes I wish it would last longer and that the days before were not so hectic.   I’m going to try to buy gifts throughout the year so that I won’t be scrambling for gifts a week before Christmas.  I believe Christmas has become way too commercialized and I want to get away from that and focus more on what it means.  It’s like no other day.

So the new year is here and already almost a week old.    We did some antiquing yesterday at one of my favorite antique stores.

We found this little buggy. David thinks it was for some rich little girl’s dolls at one time. Part of it is missing, but I thought it would be something I could decorate for Christmas next year. And it fits right in with our old house.

The little Radio flyer wagon behind my snowmen was another find.  This is my small collection of snowmen I put out after Christmas.

I found this little snowman at the antique store.

A friend gave me this Jim Shore snowman years ago and I love him.

I also found some red fabric at a booth where  the lady sells all things to do with quilting and sewing. I have found a lot of fabric at her booth.  I just completed a quilt with flannel backing from flannels I found in her booth and I’ll probably be back for more.

January brings seed catalogs. Even deep in Winter one can dream about the garden.

I’m thinking I want to try to grow pumpkins again.  My last try was a bust.

So many kinds to choose from. If I had a lot of acres, I’d plants lots of pumpkins.

So I hope the new year will be good to you.  I hope your dreams will come true and God will pour all His blessings on you and your household. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Before

Every year it comes.  No matter who were are, what we believe. Whether we celebrate or not.  Whether you know who Jesus is or you don’t. Christmas will come.  The world cannot stop it.  Some have tried by blocking people from saying, “Merry Christmas,” but that isn’t what the season is about anyway.  If no one ever said “Merry Christmas again, it would still come. It would come if there were only one person who believed.

It would come because it’s not about the tree, the tinsel, the presents, the huge meals. It would come if there were no Santa, because he really isn’t the reason that makes Christmas so special.  It would come even if you wish it wouldn’t.

Christmas. What is it about this one holiday that makes people so happy or sad?  Some people are sadder this season than at any other time I have read.  Some people love Christmas and everything about it and there are even Facebook pages celebrating the day where people talk all year about it and can’t wait for it to come again. It’s just one day, but it feels different for some reason.  It’s a day like no other. No holiday is more cherished than Christmas. No holiday has evoked so many memories, good or bad for millions of people.

Just what is it about Christmas that causes some people to pine for it and some people to dread it?

I know when I was growing up Christmas was a feeling that started for me right after Thanksgiving after we had spent that holiday at my aunt’s house with all my brothers and my sister and cousins. We would watch the Macy’s parade on tv and when Santa Claus would appear we knew Christmas season had begun.   Then it became a time when my mother would begin her candy making and cookie baking.  My mother sewed red flannel stockings for her Sunday School class and filled them with all the good things she had made topped off by a gingerbread man with raisin eyes and buttons and with icing piped all around the edges.  I remember helping her put on the raisin eyes and buttons and how all the gingerbread men looked all lined up on the kitchen counter.  The children loved getting their stockings.

There was shopping in the city. Going to a store called Veaches where their whole basement floor was filled with toys of all kinds.  Trains and dolls and games and bicycles.  One year I looked at a blue Schwin bicycle and wished with all my might that Santa would bring me one just like it.  My baby brother and I would walk around with our eyes aglow seeing all the wonderful things that we could only imagine having.

At church we began  to sing all the Christmas carols.  “O Come All Ye Faithful,”  Silent Night,”
“Joy to the World,”  “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  I loved those carols and still do to this day as they tell about the birth of the Savior on Christmas Day.

There was excitement at school as we practiced for the Christmas program.  Our music teacher would take a classroom of children, most with little talent, and turn us into little performers for our parents’ delight.   Christmas trees were in every room.  Every class had a party.  My mother was room mother one year and she brought little  Spritz Christmas trees made with her cookie press and squares of ice cream.  We had drawn names for gifts and one year I got a Raggedy Ann book and one year a necklace.  It was all so much fun.    The excitement was palpable as we children could hardly contain ourselves waiting for the “Day.”  I don’t know how the teacher got any teaching done that last day of school before the holidays and when the final bell rang we children ran out to the buses or to walk home with smiles on our faces shouting, “Merry Christmas!” to one another.

The days before Christmas were busy with wrapping presents, baking cookies, making popcorn balls and playing board games like Monopoly.  Some of our Monopoly games would go on for days.  We’d attend the Christmas program at church where the children would sing and the choir would sing and there was a wonderful, warm feeling as I sat there with my parents and heard the old, old story once again how a virgin became pregnant with God’s only Son who was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem. How there was no room at the inn for the new family so they had to bunk down in a stable with all the animals. How the shepherds heard the angels, singing God’s praises, on the hills where they were guarding the sheep. How the three Wise Men came with their precious gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts fit for a king because Jesus was a king.   I would listen in awe and wonder why God would send His Son down just for us.  I didn’t understand the full story for a while.  All I knew was that it was special and Christmas was special because of this story.

So as we sit here on Christmas Eve waiting for yet another Christmas, my only hope and prayer is that more and more people will learn and understand just why Christmas is such a special time.  It was a time when God came down.  That God who loves us all so much He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.

I don’t know how you are spending Christmas. I don’t know how you feel about Christmas. All I know is Jesus is for everyone. Every single person reading this. Every single person in the world, no matter what religion or race.  This Christmas, if you haven’t already, make room in your heart for Him.  Make your heart the inn this Christmas.  God bless you all and Merry Christmas.

 

Here’s What I’m Doing

Turn around and the trees have changed and dropped their leaves and all of a sudden we are talking about Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas gift buying.  It’s all strung together into one big to do list that can be overwhelming if I think too much about it.

We watched the last of the soccer games. Our youngest played his tournament and their team won handily.

It began on a Saturday morning when the trees still had their leaves and were beautiful.

We drove to Bloomington where the games were played.

Out grandson is a real hustler.  He really likes soccer a lot and will be playing again next year.

He was put in as goalie which he doesn’t like as much as there isn’t as much action, especially when your team keeps the ball at the other end of the field.  At one point we looked at him and he was dancing.

Later this month our two youngest grandboys’ school honored veterans.  Since their grandfather served in the Army National Guard for 36 years, they wanted him to come to the program. David always enjoys these so much. It’s wonderful seeing school children singing patriotic songs and saying the pledge to the flag.

Here is our youngest grandson.  They go to an International elementary school and this picture depicts the diversity in the student body.   There are children from everywhere who go here. Some of their parents teach at the college and live in Bloomington for a while.   When I was in school there was no one who looked different from me and I always longed for a black friend.  Now my grandsons make friends with people from all over.  I think it’s wonderful.

Kids are kids no matter where they come from.  And they are all so cute!

This is one of the songs they sang

The school orchestra played.

Here is our second youngest grandson in the blue with his class.  This is his last year at this school. Can’t believe he’ll be in Middle School next year.  Just yesterday we were waiting in the hospital for him to be born and he was the tiniest baby.

The veterans were asked to come forward and for their grandchildren or children to join them. We are so proud of these boys.  There are a lot more women veterans than there use to be. Sometimes I wish I had joined the armed forces when I was younger.

Children can be so angelic at times!

There was a nice reception after the program with food for brunch which was very good.  The principal asked the children not to take seven or more things because he was afraid there would not be enough food as so many veterans showed up, but in the end, he was passing out donuts and muffins trying to get rid of them.

It was a very nice day.

Me, I keep making things. Don’t know if I showed this pillow I made from a state handkerchief I had bought.

And, of course, I keep knitting socks.

This yarn is called Monarch Butterfly.

A while back I ran across a magazine with a quilt pattern I have made before.

It’s called Grandmother’s Fancy.  I had a few blocks left over from that quilt so I made some more and bought some fabric for the borders and binding.

Today I finished piecing the quilt except for the border.  It’s huge.  I think it’s at least king size.

Now I have a Christmas quilt I want to get quilted before Christmas and this quilt which I can only show a corner of because it’s for someone.

While cleaning out a drawer the other day I found these.

Post-it notes with what I call my Yellow Book stories. I began writing about this imaginary town with people I made up and drew.  I couldn’t stop writing them. Then I lost them and now I’ve found them again. There are some characters who live in my imaginary town.

I don’t pretend to be an artist, but I drew each character for my stories.  Maybe I’ll finish this one day.

Sunday we have our first Thanksgiving dinner and then I’m having Thanksgiving here and then it will be Christmas all the way. Jingle jingle.  We’ve had lights up for a couple of weeks. David surprised me with tickets to a Beatles’ impersonation show. I’ll write about that later. Can’t wait to see it.

 

Here’s to our veterans who serve our country and to children who honor them. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Late Summer

It seems we were just in June looking forward to a long Summer and here it is, almost Autumn already.  The days are getting shorter and the nights are a little cooler.  I must say Autumn in just about my most favorite seasons. I don’t like the real hot weather as it seems to sap any energy out of me that I have, so the cooler days are so looked forward to.  I love the clothes we wear in the Fall also. Corduroy pants, woolen sweaters, heavy socks and boots.  I have an intarsia sweater with apples on it I can’t wait to wear.  I ordered it from one of  my favorite online companies, Coldwater Creek.

Speaking of Coldwater Creek, there was a glitch or something in their computers and they put over $1700  of bills on my account.  I didn’t know about it at the time, but a lady from the company called me and told me so I checked my credit card and yep, they had charged me about ten times for that intarsia sweater, but they had already taken it off.  So I thought nothing about it until today David heard a knock on the door and there was a lady there holding a vase of flowers in her hand. The flowers were for me. David said my boyfriend should be more discrete about sending me flowers. I had no clue who they were from. Here are the flowers.

They are so pretty. And here who they were from.

Talk about good customer relations!   I was so surprised.  I don’t order from them that often, but maybe it was because I was nice to them on the phone.   Anyway, thank you, Coldwater Creek for the pretty flowers. I don’t work for them nor do I advertise for them, but I think this was pretty nice for a company to do after an err they made.

Wanting to see our older grandchildren before school started and knowing they would all be busy, busy, busy with school, sports and friends, David and I wanted to take them out for breakfast.  We missed our granddaughter as she had already gone back to college. We had a nice visit and will be seeing them on Grandparents Day before too long at their school.

Everyone is taller than David and I now. We are shrinking in height and they are all tall.  Was just yesterday I was rocking these two boys, holding them on my lap.  We ate at a pancake house that we all love and the food was so good.  It was really busy and they were serving a lot of pancakes.

On the way home we traveled through downtown Indianapolis in Fountain Square to see if we could see some of the homes remodeled by our favorite gals on our favorite fixer upper show on HGTV, Good Bones.  It’s nice to see Hoosier girls starring in a tv show and we watch it every week,  Here is one of the houses. I remember watching this particular show.

They are known for their brightly colored houses. No taupe for these girls.  They buy rows of broken down houses and fix them up.  They are bringing back neighborhoods in Indianapolis that have fallen on hard times.  So if you get a chance to watch their show, you will enjoy it. They are so funny at times, but they are sure hard workers and not at all afraid to get dirty.

Driving around we saw this interesting door. It had a lion’s head above it. You can see part of it in the picture.

Then on a beautiful late Summer’s day we attended one of our grandson’s soccer games.  He is in a traveling team and several of his games will be played in our town as we have a really nice soccer field. Our boys played on this field years ago.  At that time there was no public restrooms, but they have built some nice ones by the field.  I sure could have use those years ago!

He is getting so tall.  A pre-teen.

I love to watch soccer games.  They all want to play football and I just could never get interested in that game.  Our younger son got a badly broken arm in a football incident and I just have never liked it since.  Now that one of the players on the Colts team has retired because of all his injuries, I am more likely to think it is not a safe game to play. And I think the uniforms for soccer and lacrosse are much cuter!  But that’s just me.

I said I would show you all our swings we have set up. We use them all.

Let’s go down our porch steps to the one on our cabin porch.

This is the little cabin we just finished restaining  this Summer.

 

David took the old swing from this porch and put up this new one. This is where Molly likes to sit with me, but she’s almost too big to fit on the swing any longer.

Then the swing from the cabin was put on the old swing set in our backyard.  I stained it and I can sit here and watch the chickens.

This is the swing on our front porch.  We sit here to watch all the hummingbirds fight each other for the hummingbird food.  We can also watch the world go by. You can do that when you are retired.

There is the swing on our new screened in porch.  We sit here a lot watching the birds at the bird feeder.  The birds actually planted the sunflower that is here….

Not bad for a bird.

And last, but certainly not least, there is the swing on my shop porch.

I sit here almost every day watching the traffic go by and say a prayer of thanks I am no longer in the rat race of life so many people are in, rushing here, there, and everywhere. I use to be one of those rats, but I am glad those days are behind me.  I enjoy retirement immensely. I remember the days when I was a girl when my mother, my aunt, my sister, the dogs and I would sit on the porch after supper and sit and talk and swing.  Oh, how I wish they could all join me on my swings now.   David and I have created the Porch Sitters’ Society of which we are the CEO’s and welcome anyone who would  like to to come sit with us.

Hope you are enjoying the last few days of Summer.  Before you know it, Summer will come around again.  Bye

 

 

 

 

My Daddy

Today is Father’s Day. I had a wonderful Father. I probably didn’t appreciate him as much as I should have when I had him on this earth, but I knew my daddy loved me and cared for me.

My daddy was a farmer, first and foremost. He did have to work in a factory to make ends meet, but working on the farm was what he loved to do best.  He was up early taking care of the animals and came home late at night from work at the factory. In Winters he would bring in armloads of wood to fuel the big stove that stood in our kitchen.   He taught me that you fed and watered your animals before you ate or drank. He took very good care of his animals.  Even though most would one day be on our table, they lived good lives.  I would see my daddy hand feeding ears of corn to our cows.  The cows loved him.   I watched him wring chickens’ necks and then I would help him pull all the feathers off them to prepare them for my mother to cook them.  He taught me how to do it properly and to get all the pin feathers off.  I saw him cry over dogs and once he accidently ran over a dog with the hay cutter and cut off one of her legs and he rushed her to the vet and paid to have that dog cared for until she could walk again.  She was a three legged dog, but she ran around like she had all four of them. He had a soft spot for all the animals on the farm.

My daddy had some tragedies in his life. His younger  brother died at age twelve so he became the baby of the family and his three sisters spoiled him.  My mother said they even brought him oranges at Christmas because they were afraid he wouldn’t get any!  He had other tragedies which I find hard to write about, but he lived through them and became a better person because of them.

My daddy loved his family and loved when we all got together.

This is our boys with their Grandpa.  He loved all his Grandchildren dearly.

My daddy and my mother were married for over fifty years. David and I just reached that anniversary and know that it takes a lot of work to keep a good marriage going. It’s not easy at times.  My parents  loved each other and were hardly ever separated.  The one time they were separated and the first and only time my daddy flew in airplanes was when he had to go to some kind of training for his job.  I went with my mother to the airport to pick him up and she was so excited and happy to see him again.  She was like a school girl seeing her first crush for the first time when he got off that plane.  Everyone should be loved that much.

We took a couple of vacations with my parents and had such a good time with them. So many wonderful memories. I can’t help but think Daddy looks like that man from the movie, “Up” in this picture. He was not grouchy like that man, though.  Maybe all men get to looking like that when they get a certain age.

We took a train ride with them once. I think the first time either on had been on a train.  It was fun traveling with my parents.

 

My daddy always smelled of Old Spice and cigarettes until he became a Christian and stopped smoking, cold turkey.   I still love the smell of Old Spice because it makes me think of my daddy.

My daddy’s greatest joy was when we would sit down to a dinner and he would say that everything on our table was raised on our farm.  We had our own milk, eggs, meat and vegetables from daddy’s huge garden.

I don’t know if your father is alive or has passed on, but if your father is with you, please take time to hug him and tell him you love him. I’d give anything to be able to see my daddy today, but I know he’s in Heaven waiting for me and that gives me great comfort. I hope he knows how much I loved him and appreciated him.  Happy Father’s day to all you daddies everywhere.

I love you Daddy. Happy Father’s Day. Bye.

 

Spring, I Hardly knew Ye

My very favorite months of the year, March, April and May are coming to an end. May is half over already and I can hardly stand it.   It does cross my mind sometimes just how many more March, April and Mays I have left to see in this world.   I have always loved Spring in all its beauty and I never feel like it lasts long enough.

The Snowball bush outside our back door has reached its peak and is beginning to fade.

We got this from a start of David’s Grandmothers’ Snowball bush that was in her backyard and was huge.   Ours is getting pretty big, but still needs to grow some to get as big as hers was.  I wonder if that bush is still there.

We had to move this clematis that was by our back deck as we are getting a new screened in back porch built, and were afraid it would get destroyed by the builders. You get big men in big shoes clomping around a garden and the flowers cringe and so do I.  There is a Mama Robin who built her nest in a crook of the porch on my shop and every time someone goes out the back door, she flies away and chitters and hops around in distress.  She’s been doing a lot of that lately with all the men working right beside her. I hope those eggs get hatched, but I’m worried she has been off them too much.

This is my little garden right by the back deck where the new porch is going.

Finally after all the cold weather, my garden burst into bloom, overnight, it seems like.

We’ve done a little traveling and a little visiting.

Visited my sister who I haven’t seen in almost a year which is too long. We always are glad to see each other.   She was like a second mother to me when I was growing up.  My mother kind of let her take care of me and when she got married, it just about killed me because we shared a bedroom and she was always around from the time I was born.  I cried for a week when she left to start her own home, but I did visit her and her husband a lot and babysat their children years later.

My sister’s husband who has been like a brother to me.  He’s eighty years old and still raises a large garden big enough to feed a small town. He had a kidney removed a few years back and could not have a garden that year and it was hard on him.  But he’s been making up for it.   I hope he has many more years to raise his garden.

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They brought out this quilt I made for a prize at a family reunion years ago. I made a larger version of it that people signed and put their birthdates on.  My sister won this quilt and there was no shenanigans going on for her to win it. We had a young child pick out the winning name and it was hers!   The reunion is called the Ridenour reunion for all descendants of my grandparents and there are a lot of us.

On the back of the quilt I put a label and these pictures of my grandma and grandpa Ridenour.

My grandpa was a dapper fellow in this picture.  I can see why my grandma fell for him.

And my grandmother was beautiful with big, brown eyes and long hair done up on the top of her head. She and my grandpa went on to have four daughters and all of them are gone now, but the youngest one.

Easter came and went so quickly even though it was late this year.  We had our annual Easter egg hunt and the kids got money for certain eggs they found.

Here’s Grandpa counting the eggs to see how many dollars someone gets.  It’s always exciting for the kids.

When we visited my sister, we also took a trip to the city where we use to live before moving to our present house. David was transferred with the guard years ago and I was not a happy camper about leaving the house I loved and my friends and family to move one hundred miles away. It may as well have been a thousand to me.

We had this big house on top of a hill and below us was a city park and a big lake we use to ice skate on in the Winter.  I loved that house so much and we were so happy there.

We drove through the park.

And looked at the lake and I took pictures from afar of our house on the hill.

This was our bedroom window that looked out on the park.  It was so beautiful up there. I still miss it even though I love our old house we live in and love where we live and would not want to move back.

This is the drive up to that house. The people living here now paved it, but when we lived there it was gravel.  One winter’s day, I was taking our children to church and my car slid on ice from the top of the hill, clear to the bottom and across the street below into a ditch.  My neighbor saw it happen and came out and helped me get the car out of the ditch and I drove on to church. When we got back home, we had to leave the car at the bottom of the hill and crawl, on our hands and knees to the top!  I can still see my children crawling up that hill.

Below our house was a railroad track. It seems we have always lived near a railway.

Now it is a walking and bicycling path which I would have loved when we lived there.

Down that way, which use to be railroad tracks, was the best raspberry bushes. The neighbor girls and I use to walk down there to pick the raspberries and would come home with raspberry juice all over us from eating them.  It was so much fun.

Driving home the next day, we took back roads, as usual.  We went through the town where parts of the movie, Hoosiers, was filmed and they had this mural painted on the side of a building.

I loved that movie because it was so true to life as to what it was like in Indiana in the fifties with our passion for basketball. Every  Friday night we would be in the high school gym or at another school’s gym to watch the boys play basketball. Three of my brothers played basketball and I loved to play it. We had a basketball goal in the haymow in our barn and I would practice shooting free throws for hours. I got to where I could hit one hundred of them in a row.   Hoosier hysteria was a true thing back then.  We loved our basketball.  I think a lot of the professional sports have ruined the excitement for high school basketball.

Driving the back roads of Indiana, you see the creativity of Hoosiers.  How many people have this carved in their back yard from an old tree?

An Indian with a bow and arrow.  We see lots of things like this driving the back roads that most will  never see as they drive the interstates.

It was a fun weekend.   We met up with a very good friend and went to an antique show and sale.

I bought this to go along with my Shirley Temple doll.  I loved Shirley Temple when I was growing up.  She was at an innocent time in our history when people would flock to the movie theaters to see this tiny little girl sing and dance. She was astonishingly talented and could dance with the best of them.

Two other things I purchased was this…

Don’t know why. I just liked it.  And this….

 

A miniature screen door that looks almost exactly like what we are putting on our screened in porch.  I will hang this on the wall of the porch when it is finished.( I had to remove the picture because I noticed I had an account number on the table and our tithe envelope for all to see.  Didn’t mean to do that.)  Just suffice to say it’s a cute little wooden screen door handmade by some artisan.

As I leave you, I want to show you this amazing three layer chocolate cake I made today. It is astounding in its elegance.  It will amaze David when he walks in the door.  I really put a lot of work into it and I really want to show it off because I don’t think I could ever make another one just like it….

It gets even better.

 

 

 

 

It could win prizes!

 

 

 

Well, at least I hope it tastes good. Bye.

 

 

 

 

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A Star is Born

When our children were growing up, they all took lessons in music on one instrument or another.  One son played the bass, our oldest played the violin and cello and our daughter played violin and piano.  Because my one regret is that I refused to take piano lessons when they were offered to me, I wanted to make sure my children learned an instrument.

When one of my older brothers was taking piano, I taught myself his recital music and could play it as well as he.  In fact, I can still sit down at the piano and play it from memory.  I never did learn how to really play the piano and I have always been sorry about that.  But I’d hammer on the piano every day, probably driving my mother crazy hearing the same tune over and over.

Fast forward to today and now I have grandchildren who are musical.   This week we attended our grandson’s first recital.  I was really excited about it because I have always loved orchestra music.  I like it better than just about any other kind of music.  He just started to learn the cello this year.

Our daughter told us when to arrive. The recital was held at one of the high schools in the city.  When we drove there, we noticed there was a very long line of cars and I jokingly said they were probably all going to the recital.  To my and David’s surprise, they were!   We snaked along until we got to the school and could find no parking spaces. Our daughter neglected to tell us this recital was for every string class from every school in the county!    So, there were a lot of people there.  We finally found a spot to squeeze into and got inside where the bleachers were almost full. Our youngest grandson came and got us and showed us where we were to sit with our daughter and son-in-law.   We had pretty good seats.  Then the star of the show appeared.

At least to me he was the star of the show. I was so proud of him  And he’s growing up way too fast.

Don’t know if he was nervous or not, but I’m sure there were a few butterflies in his stomach.  It was so wonderful seeing that such a large number of young people are taking strings.

From fifth grade to seniors in high school were there to play their instruments.  There was excitement in the air. So many proud parents and grandparents to see their loved ones show their skills.

Our youngest grandson and he says he will be taking an instrument next year in school.  How did the baby of our family get this big?

When I took violin as an adult, I remember playing some of these songs.   I can read music and play a little on both violin and piano. Not good enough to do it in public.

So the elementary children played first.

So much concentration.  They sounded pretty good.

Then the continuing strings, still elementary children, played and they were just a little better.

The middle school children got up and gave a small gift to each elementary child in the orchestra and then they played and sounded just a bit better.

Then the high school children got up and gave a little gift to all the middle school children and then they played and they sounded wonderful. That is what practice, practice, practice and years of taking an instrument will do. Makes one a very good musician.  I just thought it was nice how the older ones were so encouraging to the younger ones.

The final number by the high school orchestra was the 1812 Overture.  Now I saw the big drums in the background and I knew the song was a battle song, but when the first beat on the drum was hit, I almost jumped out of my seat and let out a cry that made everyone sitting around me start to giggle. A man sitting in back of me leaned over and said, “That startled me, too.”   I was prepared when it happened again.  But it was all wonderful.  I enjoyed it so much.

I really hope our grandsons will love playing an instrument and continue with it.

We geared up for a big snowstorm this weekend, but so far all we have had is rain today.  I made beef vegetable soup. First time I have ever made it and it was soooo good.

It doesn’t look like there are any vegetables or beef in this, but it was full of carrots, green beans, potatoes and corn and crushed tomatoes. Yum.

It was delicious. Found the recipe on Allrecipes.com.

Hope the weather is good where you are. We are looking at ice and snow coming. Bye.

 

 

Nostalgia at the Craig House

Every year when Christmas comes around I grow nostalgic remembering Christmases past. I have been so blessed all my life in having Christmases that were filled with family, love and fun.

When I was growing up, besides Summer, Christmas was my very favorite time of year.  From the start of a new school year until the big day, I was always looking forward to it, planning for it, thinking about what I would get under the tree, practicing Christmas songs for the school program or church program.  When Ruth Lyons . who was the host of  the 50-50 Club, a tv show out of Cincinnati, began to sing how many days there were until Christmas, I knew the Christmas season had really begun.   My family would make the trip to the city to Veach’s, a toy and department store that sold everything you could think of. Down in its basement were all the toys and it was packed from floor to ceiling with all things that make children’s hearts sing.  I had my eye on a blue Schwinn bicycle one year.  I had learned to ride a bike the previous Summer on my brother’s bicycle so I was ready to get one of my own.

As I was scrolling through family photos for this post about Christmas I got tears in my eyes remembering all the people who are gone, families that have broken apart, children who have grown up and moved away.  Remember that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase’s character gets locked in the attic and he finds an old projector and watches old movies and cries? That was me, looking at these old pictures. Everyone looks so young in them.   Sad music should have been playing in the background as I looked at picture after picture.  But all I could think was, “we sure have been blessed.”

So without further ado, here are some pictures of Christmases past at our house.

We always had a lot of gifts under the tree.   I loved shopping back then.

Our two boys, nineteen months apart.  They were always so excited about Christmas. too.

Our daughter. She must have been very happy with her present.

 

The boys watching with interest what I was unwrapping.  Not a very pretty pose. Notice the playpen my foot is on. Do people use those anymore?  It was like a cage for your kid when you wanted to keep them out of things.

I made both of our outfits that year.

I made both my boys’ outfits, too.

I went through a gingerbread house making kick for a while. I use to bake and bake before Christmas. This year, one batch of cookies.  Everyone is on a diet of some kind.

Yes, I made these outfits also. My poor boys had to wear a lot of clothes that I made.  I didn’t make quilts back then.

I really must have shopped a lot that year!

One year we went to the Virgin Islands. David’s mother ran a guest house down there and we spent Christmas with her.  It seemed very strange to be where it was so warm at Christmas.

Here was David and our daughter with her cousins looking on as she opened a present.

We spent days at the beach in the middle of the Winter.

This was the view from David’s mother’s house.  Not bad.

The years have flown by so quickly.

My mother and daddy loved Christmas.  When all us kids were grown, we met at their house on Christmas Eve every year and gave each other gifts.

Mom opening a gift while two of her grandsons looked on.

My daddy loved having us all together. Behind him is my oldest brother, Jack, who passed away many years ago.  I still miss him and can’t wait to see him again.  He was in college before I even started school.   If you could see his senior picture, he looked like a young Clark Gable without the moustache. Jack was a very handsome man. And a kind man. I’m so glad he was my brother.

Daddy’s sister, my Aunt Ruth is behind Daddy. She never married and lived with her parents until both of them died and then she came and lived with us. Family took care of each other back then.   If one didn’t have a home, they were taken in by family.  My parents took care of my daddy’s father in his last days, my mother’s mother until she had to go into a nursing home because mom could not lift her any longer and Aunt Ruth.  Aunt Ruth was a very sweet lady and she always dressed so nicely and smelled so good.  I don’t know what kind of perfume she wore, but I always loved it.  She lived with us almost all through my childhood and after I married and left home.  I’ll always think my brother became the reader and excellent student he became because Aunt Ruth spent hours reading him storybooks.  The same ones, over and over again.

These final pictures are how I remember Christmas the best.

The looks of sheer delight on our children’s faces as they came downstairs Christmas morning.

It was always the same year after year.

Even when one was suffering from an earache, he was still excited Christmas morning.

And remembering David’s grandmother who was always so kind to me and really loved our children.  The feeling was mutual.

A big green machine and a new bicycle one year.  We lived on a big hill right beside a park with a lake.  You can see the lake behind the boys through the trees.  I really loved living there and cried so much when we had to move.

Family. It’s what Christmas means to me. From that precious family in the stable on that first Christmas, down through the centuries to my little family and now on to theirs and on and on.  But Christmas will always be about one thing to me. Love. Merry Christmas. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cluck, Cluck, Quilt.

I haven’t talked about my chickens for a while so here’s some pictures of my girls. It was a sunny day and they greeted me as they always do by the garden gate.

Loved the way the shadows played on their feathers.

Miss Mary Foster, my little crippled hen, but she doesn’t know that.  She lays one egg almost every day.

“Where’s the chicken crack?”

I have two Buff Orpingtons. They are so pretty and good egg layers also.

Every time I go to Rural King, I look at the baby chickens if they have them.  My flock is down to nine birds from twelve so I really can’t add many more until some of them go to, ahem, chicken heaven.    We won’t talk about that, though, especially around the ladies.   Having chickens is just so much fun for me and I can’t see a future without them.  I have to hire a pet sitter for them when we go away just like for the dogs.

Just had to share these pictures of Molly Marshmallow sitting out in her chair nodding off to sleep.

She almost fell off the chair and I was laughing at her as I took her pictures.

My pets give me endless joy.

I told you in my last post I was doing a mystery block quilt and I finally got it done.  In fact, I got several done.   Kathleen Tracy shared this pattern on her Facebook page so if you want to make one of these quilts, go to her group under files and find the pattern. It’s really simple, something I needed right now and yet I ended up with a very cute quilt.  Here are mine….

This was the first one I made.  I bought the ticking at an antique store and the floral fabric I originally bought years ago to make an apron, but decided I’d rather put it in quilts as I have a lot of aprons already.

Then I decided to make a Christmas themed one…

And then another vintage looking one…

And material for yet another one, which I already have all cut out…

These little quilts are almost addictive. They are quick to make and now I have a good start on next year’s Christmas!

I bought this book of Kathleen Tracy’s a while back and have made a few small quilts from it.

I made the quilt that is on the cover. Don’t have it quilted yet, but think this one will be hand quilted.

Here it is hanging behind my cardio-glide which I use once in a while for exercise.

I have my quilting mojo back. It kind of got lost in my sock knitting craze. I still knit a little every single day and everyone got or is getting socks if they want them for Christmas. I just hung them up on the fireplace mantle and let people pick a pair they want.

You can just see the socks on the mantle at the right.

We had one Christmas gathering with family already last Saturday night.   We had a good time together, although one of my grandsons was not feeling well. They found out this week he has abcesses in his colon and is on antibiotics for it now.   He was really sick for a few days.   Anyway, I gave him and his older brother each a pair of these socks.(warning to all Trump haters, don’t look!)

There is a company called John’s Crazy Socks. This man has a son with Down’s Syndrome and they started a company together and sell all kinds of socks and I found these and knew I had to buy them.

Along with the socks, I got a thank you note from John and a small bag of Skittles.  Kind of a nice touch for a company.

Anyway, the socks were a hit.

Put on and modeled. The socks come with a little comb to  comb President Trump’s hair.

Went out yesterday and saw these flowers blooming.

Honeysuckle. Confused because we have had such warm temperatures the past few days.  It won’t last, but it’s been nice.

Before we know it, it will be Spring. Someone said only about ninety-five days away which will fly by like it all does now.

Another project that I have become obsessed with.  Making twine.  I got the directions from this magazine which I love.

They call it ribbon in the magazine, but I call it twine.  It’s great for decorating packages, but I also think I will use it to tie up plants on stakes and maybe use as shoelaces.   Here’s how much twine I’ve made so far.

It’s really fun to make and is so pretty.   And last, but not least, another quilt I plan to make after Christmas, if not before…..

I’m done making large quilts for a while although I do have a few UFO’s I do need to finish.  Looks like a busy year ahead for quilting.

This was David’s and my very first Christmas tree the first year we were married. We went out in the woods and cut it down. I didn’t have a lot of ornaments then, but I loved our first tree and our first tiny house.  You see those tiny houses on tv now. Well, we lived in a tiny house with three tiny rooms and  I had to shower in the basement under an open shower head, no bathroom down there.    We didn’t live there long, but I have such happy memories of it.

Feeling nostalgic?  My next post will be about Christmases past.   Bye.