The Garden Is So Pretty Right Now

We are loving the garden right now!  Flowers are blooming and birds and butterflies are everywhere.  We have been picking green beans and peppers for meals and nothing tastes better than fresh from the garden.  I planted two large pots of fresh herbs and they are producing like crazy right now.  I have never had dill grow as well as my dill this year.  I should really be canning pickles.

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The Hummingbird Quilt

Here’s the block I teased you with in my last post.  The birds have been added as well as some embroidery embellishments.

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Here’s a peek at fifteen of the sixteen blocks in this quilt.  I am appliqueing the last bird on that block and then I can finish assembling the top.  I have all of the flowers cut out that will go on the border.  I see a light at the end of this tunnel.

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“Buds”

I am a member of an amazing group, The Feather Princess Applique Guild, here in Florida.  This guilds focus is applique and I have learned so much from the many talented members.  Every few years they sponsor a quilt show that highlights the quilts and related projects members have made.  As part of the show each member is expected to contribute a miniature quilt that will be displayed and then auctioned off during show weekend.  I finished my donation miniature quilt today.  One of the requirements is that the quilt have a label with the name of the quilt, year made and maker.   I never name my quilts and I have made over two hundred of them since I started quilting forty five years ago.  Some of them got labels but most did not.  It isn’t that I  think it’s a bad idea.  It is because someday someone will be looking at a quilt I made and wondering about the maker.  I think that I always have at least one or two (or more) ideas for the next project rattling around in my brain.  By the time I am sewing on the binding I am ready to try a new pattern or a new technique and not designing and sewing a label gets me to that step a little quicker.  Anyway, that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

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My miniature is done and I can turn it in.  Now I can check that project off of my “To Do” list and get back to my Hummingbird Quilt which I would like to assemble and quilt so I can display it in the show next February.

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This is a teaser on one of the sixteen blocks in the quilt.  This one needs two hummingbirds appliqued onto it as well as the embroidery embellishments.  I am so loving this quilt!

Easter

We had a lovely Easter Sunday dinner with family this year.  Out came the good china that Tom bought for his mother forty five years ago.  Out came my grandmothers silver plate and the good linens.  Over came the family all dressed up for the occasion.  Easter ham was served along with all the accompaniments that we look forward to.  I baked herb crescent rolls and hot cross buns.  Mashed potatoes, honey glazed baby carrots and sugar snap peas rounded out the meal.  Christy made a refreshing lemon ice box cake dessert with fresh strawberries.

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As a child growing up and for most of my adult life we had my Polish grandmothers recipe of Borscht for Easter dinner.  Hot beet soup made with stock from simmering the ham and the smoked Polish sausage.  Cubed ham, sliced smoked Polish sausage, sliced hard cooked eggs  and fresh ground horseradish go into the bowls and then the soup made with the broth, sliced canned beets and sour cream is ladled on top.  The soup served with a nice slice of home made dark rye bread was and still is one of my favorite meals.  Unfortunately,  my kids and grands aren’t as fond of it so we stick to the basics for them.  Thank goodness my sisters love me and freeze a container for me.

We played dominoes before and after dinner and laughed a lot.  It was a very good day.

What makes the holidays special for you?  What foods make you long for your childhood?

Projects- Checking Them Off The List

It’s nearly the end of strawberry season in Florida.  My daughter and grandson went picking this past weekend and picked two gallons of berries for us.  I  cleaned them and froze some for smoothies.  This big bowlful is ready to be made into a batch of strawberry jam for us to enjoy in the months ahead.   My favorite recipe for jam is the one I got from The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.  Tom and I had breakfast there one year as we started a trip down the Natchez Trace.IMG_0117

It’s hard for the northerners to understand that it is winter here in Florida.  When you come from the land of ice and snow and see palm trees and flowers you assume that there is no change of seasons.  That was certainly my thought before we moved here full time.  There are definite changes between the seasons here as there are in northern areas.  You just need to know what to look for.  The huge oak trees here are stubborn about dropping their leathery leaves from last year.  It’s the new leaves sprouting that finally force them from the tree.  We are raking leaves here in March instead of October, but we are still raking leaves.  Flowers like geraniums which are summer heat flowers in the north die off here in the summer.  It is too hot for them.  The air smells amazing right now because the citrus trees are blooming and the scent is almost overpowering in it’s intensity.

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Now onto projects completed.  I gave my mom a fat quarter bundle and a pattern for her birthday.  I saw this cute little tote bag at http://www.sewsmartonline.com and loved it.  Mom got sick, had surgery and needed a long recovery.  So I sewed up her birthday gift project for her.  I love the way it turned out the photo really doesn’t do it justice.  The white portion is really four different but similar cream fabrics.  Hmmm,  perhaps I should sew another.  I can check this to do off of my list.

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Several years ago I had lunch in a little Tea Room  near here.  All the tea pots were quilted cozy’s to keep the beverage warm.  After a little study I went home and developed my own pattern.  I have made several of them over the years including the red and gold pictured below.  Recently, a friend asked me to sew one up for her.  I couldn’t get her to choose a color or fabric so I chose this fabric in the cozy on the left.  They are padded and lined with a coordinating fabric.  I think she’ll like it.

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So that crosses another project off of my to do list.   I have several more to complete before the end of the month so stay tuned.

Sunday Cookie Class – Daughter Love

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Every few months my daughter hosts a cookie decorating class with all donations going to the Honor Flight Project.  I usually sign up for a fun afternoon of chatting with her friends  and making all of these cute cookies.  They change by the season and today they celebrated strawberries and spring time.   More than anything else it is an opportunity to support her.  Her dad and I are so proud of the amazing daughter, wife, mom and person that she is.  We get so busy living that we often take things for granted.  Usually it’s the people in our lives that matter the most that we don’t show our appreciation to.  I’d like to go on the record to say how much we love you Toots!

Garden Patio Update

While I was in Milwaukee visiting family, Tom was busy at home working in our back yard.  When we bought this house the entire back yard was a garden.  It was gorgeous and one of the reasons we bought this house.  The reality of this huge garden was that it required constant vigilant care.  The reality of our lives is that we still travel quite a bit and every time we arrived back home we found a jungle that had completely taken over the yard and house.

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We had to make a decision to stay home and make the garden a priority or rework the actual garden area so that we could leave from time to time.  So Tom designed a new area that removed flower beds and replaced them with patio blocks.

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Our son in law was amazing as a helper for Tom.  I would guess that by the time they moved and spread four tons of gravel and then sand their muscles were crying uncle.  After that was done and leveled it was time to move all those bricks to the back yard.

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The area is looking great!  We still have some landscaping to do but for now we are just enjoying what is complete.

Grandma Day

Veda was all mine for the day.  We went shopping and looked at girly girl dresses.  We bought new tights and a frilly headband.  New books went into the cart as well and we had story time later in the day.  Little fingers and toes got painted a very pretty rose pink.

We met my sister Genevieve at my parents house and had an afternoon of sewing teddy bears.  In between all of our projects we had time for dancing.  Veda has quite a few moves and Gen gave it a good try but she couldn’t quite keep up with Vedas dance moves.

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On a sad note, we lost my sister in law this winter and mom brought home a selection of her scrubs.  We cut them up using McCalls Craft pattern 6188 and are sewing bears for all of Debbie’s children and grandchildren.

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The pattern sews up quite easily and we know the children will love having these memory of their mom/grandma.  It has also been healing therapy for those of us that are missing her in our lives.

Family

Four plus years ago our little Veda came into our lives and she has been dancing around our hearts ever since.  Andy has morphed into a pretty amazing dad and we are so proud of him.

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Veda and Max are the heart beats that his life revolves around and his patience is seemingly unlimited.  That he learned from his dad because I certainly cannot count patience on my asset list.

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Yesterday I was able to get to Vedas dance class.  This little girl tucks her hand in mine and melts my heart just like her daddy has done for all these years.

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Family!

Oak Creek In The Winter?

My mom has been ill and so back to Oak Creek I flew for a little while.  Back to the area where I grew up and where there are definitely four seasons each year.  Florida is in the eighties and it is snowing here.  Three of my sisters live near dad and mom and they have been amazing caregivers.  Dad and mom are getting a little older and they need a little more care.  Sister Marge is off to Aruba for two weeks on a well deserved trip that has been a year in the planning.  I told her I would fly up to help with her part of things so she could relax on her trip.  I actually ended up flying in a week earlier because moms surgery recovery was not going well.  They needed me to play bad cop and get her motivated.  You that know me understand that statement.

The good news is that mom is home from her extended hospital stay and on the mend.  That means I can run around town a bit and catch up with our son and his family as well as some lifelong friends.  I might even be able to sneak in a stop at a local quilt shop.