Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All decked out for fall!

As much as I love summer, fall has a charm all its own!
We love our big basket of mums!
A combination of Lisa Boyer's Postcards from Hawaii and Kari Nichols' Charming Fractions.
This is what I see out the kitchen window over the sink.

                                          We're enjoying our gas fireplace on cool days. 
                                         Ceramic jack-o-lantern was a wedding gift in 1980.  Still charming!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Settling in

This brings back memories of the hundreds of hours Larry and I spent cutting my parents' grass when they lived out in Auburn.
Larry is enjoying being back on a lawnmower after a very dry summer.  We are thankful we've finally had some rain.
This is a quotation from the book "Swallows and Amazons", which was first published in 1930.  I always liked the father's response to his children's request for permission to go camping on a nearby island.
Now that we're pretty well moved in, I've had some time to sew.  I am not good with blinds, and was happy to find fabric for 50 cents per yard on the clearance rack to make curtains and a tablecloth.  (A quilted tablecloth!)
I haven't been brave enough to remove the blinds yet - that's next.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

(Almost) all moved in!

We are getting a lot of exercise running up and down the stairs as we move our things in and decided where to put them.  And then look again because we can't remember where the hundreds of things we relocated ended up.
I have a sewing room!   In it's former life this was the formal dining room, but since we don't do formal dining, a sewing room seemed like a splendid use for it.
Remember when Blogger used to have you put the last picture you wanted to display in your post, first?  It was very confusing, but in my ignorance I thought it still worked that way.  It's been a while since I have posted any photos.  I could start over, but you'll get the idea and I don't have much time.
The truck came on Wednesday, August 1 to remove the largest items.  We moved the smaller ones ourselves.

A well deserved rest after a busy week of moving.
Sun Porch
I love the big open kitchen.

As you can imagine, our cat LOVES his catwalk.
I obviously have a lot of relearning to do if I want to use Blogger.  I did want to show you our new home, but don't have time to rearrange the photos in the order I intended them to be.  Truck first, front door next,  then stairway,living room, kitchen, porch, finally, resting after a busy day.

Time to go do something.  We still have a lot of things to bring from the storage unit(s).  Take care, and enjoy the rest of the summer. (or winter if you live down under).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In which

the archaeological dig continues and it becomes abundantly clear that I have not spent nearly enough time dusting.  You have dust bunnies?  I have dust dragons.

The more time I spend packing, the less inclined I am to save things.  Yesterday we read each wedding card and then dropped it in the recycling.  When we come to the baby cards we will do the same thing.

We have two storage units that are nearly full.  When it comes time to unpack I will wonder why I thought some of those things were worth saving, and the purge will continue.

Often when cleaning in the last 32 years I would tell myself I had to put away, throw away, or give away at least 10 items every day until. . .

well that was the problem.  Until I got tired of it.  Which happened all too soon.  I used to tell myself that if we were moving there was no way I would save such-and-such.  But we weren't moving, so I did save whatever-it-was.

Now we are moving, and I think of my friend Lisa.  She moved from Kauai to Northern California.  She certainly couldn't fill up two storage units with things to haul across the ocean.  Every time I feel overwhelmed I think of Lisa.  Moving five miles down the road with no actual deadline is NOTHING compared to traveling halfway around the world with no turning back. It would be somewhat freeing to know for sure that I just had to get rid of EVERYTHING.  Less is more is sounding better and better.

We signed and signed and then signed some more yesterday, so the deed is done.  We will have a new address soon.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

New Hobby

I've been thinking about birds lately.  In particular, migratory birds and the way they relocate twice a year, sometimes hundreds of miles, and never have to pack a bag, much less a household full of furniture, dishes, and all those other things we can't get along without.  

Our plan to combine households with Larry's mother is becoming a realty.  We plan to move in about six weeks, and oh my!  It is daunting to look around at our 32 years of accumulation and decide if we REALLY need to keep all those things.   The kindergarten papers (and first grade, second grade, etc) are adorable, but do we need them?  The toys and games we've been saving in case we have grandchildren someday.  

The clothes that were in style 30 years ago, and the hundreds and hundreds of books we may want to read again.  Someday.

Of course we all know that we can't get along without the guitars - I don't even know how many there are.  Same with fabric and yarn.

The piano we've had for 30 years that no one plays.   The trombone in the attic, along with the bowling ball and golf clubs no one has used in years.

I'll be spending the next six weeks sorting, packing, cleaning, and making lots of small decisions.   I hope you have a great summer!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

I was just visiting The Yarn Harlot's blog post about procrastinating.  People commented to sympathize and encourage, and at least two people suggested she start the laundry and then go for a bike ride.  

Red Flag!

PLEASE do not ever start your washer, dryer, dishwasher, or other appliance and then leave the house.  One day I just ran across the street for five minutes to deliver dinner to a neighbor, and came home to a house full of smoke.  Our dryer malfunctioned, and if I'd been another five minutes the dryer would have been in flames. 

I know people who haven't been as fortunate, and lost their homes (at least temporarily) to a fire started by an untended appliance.   Yes, it is tempting to just let the laundry do itself while  you run some errands,  but I promise you it is not a good idea. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

                                                       Visiting Mom

Mama sits in her chair with her eyes far away
Resting there, waiting there day after day.
The stranger comes in and says, "Hi, Mom it's me."
The voice sounds familiar, but who can it be?

A day of talking and reading and let's go outside,
See the birds and the trees and the great big blue sky.
With the wheelchair it's easy to tour the grounds.
The flowers are lovely, they grow in great mounds.

Mama remembers the hymns of her youth
her soft voice is sharing the safe words of truth
Her once brilliant mind is reduced now to wisps
of things she once knew; we sigh as she slips

Into the tired old woman who wants to go home.
She doesn't remember the way to her room,
doesn't know that she lives here in 184.
With her very own lighthouse attached to the door.

Goodbye, Mom, we'll see you the next time we come,
Again bringing chocolate that makes you say, "Yum!"
This disease that is cruel has one kindness left
It lets you remember the food you like best!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I finally finished Daniel's quilt! It took me a whole month, but we've been busy. We are probably going to combine households with Larry's mom, and our brains are a swirl of all the different houses we've looked at.

We've lived here for 32 years, and as you can imagine, moving ourselves and all of our necessities - you know, fabric and such - will be a daunting task.

Every conversation begins something like this: " . . . yes, but remember the one with the lovely back yard? Well, yes, a three car garage would be nice, but the other one had such a nice sun porch." It turns out that a house that has every single appealing feature the five people involved find attractive is way beyond our means. Imagine that! Compromise is going to be involved.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Summer came early!

We are having so much fun! Summer has arrived three months early this year. Sunshine and sandals - nice! All the spring flowers have burst forth at once, a month or more ahead of schedule.

I have wanted to make this "Charming Fractions" quilt for a long time. The cat helped me select the layout. I'll show you the finished project soon, I hope.

In other news, the Martin family is planning the most amazing change. We have lived in our cozy nest for 32 years, and have almost decided to move. What a lot to think about!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So much goodness!

Just recently I was admiring this very same box on Suzanne's blog. She made it herself out of paper and lace. When I saw it on her blog in Australia, I had no idea I would be admiring it in my own house here in Ohio a week later!

It is not an empty box! It is filled with the most charming hand made cards you have ever seen. Suzanne made them herself! She has a nifty new device she uses to create beautiful things from paper.

I love them all! Isn't this butterfly card beautiful?
Don't you love this darling monster?
Each card has its own special envelope, also made by Suzanne.
What a wonderful gift this is. Thank you, Suzanne!
Another nice gift I got this week - yummy Plum Sweets! My co-worker, Linda, and my brother, Peter, both had the same idea for my birthday. You can never have too many Plum Sweets!
A friendly blog reader asked recently how my weight loss is going - well may she ask! Another co-worker gave me a box of Panera cookies, as did my son, David. We ate them up before I got to take their photos.

I posted a while ago that I had lost 48 pounds, and have to be ever vigilant to keep it off. My secret, especially with all these tempting goodies around, is to eat very low calorie meals, saving lots of calories for the good stuff! For dinner tonight I had a big plate of fresh spinach with a tiny bit of rice and a chicken tenderloin. Some crunchy carrots on the side finished up the meal. Good thing, too, since earlier in the day I ate a WHOLE BAG of Plum Sweets. Not in one sitting, mind you, and there is only one cup in the bag, but it does amount to 760 calories.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


A few years ago Larry gave me this charming painted coconut for my birthday. It is a happy reminder of the place we hope to go someday (Hawaii). I get it out for a day or two every year in March. Facebook makes having a birthday so much fun! Thanks to all who left me friendly greetings.We went to Lake Farm Park to see the quilt show again this year. We got to witness the birth of this little lamb. It was a single birth, and the baby is about twice the size of multiple birth lambs. The mama needed a little help from two charming young girls there to assist her. It took her about 30 seconds to recover from the experience, and then she carefully washed her baby off. Within twenty minutes the baby was on his (or her) feet ready to check out his new surroundings.
I understand that quilt etiquette dictates that we not publish photos of peoples' quilts without their permission ( learning that took a lot of the fun out of blogging for me) but I thought maybe one little portion would be okay. I love these colors and this skillful work
I was feeling nostalgic on my birthday this year, and remembered some birthdays past. When I was six my mom and dad gave me a Barbie doll with a case and lots of clothes and accessories. Barbie was new back then, and my friends and I had lots of fun playing Barbies.

When I was sixteen my parents gave me my own sewing machine! That was a wonderful gift because it meant I could sew whenever I had time, without having to consider if someone else (such as the rightful owner, my mom) might want to use the sewing machine.

Do you have special memories of birthdays past? I hope you'll tell us about them.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Life happens

It's been an emotional week for our family. Larry's dad died last Saturday. We're thankful that he's no longer distressed and in pain, but we miss his smile and humorous ways.The memorial service was comforting and very nice.
Larry's mom had her hip operated on yesterday, for the third time in four years. We're hoping this will be the charm that allows her to walk without pain.

She is at the Cleveland Clinic's main campus, which is a most remarkable place. I had never been there before yesterday, and was astonished by the massive size of one building covering several city blocks. They actually refer to it as many buildings (A through at least P) but since they're all under one roof I think of it as one really really big building.

Larry and I were amused by the signs: "Free exercise equipment - use the stairs." We walked up numerous flights to get to the rooftop pavilion where a yoga class was offered. When we finally made it to the top, the door was locked, so we walked down the stairs, and took the elevator back up. LOL!

We sat with Betty from our arrival time at 8:00 A.M. until she was finally taken the the operating room at 5:00 P.M. Let me tell you, I was glad to have my knitting!

She is doing well, and will go to the same place where my mom lives for her rehabilitation. She hopes to be able to go back home in a few weeks, once the bone graft becomes a nice sturdy part of the joint.

Wishing the best to you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Skirts or socks?

I love this yarn! I have purchased it in blue, pink, sunrise, and lavender. The photo of the hand knit baby skirt is adorable. . .but highly impractical. It makes wonderful socks, though! As much as I love living in our household of mostly men, I need something girly once in a while.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kindle Review

Larry gave me a Kindle electronic reader for Christmas. Isn't it a cute little thing? It's only six and a half inches long.It's four and a half inches wide.
And look how thin it is! Only one quarter of an inch thick.
It boggles my mind that this tiny device can hold lots and lots of books. Whole books! This technology is wonderful for text books. I hated when our boys had to haul around forty pound back packs full of books. This little item weighs in at five and a half ounces.

You can choose from several font sizes for the most comfortable reading. Your bookmark never falls out and gets lost, and the most amazing part is: instant gratification! If you are looking for something good to read and your own book shelves don't entice you, a quick visit to the Kindle bookstore allows you to download a book in less than a minute. Can you imagine? A whole book goes from somewhere or other right into this little Kindle.

It came in a brown cardboard box, so I decided to make it a little jacket.
with an extra pocket for the cord.
Even though I like a lot of things about the Kindle, it does have a few drawbacks. When I'm reading a good book I like to have the title of the book and the name of the author right in front of me. I can push the right button to discover the title and author, but it's not like with a book where you get to admire the artwork on the cover.

My mom was always a great one for lending books she liked to anyone who wanted to borrow them, and her four children acquired the same habit. Having a book in a Kindle makes it harder to share. If you decide you don't like the book you bought for your Kindle you can't just resell it on ebay or donate it to the library's used book sale. You can keep it or delete it.

At some point in every book I read, I flip through to read further into the book or check out the last chapter. I know that is possible with the Kindle, but I feel lucky to have learned how to download a book, change the font size, and recharge the battery. I don't know how to flip through to the last chapter.

Overall, I like this cute little reading device. I like that I can read it in bed easily. Some books are just too big and heavy to read in bed. I don't like that I may fall asleep and have it crash to the floor. That has happened with books my whole life, but I don't think it would do the Kindle any good. I doubt if I'll ever read it at the beach; sand wouldn't do it any good either.

All in all I prefer real books, but it's fun to try new things.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Getting by

With practically anything to do with computers, I know just enough to get by. I learn something new when I have to, and hope I remember it for the next time I need to use it. When someone changes some small thing I get stuck. Do you remember the quilt I made for my mom when she first showed signs of memory loss? I wanted something to keep her warm when I wasn't there, and something to show her how much I loved her even when I couldn't be where she is. That quilt kept wandering off and getting lost. I would walk past rooms when the doors were open and eventually find it and ask the staff to return it to Mom if it wouldn't upset whoever was using it. I started to make her a new one several months ago, but somehow didn't have the heart to finish it. . . until now.
This time I put her name on the back.
And then I put her name on the back again, even bigger.
Just in case. But she can't see it and doesn't know about it, and doesn't mind what kind of blanket she has as long as she's warm enough. I guess I am really doing this for me. So I know she's wrapped in something I made for her.
All this time that I haven't been blogging I've still been sewing and knitting. Just very quietly.
Wishing you, my dear blog friends, the very best.

Monday, January 2, 2012


The Cleveland Plain Dealer has invited readers to share things they remember about growing up in the Cleveland area, and some of these memories have been published over the holidays. I kept thinking it would be fun to write something, but realizing I'd left it a bit late, am delighted that my blog doesn't have deadlines.

You will be astonished to hear that I have very fond memories of going shopping (of all things!) for back to school clothes. It was the early sixties, and it was a novel experience for us when our mom drove to the Rapid Transit stop at Van Aiken. We got on the Rapid (somewhat between a train and a streetcar) and rode the swaying car into Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland. Arriving, we entered the dark terminal and made our way onto the city streets. We walked to Higbees where Sara and I tried on dresses and skirts and blouses and shoes and coats.

Our brother, Peter, must have hated those outings. He, too, had to try on school clothes, but for boys it probably wasn't much fun. Wasting a beautiful summer day hanging around stores and trying things on is my attitude toward shopping now, but back then it was just plain fun. It may have something to do with the outstanding service. In that place and time if you inquired about raincoats you would either be escorted to the rainwear department, or someone would bring several for you to try on.

Higbees had a a delightful dining room where we ate chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. To this day I still feel special when I am eating a chicken salad sandwich!

After lunch we would venture over to Halle's, the other big department store in Cleveland. There we would get anything we hadn't been able to find at Higbee's. When we were finished in each department, my mom would ask the clerk to "have it sent". Such luxury! Going shopping without having to haul around your purchases. A few days later the big brown UPS truck would pull up in front of our house where the driver would deliver our school clothes.

By the mid sixties we no longer went on those outings. It was much cheaper and easier to shop locally, but I do have very fond memories of those trips into the city to shop at those wonderful stores, which have now been closed for decades.