Yearly Archives: 2022

Little of This, Little of That

Life in western Washington is going well. The house is shaping up and starting to feel like home. I wanted to check in and share a bit about the past couple of weeks.

It has been many months since I sat at a sewing machine for any reason. No quilting, mending or sewing has been enjoyed since who knows when? Maybe January or February?

Clearly, this had to be fixed. I spent an evening shuffling bins and plastic totes around to create a path to the corner of the sewing room.

For the time being, I set up a folding table in the corner to hold the machine. I have a sewing table where I can drop the machine down which is great but it is currently in pieces and one of the pieces was damaged in the move. At some point Ray will fix it, but for now, this is good enough. I have a wonderful view of the yard and room to sew.

Love these birds!

Currently I am working on matching summer dresses for H and A. After moving all of the fabric tubs to the wall, it became painfully clear how much fabric I have. So, time to use it up!!

I was honored to attend the Mother’s Day Tea at H’s preschool a week ago. She was so excited. My daughter-in-law has a very inflexible schedule and the preschool didn’t give enough notice for her to arrange to be there. So I was the substitute. A sign of the times though; I was certainly not the only Grammy filling in. For a class of 16 children, there were three grandmas in attendance. I had so much fun with this sweet girl.

Not that the guest bathroom is a very exciting topic to write about but I did want to show you how cute my rag rug looks in there! I knew it would fit somewhere. Also, isn’t that flooring cool? It is tile but looks like wood.

My sister and I met for a long walk and a coffee last week. It was gorgeous out. I had not seen these silly chairs before so we took each other’s picture in them. Who is thinking of Edith Ann now? Just showed my age there… ‘and that’s the truth.’ 🙂

Springtime is here – at least as far as the azaleas are concerned. It has actually been quite cool and rainy. But these gorgeous shrubs are not bothered in the least. They are so pretty!

It took no time for the girls to make a mess in the play room last week. We had them for a short while when their parents were out buying some equipment for their latest hobby, beekeeping. H and A settled right in and we had a lot of fun. It is just nuts that we can do this all the time!!

I will be back soon to share the dresses I am working on. Hoping all of you are doing well. Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me how you are!

Starting to Feel Like Home

We have been in the new house since April 7th! Oh my gosh – we are in love with this Our neighborhood is quiet (other than a few dogs who like to bark a lot), the weather is strange (changes so fast from rain to snow to hail to blue skies and sunshine – all in the course of a couple of hours sometimes), the proximity to lots of beaches makes us so happy, and most of all – we are so close to lots of family members!

My move in helpers

We had been here a couple of days when my son and these two silly girls came to spend a day. They had not seen the house yet. It was such fun. We had not unpacked much at all so they found some hiding places in the kitchen.

Who needs toys?

We didn’t yet have any toys available yet; all I could find for them was a stack of post-it notes and a pen. They were happy for quite some time. Simple pleasures.

So cozy.

While little sister was napping, we had some time to read. Luckily she had brought some books. If this isn’t reason enough to spend months on end packing and selling a house, buying a house, driving up and unpacking for days, then nothing is!

The day after the girls went home, I started feeling crummy and yep – they shared their cold with me. Sigh. This wasn’t great timing since we had loads of boxes arriving. So I got into a routine of unpack a bit, take a nap, unpack more and then nap some more.

Easter celebration

By Easter Sunday, I was feeling much better. My son and his wife hosted a wonderful dinner. It was so fun to be able to see so much family for the afternoon. Big sister is now the proud owner of an old digital camera of her mom’s. She takes loads of pictures with it and set up this group shot (instructing us to have the short people in the front and the tall people in the back – hahaha). But then she took this one shot and everyone looks pretty darn good. How many times do we work so hard for a group photo, taking shot after shot and this five year old takes one shot, and it is a good one.

Check out my sewing space.

This room has been ignored since we arrived. There have been too many other things to work on. Hopefully this week I can begin to get it put together. The biggest issue is lack of shelving. I had built-in shelves in our last house. This is a bonus room so there isn’t even a bedroom closet. I am going to have to buy shelves, lots of shelves. Then I need to start using some of this fabric!!! I cannot wait – It has been months since I sat at a sewing machine. My sewing machine will sit in the corner by the windows. The view out those windows is of our back yard and it will be so nice to sit there.

Yesterday morning we had sunshine and no indication of rain. We took walk in the morning on a rocky beach about 20 minutes from the house. Ray and I are still in vacation mode when we walk on the beach. Seems like we should be heading home. Beaches have always been vacation places for us, not somewhere we can walk whenever we please!

Now you all have the latest and greatest from the Pacific Northwest where I am starting to feel at home. Yahoo!

Mercyful Quilts, Moving and the Cutest T-Ball Player Ever

You guys – we are close, so very close to being done with the house in California. We sign papers for the close next week and have a final walk through with the new owners and then we are heading up to Washington. It is just amazing! This has been the focus of life for so long. We are so excited to be nearing completion and so ready to move into the new house!

Much of the house looks like this! There is still a lot to be loaded into the last Pod and we have some movers coming to help with that next week.

Spring break is here in California. Julia went on a trip to New York to spend time with her brother and sister-in-law who live there. She seems to be having a blast. They have walked many miles and she has seen a lot. I am not exactly sure how she is suddenly an adult and able to travel across the country on her own. It is mind boggling because wasn’t it only last week she was twelve years old???

This sweet girl had her first T-Ball practice yesterday. She loved it. Today she went to a thrift shop and got some cleats which (obviously) make her run much, much faster. This grammy is pretty excited to go watch some fast paced T-Ball action once we get up there!

Last October this beautiful quilt was donated to Mercyful Quilts. It came from Deb in California. You might remember that the families of patients are offered the opportunity to choose a quilt as they say good bye to their loved one.

This quilt was chosen by a woman for her husband. One thing that makes this extra special to me is that the young man who passed away was an organ donor. This quilt was laid upon him as he was taken on the Honor Walk to surgery for organ donation. During this last walk, all available staff, and any family who is able to, line the hallway used to take the patient to the OR to show respect and gratitude for the gift being given by this person. This touches me deeply.

Clearly he and his family felt the great importance of organ donation and what that means to our community, giving to others, and being selfless. In a (much smaller) way, we quilters hold these same values when we make quilts for people we will never know and offer them up, being selfless, showing how much we value community and giving to others. This young guy passed away far too soon and will not be here to raise the baby they are expecting. I hope this quilt will bring comfort to his wife and maybe someday to their child.

As always, thank you for continuing to support Mercyful Quilts. Truly, these quilts you make and donate bring such comfort to people at a time when it is deeply needed. If you are participating in Hands2Help this year, Mercyful Quilts is one of the very fortunate recipients of quilts this year. We want to thank you all in advance for possibly choosing us to receive a quilt. For more information on this year’s event, click here and you’ll be taken over to Academic Quilter.

I am guessing that the next time I post, I will be a Washington resident! Yikes, that is so exciting!!

Home Selling and Buying

Oh my gosh – so much is going on around here! As you know, we have been working to get our house ready to sell. So it was listed and sold in 7 days. We are in escrow but all inspections are done and we are just waiting for the title company to do it’s thing and that sale will be complete.

Ray and I, in front of our new house.

On the other side of the process, we have also bought a house! This is the second house we put an offer on, but as is often said, things work out as they are supposed to. The first house we tried for was beautiful but on a small-ish 1/4 acre lot. The day after we didn’t get that house, we found this other house sitting on 2.3 acres. That is much more our style! It took a lot of back and forth with the seller’s agent but we all came to an agreement. It was a migraine-inducing, nail biting process but it is done, and this house will be ours on April 13th!! One month from now. Woohoo! The best part is the house is 15 minutes from two of my sisters. It is also 1 1/4 hours from my son and his family. The grand kids are excited and we are too! Cannot wait!

Now I want to share something kind of cute with you. When we were getting our house ready to sell, the plants were not in their best form since it is winter time. So I wanted to mark some of the areas for the buyers to let them know what plants they will have.

I went to the hardware store and asked if I could buy some paint stir sticks. The clerk smiled and said I could have them free. So that was very sweet of him. Anyway, I took them and gave them a coat of paint on the top half. Once dry, I used a sharpie to mark the name of various plants I wanted to point out. My printing is usually childlike and very slanted or crooked so I didn’t even try to go for neat and straight. Instead I put the letters all over the place so it might look intentionally off-set.

I did put some clear finish over the plant markers though I honestly don’t know how they will hold up against strong sunlight and the water from the drippers and sprayers. The immediate need was just to mark the plants for the potential buyers touring the property. I did get some nice feedback from realtors saying their clients liked seeing these in the garden. It is hard to leave this piece of property after years and years of developing it.

We have been up in Washington for about 10 days now. While here, we were able to celebrate both grand daughters birthdays. I can hardly believe they are 2 and 5 years old!

A very happy five year old!

After a day of cake and presents, this little girl lost her first tooth. It was truly a fantastic day!

Look at her round cheeks!!

She really enjoyed her birthday and when asked how old she is, she can hold up her two fingers. I have to tell you that her birthday cake came from Costco and it was really good.

We are heading back down to California tomorrow. After we finish packing and give the house a once over for the new owners, we will head back up to Washington. I will share pictures of the house after we get there. It is so fun to think of how we will set things up – of course one of the biggest decisions is where the sewing room will be! Life is changing these days and it is so exciting!

Hands 2 Help 2022 & Mercyful Quilts

I am guessing this isn’t news to all quilters who happily participate in Hands 2 Help each year but the event is being coordinated by Mari of Academic Quilter this year. Sarah has a lot going on right now and rather than having to skip a year of making quilts for deserving people and organizations, Mari has stepped in and is hosting the whole event! We are all grateful to Mari for taking this on but most especially grateful are the staff and families at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, California. To read the details about this year’s Hand 2 Help event, hop over to this post by Academic Quilter.

Mercyful Quilts was started back in November of 2018 by me and my friend Patty, a nurse at Mercy Hospital. There are many posts on my blog about Mercyful Quilts and you can look through them by clicking on Mercyful Quilts at the top of this page.

Patty and me – Celebrating all of the quilts donated to Mercy Hospital!

If you haven’t heard about Mercyful Quilts, we make and donate lap size quilts for Mercy Hospital. These quilts are given to families who are saying goodbye to a loved one who is currently in the hospital. Mercy treats adults only so we cannot use juvenile themes for our quilts. The patients are male, female, older adults, young adults, ore sometimes veterans. It is helpful for us to have a wide variety of quilts with a variety of colors and styles. Family members are invited to choose a quilt and use it to cover their loved one. They stay with the person throughout the dying process. The family will keep the quilt as a remembrance of their special person.

A stack of Mercyful Quilts

Reminder of the requirements for Mercyful Quilts:

Lap Size – this is very flexible. So anything from 50″ x 50″ up to 75″ or so. Square or rectangle – whatever works for your design is great for us.

Look – Please feel free to use your imagination. We have received so many gorgeous quilts and each has a unique look to it. From modern designs with bold color, to sweet soft florals or maybe fishing and western motifs, they are all appreciated. It is great when a family member sees a quilt and says ‘Oh, this is just perfect for my dad, mom, sister, brother.’ That is just what we hope for!

Labels – This is left up to the quilter. If you want to put a label, great. If not, that is fine too.

Laundering – please wash and dry your quilt before sending it. Do not use any scented laundry soaps, fabric softener, or dryer sheets. These are used in a hospital setting so as close to scent free as we can be please. After washing, give the quilt a quick once over to be sure no seams have frayed. Now and then there might be a fray at the binding. When I see this, I hand stitch it. If you could check though, that is so helpful.

There has been a change in our process that I need to let you know about. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I will soon be moving up to Washington state. I hope to continue to work with Mercy Hospital as I think the program is wonderful. If you have donated previously, please do NOT mail the quilts to me. Going forward, they will be mailed to my friend Patty who is a nurse involved in the program. When you have a quilt to send, let me know and I will send her mailing information to you. I have found using the flat rate, large size box to be the least expensive way to mail a quilt.

I think that sums up our program and what we need in the way of quilts. Please feel free to read through the other Mercyful Quilt posts if you’d like to. Thank you all for considering donating a quilt to Mercy Hospital. These quilts bring comfort to families at a time of deep sorrow. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy quilting all!!

Life in Pictures

Since I haven’t been sewing or quilting, I thought I would just show you what I have been up to. In our house, we only have to look at our phones, scan through the photos and we have instant reminders of what we are working on. Here we go!

Ray and I thought it would be nice to have a book made showing our property during all four seasons of the year. Since we are listing it for sale this week, during the winter months, the plants are not at their best. Blooms will be here soon but we both think the property has so much to offer throughout the year and we want potential buyers to know this.

Fall Pictures

Here is a sample page – the left is a photo of the lake on the edge of our property during autumn. My son took this picture a couple of years ago and it is one of our favorites. The right side shows one of the Japanese Maples we have. It is stunning each year.

Yuk!

Also in preparation for selling, we have been staging various areas. We needed clean chairs to put out on the gazebo so buyers could sit and enjoy the lake for a minute. These white, plastic chairs were stacked up and left out all year. But I got out my handy Magic Eraser and…………………

What a difference!

TaDa!! I do love Magic Erasers – but I will let you in on my frugal secret. I buy the generic packages of them on Amazon. They work great and are so much less expensive.

Our little eating nook in the kitchen.

More staging – I wanted a bright table cloth for this little table in the kitchen. Look what I found at the thrift shop. It is so cute and came with six napkins. Quite a steal at $6.00 for the whole set.

See my clean chairs?

Over the weekend our realtor had a photographer/videographer come out and take a million photos of the house and property. I can’t wait to see the final results! This shot is of him taking photos of the lake. He also used a drone to fly overhead and video the property. Technology is amazing.

Do you label your shampoo and conditioner?

I wear glasses so when I am in the shower, I can’t really tell the shampoo from the conditioner. More than once, I have mistaken one for the other. Well last week I actually mistook the body wash for conditioner and put a big dollop on my hair. What a pain. It took sooo long to rinse it out of my hair. So as soon as I got out of the shower I grabbed a sharpie and marked the bottles. Hoping this issue is now resolved!!

Have you all been playing Wordle? It seems to be quite the popular on-line game these days. My kids and I play each morning and share our scores. It is a fun way to say good morning to each other. The New York Times recently bought the game from the man who developed it. Our guess is eventually the game won’t be free any longer. To play the games on the New York Times, a person has to subscribe. So our Wordle days are numbered. There are other knock-offs which are fun but it isn’t the same if everyone isn’t playing to solve the same puzzle. Oh well. We will just enjoy it until then.

Mama and her twins

This story is from Julia. She is taking a class in lamb production. Right now it is lambing season so they are busy watching the mamas who are giving birth, making sure the babies are well taken care of. This mama had twins and was really only paying attention to one of the babies (the one in front). Anyway, the manager of the unit wanted to have the mama and her babies inside so she could keep an eye on the three of them. The mama was less than cooperative about going to the barn. So the manager took her favorite baby and bribed the mama all the way back to the barn. She walked ahead of the mama with the baby right in front of the sheep’s face and she would follow. The poor second lamb just followed along. Animals are pretty interesting; I love the stories Julia tells me.

This sweet girl is such a free spirit. I love looking at the outfits she chooses. Here she is taking a walk, using what might look like a pinwheel but is really her “cumulonimbus cloud detector” which keeps “losing signal because of the trees” to study the clouds. The child lives in her own little world and sometimes I am envious of this.

A future farmer?

My son was given a non-working tractor to play around with. He is enjoying the project and plans to rebuild it. This girl is sure she can help him. She loves it!

OK – that is enough for now. Hope all of you are doing well! I have to say I am enjoying the book suggestions everyone left in the comments from my last post. If you haven’t read it, click here. There are so many great books to read.

Books, 49 in 2021

In the beginning of 2021 I decided to keep track of what I read through the year. Not for any real reason other than to encourage myself to read more. I keep a list on my phone of books people recommend as well as a list on Instagram of books I see there.

It turned out to be a fun thing to keep track of. I like looking back and seeing the various books I read and loved (such as Cold Sassy Tree, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Turtles All the Way Down and Four Winds). Then there are the books I read and didn’t love (such as Educated, A Day Like This and The Handmaiden and the Carpenter). Special mention for The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. If you haven’t read this and are in my age range, give it a try. It is a hilarious and sometimes serious memoir for growing up in the 1960’s. This was my second time through it and just as enjoyable as the first time!

I know Educated was super popular and what the main character overcame is truly amazing. But for me that book just went on for too long. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it. So I decided not to finish it. As for The Handmaiden and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg, that was a strange read for me. I have read and loved just about everything Berg has written and read many of the books more than once. So during the holidays I thought it would be fun to read her interpretation of the Christmas Story. But I couldn’t get into her perception of Mary and Joseph. It felt very strange to me. This book seems to be one that people love or don’t- and I didn’t.

Sometime during the year, I picked up a stack of novels by Elin Hildebrand at the local used book store. I read them and they are ok. But very light – lots of fluff. Now that I have read a few of them, they are feeling formulaic and I think I am done with her for a while!

I will be keeping track this year as well. It has been crazy busy so the list hasn’t been too long for the start of 2022 but I am sure as things calm down, I will have more time to read. Currently I am enjoying Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.

If you are a reader, and I know many of you are, share some of your favorites in the comments. I love having a list of suggestions!

JANUARY-

Three Junes, by Julia Glass

Heal Your Headache, by David Buchholz

Before You Go, by Elizabeth Berg

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris (audio)

The Tenth Circle, by Jodi Piccoult

All He Ever Wanted, by Anita Shreve

Something Rising, by Haven Kimmel

FEBRUARY-

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel, by Ruth Hogan

The Innocent, by Harlan Coben

Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns

How to be Cool, by Johanna Edwards

MARCH-

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

Happiness Sold Separately, by Lilly Winston

What to Keep, by Rachel Cline

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris 

Looking For Alaska, by John Green

APRIL-

Accused, by Lisa Scottoline

Betrayed, by Lisa Scottoline

Frederick Douglas’ memoir

MAY-

Redhead by the Side of the Road, By Ann Tyler 

Water Witches, by Chris Bohjalian

Summer of ‘69, by Elin Hildebrand

Fly Away, by Kristin Hannah

JUNE-

I See You Everywhere, by Julia Glass

7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Associate, by John Grisham 

JULY-

Big Little Lies, by Lianne Moriarty

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

AUGUST –

Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah

28 Summers, by Elin Hildebrand

Barefoot, by Elin Hildebrand

The Ugly Cry, by Danielle Henderson

SEPTEMBER- 

The Atlas of Love, Laurie Frankel

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson

Educated- 1/2 way but didn’t like it enough to finish it.

OCTOBER –

I didn’t record anything. Not sure what happened here and I can’t remember what I read! It was a very busy month – so who knows? Maybe I didn’t actually finish a book.

NOVEMBER-

The Island, by Elin Hildebrand

A Day Like This, by Kelley McNeill

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Harvest, by Tess Garritson (Audio)

DECEMBER

Where or When, by Anita Shreve

The Art of Mending, by Elizabeth Berg

Home Safe, by Elizabeth Berg

Strange Fits of Passion, by Anita Shreve

One By One, by Ruth Ware

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett (audio)

The Handmaiden and the Carpenter, by Elizabeth Berg

Just Checking In

Somehow it is nearing the last part of January and I haven’t sat down even once to write a post. Crazy times here in my part of the world. Last we chatted, there was a snow storm and power outage in our community. Well, let’s just say it was one crazy time. So many people were out of power, propane, internet and cell service for days, turning into weeks. In some ways, the huge annoyance of it all really brought people together. There were lots of people who literally could not get out off their property. People who had no heat or way to cook. This lasted so long. One woman in our area started cooking for others and just had locals sign up to help or to receive food as needed. She really amazed me. Within a short time, she had a team of people who drove to other parts of the area and delivered hot meals. There was also a team of men who had chainsaws and volunteered to chop trees that were blocking driveways or leaning on rooftops. Yep, quite the crazy time but people rallied.

My parents were without power for 12 days. That is a long, long time to live with wood stove heat and a little generator to keep the fridge cold. They slept at our house but their days without power were long and difficult. The silver lining was we got to have some lovely dinners shared with my mom and dad. It was one long slumber party! We had lots of long chats about our impending move to the state of Washington and now my parents are considering moving up there too! Yahoo!!

Checking out a map of the state of Washington.

Life is back on track now but there is so much to be cleaned up – anywhere I drive, I see yards with huge trees lying across the property. Piles and piles of debris are everywhere and the county is trying to keep up with all of this.

Ray and I have been sorting and purging so much stuff. How did we end up with all of this?? I have made trip after trip to donate carloads of items to the local thrift stores. Yet the garage is quickly filling with packed boxes. I would estimate we are 75% packed which feels good. We are using Pods to move – basically filling these storage containers which are then stored for us until we are at the next house. They will be delivered to that house when we request it. These make for an interesting moving process that is convenient and fairly affordable. Interior painting is done, and carpet cleaning is scheduled which means we are getting close to listing the house.

Julia in her happy place! Newborn piglets.

After way too much packing, cleaning and sorting, Ray and I decided to get away and go visit Julia. Her university is about 350 miles south so it’s a bit of a drive. But wow – what a difference it makes!

One of the animal units on campus.

Seeing green, rolling hills on every side were a refreshing change from our damaged hillsides. This was taken on a walk through the beef unit on campus.

Montana De Oro bluffs.

We also took a short drive to the beach and wandered the trail along this bluff. The waves were quite dramatic that morning! We took sandwiches and had a picnic on the beach after our walk.

Books, books everywhere!

In the late afternoon, Julia and I masked up and walked over to Phoenix Books, a used bookstore near the house we were renting. Is this crazy or what?!? This is just one corner but books were everywhere. Of course I found the quilting section and it was huge. The books were shelved so tightly it was quite difficult to look at them. The cookbook section was a lot of fun too. So many great books everywhere. Using great self-control, I bought only one thin book because anything I brought home would be one more thing to pack! The bookshop reminded me of a quilt fabric shop called Obie’s Country Store that I visited some years ago in Pennsylvania. It had the same weirdly crowded vibe. I wrote about it here.

After the long weekend, we are back at home and trying to get through a bit more packing. We meet with the realtor next week to make a plan for the next steps. Today I need to clean up the last bits in the sewing area. I have kept it somewhat available thinking I might have time to do a bit of sewing here and there but that has not happened. I think I will pack everything but one quilt I have been working on – just in case I can do a bit of FMQ on it.

To soothe that insistent need to be making something, I have been teaching myself to crochet in the evenings. YouTube is the best and I have been having fun watching tutorials and playing with yarn. It is relaxing and for me, it seems easier than knitting.

Leaving you with a picture of H, just before her first dance class. She is so excited to be taking dance with one of her neighborhood friends. What a sweet girl.

OK – time to wrap this up and get busy! Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. Our area is still experiencing quite the post holiday surge. So wear those masks and be careful!