For years I kept journals -- in composition, spiral bound, and French graph paper books. This blog is an attempt to get back to writing and documenting the world around me using photos, newspaper headlines, and other articles.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Project(s) Update

I finished my first quilt where I designed the pattern, pieced the top, quilted it all together and bound it myself!  I feel accomplished and sooooooo satisfied.  I'm so grateful for Christa Watson of Christa Quilts and her machine quilting workshop.  I gained the confidence to try the quilting myself and I am so happy that I did.

Embassy Windows -- finished!

I had been feeling so lethargic and plain sad after the election.  I made it through my days, but felt like I was wading through molasses.  After work and getting dinner on the table, I didn't have any energy for sewing.  On Friday, with the Veteran's Day holiday, I turned a corner.  To get my sewing mojo, I tackled a few of The Splendid Sampler blocks that had been piling up in my absence.

First I tackled Bows designed by Jane Davidson.  Her original patter was paper pieced.  I reworked it so that I could piece it regularly.  I love how the intersection of her four bow blocks came together and I made sure that I kept that aspect when I reworked it.  I also added another 1/4" to all the outside pieces so that I would have better odds of getting a true 6 1/2" block.  Sometimes my seams are bigger than a scant 1/4" and my block ends up a hair small.  I really find this block beautiful and my fabric choices were "on point" as my son would say.

Bows designed by Jane Davidson

Next up was Little Things by Jacquelynne Steves.  I knew when her pattern appeared that my version of her block would be pink and gray, like my china and place mats that I made previously.  I've lugged some of those scraps through all my many moves these past 25 years.  I love the block!

Adding my tea cup and place mat to the photo. 

Little Things designed by Jacquelynne Steves

Feeling that I could continue, I trimmed my Embassy Windows quilt and pinned the binding.  Every stage of this quilt has been fun. I think the binding fabric was a good choice.  I like that it is dark and the dots fit right in with the rest of the fabrics.

After returning from Selim's soccer team farewell dinner, I sewed on the binding.  I didn't want to  take my sewing machine to Mom's on Saturday, so I felt really good to have the binding on and ready for the hand sewing part.

Saturday morning I had a couple of hours before heading out and I finished two more blocks.  A Taste for Giving  by Joan Ford was so fun.  I love her canning jars.  My fabric for this sampler quilt didn't have food prints, so I went with pink and blue.  And I do more freezing than canning...but I still loved the block.  Instead, imagine that these are jars of freezer jam, strawberry and blueberry.

A Taste for Giving  designed by Joan Ford

The last one of the morning was Jersey by Carrie Nelson.  I'm not sure where I went wrong on her block with either my cutting or following the directions.  But I had to remake the flying geese parts of the block because the first time they were 1/4" too short.  I switched methods and paper pieced them instead.  Second time around worked like a charm.  I love this block too.  There is something so sweet about it.

Jersey designed by Carrie Nelson

I spent much of Saturday afternoon on Mom's couch, hand sewing.  I didn't expect to get it all done in one day.  But I did!  And then today, after lunch, I took it out for a photo shoot. Woo-hoo!

The green goes great with the new siding.

Draped over the rocks by the Hall.

Matching lichen and rock colors to the quilt.

Straight line quilting

All folded up!

Next up: curtains for the man cave.  Now that the leaves are off the trees, it is easy to look right in the windows from the road.  I told my hubby that I would work on those over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Now that I'm back in the groove, I should be able to knock those off before the end of the year.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Still Life with Hypervenom

I'm not supposed to call them Hypervenoms or Nike Hypervenom.  I should be referring to them as Neymar Jordans.  Only Moms who are lame call them by all 4 names: Nike Hypervenom Neymar Jordans.  Delivery occurred at 6:29 this evening.  My child is ecstatic.

Here's the deal.  I have not bought him his indoor cleats of choice because I can't see paying over $100 for shoes that he will outgrow in mere months.  I've put this off for over a year.  My feeling is that if I am going to be spending that much money for shoes, they better be beautiful heals in super soft leather, not indoor soccer cleats.  But that is the difference between the 12 year old boy and myself.

For his birthday this year I had no idea what to say when folks asked me what they could get him.  Everything he wanted was expensive.  So his relatives gave him cash and that was the best thing.  He went online; found the shoes he wanted and I placed the order.  He has been tracking the package progress for days.  Yesterday the box was in Chelmsford, MA with today as the delivery day.  When he got home from school, no box.  We left for soccer practice, no box.  We arrived back home two hours later, no box and he was starting to get a little "salty" in his words.  Not swearing, salty...just cranky, salty.  After putting away the groceries, at 6:35, I pulled up the tracking email.  Package delivered at 6:29.  He ran downstairs and out the door.  And there, tucked into the shadow of the garage, he found the brown box.

I thought I heard the hallelujah chorus.

And so, here is my still life with shoe montage that he reverently set up for me.  I think he will take them off before least I hope so.

Can you see the bag in the background?

Did you get the swag key chain?

Side view

And the bottom 'cause it's so cool

Shoe with foot inside, a great fit


Mom, did you get the back?

Wearing the Neymar jersey and "boots" 
May you score many goals and be happy!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Happy Birthday, Selim!

You are my Turkish warrior boy, soccer player, cuddle partner extraordinaire, errand running companion, part water boy - part fish, loving, cute, helpful, energetic, kind, light of my life, child of mine.  I am forever thankful that you have come into my life and enriched it in ways I never imagined.

We extended the birthday celebrations this year.  Dede John and Grammy Valerie came on Saturday afternoon.  Sunday after your soccer game we started the festivities and had pizza and ice cream cones.

Today, Nan came over and we wolfed down tacos before soccer practice. But, oh, that guacamole was good.  And then after you had run that off on the soccer pitch,  we savored pumpkin pie and whipped cream.  It was a good day.

I look forward to another year of fun, adventure, quiet times, conversation, silly games, homework and school projects, soccer games and practice, and watching you grow up!  Thank you for being you.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Dearest Bebek

My Dear Bebek,

I thought about you all the drive into work this morning.  There was a chill in the air and I had the heat on my feet in the car.  Traffic seemed lighter on the roads than usual.  May be lots of folks had the day off.  I had the radio on NPR but when the first report on Donald Trump and his Presidential campaign came on,  I hit the power button off.  Silence in the car gave me space to think and talk with you.

I told you about the year I've had.  Last year I remember I was in rough shape.  This year has been better.  We've settled into the new house.  Your brother's first year in the new school went really well.  He has made friends and seems to be thriving.  He has joined the recreational / travel soccer team and loves the sport and the camaraderie.  Some of the nights he has practice I walk the trail around the field complex.  Other nights I have my embroidery with me or a good book.  And other evenings I put the seat back in the car and nap.  He loves foot rubs and back rubs.  He still likes hanging out with me.  We share a lot of laughter and love.

I've had over a year now in my current position at work and have found it easier going.  I think I am finding my own voice and leadership style.  I'm not so hesitant to express what I feel is the right way to go about something.  I'm getting better at the whole manager thing.  I think I am gaining respect from my peers and my team.  So it is a good feeling.  Today was the last day for one of my direct reports.  The group threw her a going away breakfast pot-luck.  The spread was impressive and it gave folks an opportunity to publicly thank her and share stories.  It was sweet.  Later the two of us walked the parking lot loop.  It gave her a chance to tell me anything that she might have held back.  In that conversation I learned some things that I am doing right and a couple of missteps that I have made.  I am grateful for her candor and her willingness to open up with me.

And I'm finding my tribe outside of work.  I've joined the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild and am loving it.  I have made most of the monthly meetings.  I enjoy the show and tell, the learning, and the whole social thing.  I'm not the oldest or the youngest.  I'm in awe of the talent and work that these women pump out.  And I'm discovering my ability as well.  I feel like I belong and that is a wonderful feeling.  I've got several projects going at once, something that I didn't used to do.  I used to make myself finish a project before I started a new one.  And now, I have many choices when I go down to my sewing room.  Do I feel like working on the 6" blocks from the Splendid Sampler, my own design projects, or a new project based on street names where I have lived.  They are different entities, in different color palettes and patterns.  I love having the variety at my fingertips.

Your daddy and I celebrated our 13th anniversary two days ago.  I left work early to have a lunch date with him.  We ended up eating canned soup at our kitchen island after spending the previous hours cleaning, rearranging some furniture and hanging pictures.  Romantic, I know.   We were too hungry to go out.  But we did have a nice, celebratory Indian dinner.  And of course, I hauled him outside for a selfie.

We've had a new addition to the family.  My brother and his wife welcomed another girl, Heloise, into their family unit this spring.  We got to meet her briefly this summer while on vacation in NY.  We took a day trip into Canada and met down on Lake Ontario.  It is always sweet to see Tyler, Natalie, Georgia, and now Heloise.  And speaking of family, tomorrow Dad and Valerie are coming for a visit.  They have made it out to the East Coast for leaf peeping and Valerie is teaching a workshop.  It is a bonus for us that they will be close and can stay with us for a night.

So that is the basic recap of the family.  There are so many times throughout the year when I wonder about you...what you might have been like had you lived and also where you might be now.  As Selim grows into such a great older boy / young man, I assume that you would have also been a delight.  If your soul made it into the fabric of another family, then I am trusting you are loved exponentially.  For you have my love from a far and from a family at hand.

I miss you.  I miss the opportunity to have been your mother for any substantial length of time.  I miss that I never got to hold you.  I saw your heartbeat flicker on the ultrasound machine.  You were real to me.  I simply feel the loss that we didn't get to know each other. Wherever you are in this universe, may God be with you.

Before I start crying into my computer, I better stop.  Just know that I love your soul and I still think of you.  I'll catch up with you next year.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ladies Who Lunch

After twelve hours of travel time, a short sleep, a walk, and breakfast -- I headed off to Sedona for lunch with three of my colleagues.  We had a 1:00 reservation at Tii Gavo and other than that, the day was unplanned.  I really enjoyed the drive north.  We passed through such different terrain.  We made our first stop at a rest area about an hour or so into our day.  Of course, cameras came out and we documented.

View from the lookout platform.

We watched our steps

We knew we were getting close to Sedona when we could see the red rocks.  It was hard taking pictures from the backseat of a moving car.  But I tried.  

We arrived an hour or so before our lunch reservation, so we decided to check out Tlaquepaque that had been recommended.  We poked around and found souvenirs to bring home.  I saw a pair of opal mosaic cacti earrings that were so cute.  But I thought I might only wear them this week. And at $84 -- maybe more than I needed to spend for a week's accessory.  They were pretty, and I passed on them anyway.  I did not leave empty handed, however.

A really fun bead shop

Part of a mural by the parking lot

Same mural

The drive out to the resort where we were eating was spectacular.  The road was twisty and we looked live bobble / swivel head dolls trying to capture that angle and then the next.  Tourist behavior for sure.  We arrived a few minutes after 1:00 and realized that with the time change, it was 4:00 and we were really hungry.

Restaurant doors

The meal was fabulous.  We started with chips and guacamole.

For my main meal I ordered a green salad with blue cheese, candied pecans, and apples. Yum!

Plus, a side order of corn bread with honey butter.  Double yum!

We savored our meal and enjoyed the views.  They were stunning.  After we ate, we went out to the patio and took even more pictures.

Flags at half staff for 9/11

Our reflection in the glass of the building

And we took yet more on the way back to Phoenix.

In other news, the Patriots are playing out here in Arizona and were in our hotel last night.  I might have been in the elevator with a couple of players, but I didn't recognize them.  They were big guys -- so dudes here for the game, or players.  I haven't felt that small in a while.

I'm here for the week.  Hard to be away from my hubby and Lovey Lamb.  The time change makes it hard to connect.  I'll set my alarm so that I can talk with my boy before he heads off for school.  At least this isn't a 6 week separation!

And have I mentioned that it is hot?! Ugh.  I don't want to hear that it is a dry heat and therefore not hot.  It's hot!