Thursday, May 23, 2013

signs of spring (finally!)

I think this might be the latest springtime I can ever remember!  One of the big spring events in this state is the opening of fishing season, usually on Mother's Day weekend.  I did learn that it isn't required that it happens on that weekend and leave a bunch of fishing widows behind on their special holiday.  It actually is scheduled according to a certain Saturday after some phase of the moon or something like that, but it does seem to interfere with either our wedding anniversary (5/16) or Mother's Day every year.  Anyway, this year a good number of the lakes were still iced over, so many plans of those dedicated fisherpeople were altered.
But today I had a chance to walk outside with my camera while the sun was shining, and was so happy to see things actually growing again!
apple tree

wild grape vine

hosta that haven't been eaten yet!

old-fashioned bleeding hearts

another variety of bleeding hearts

wild plum tree, I think

Such a welcome relief from the cold and snow! 

I have wanted to share some info on books I have recently read/listened to.  First, a series of 4 books by Richard Paul Evans.  The first in the series is The Walk, and I don't have the other 3 pictured in the correct order but you can find that out easily.  I got all of them from the library on CD's, and they were read by the author.  It is the story of a young man's journey on foot across the country, with many valuable lessons learned along the way.  It is fiction, but seemed like it could be real.  I heard about them from my brother-in-lay, John, so I thank him for pointing me in the right direction.

While I was searching the library files for The Walk, the book below also came up in the search.  It is just about the opposite of the heart-warming stories by Richard Paul Evans!

I used to read Stephen King novels regularly, but stopped at some point.  But I thought I would give this a try.  I nearly didn't finish it, because it was so grim and creepy!  A huge contrast in novels!  I wouldn't recommend it unless you are prepared for a typical Stephen King gruesome fest.

So there's some summer reading for you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

for the birthday boy

Important history-making events happening today!  My baby turned 30!
Here's a tribute, if you can find the message--

Love you!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

back in working order

 I have been having some problems with my pictures loading onto the Blogger page so I couldn't get these posted 2 days ago when I tried.  The situation improved after I shut down and restarted my computer, not sure if that was coincidence or the actual solution!  Then I had trouble with my camera, and turns out I had accidentally changed a setting that caused the viewfinder window to go blank, so now I am back on track with that.  In the meantime, I started fantasizing about getting a new and nicer camera, so I will be saving up for that!  Third in the line of malfunctions was my car key.  Twice it refused to work in the ignition, both times I got the spare key and went on about my business.  Yesterday I took a closer look, and was amazed at the difference I saw!  The old key is pictured below the spare key, and it is about half the thickness that it should be!  And the side view shows that a lot of the little lumps and bumps are seriously eroded.  Who would think that I would wear out a key like that!

Well, the odometer reads 276,000 mile now, so that's plenty o' wear on that key!  For Mother's Day I told Bob that all I wanted from him was to clean the interior and get new floor mats, which are wonderful!  Last summer I really needed new floor mats, but was sure that if I bought them that the car would die soon after that.  But the thing just keeps on tickin' and now I am equipped for another 100,000 miles at least!

So with my blog, my camera and my car key all back on track, it's a good day!

Mother's Day also included some fun with family.  Brita and Ian and I went on the Susan G. Komen 5K Walk for the Cure at the Mall of America on a crispy morning, about 35 degrees at the start but warmed up with a good bright sun.  Ian was plenty bundled up in his stroller, but eventually got to do a little reading while cruising along!

He loves to stick out his tongue!
In the afternoon I had time for a little random sewing time up in my room, and I sorted and straightened up stuff that needed to be addressed.  I wanted a little mindless sewing, so worked on some blocks following the directions on the Quiltville website.  Here are 4 blocks arranged in a square---

And 4 similar blocks arranged in a strip---

Two other very important things have happened here in Minnesota this week, not counting the 90 degree day that maybe has ended out winter!

Our state has become the 12th in the nation to allow legal marriages for same sex couples!  This is so controversial and so right!

I honestly didn't know if this would happen during my lifetime, I feel very lucky to have experienced this historical event.  If my brother-in-law, Rick, were alive we would be celebrating and maybe even dancing at his wedding!  He stood up with us at our wedding 38 years ago today, and now I feel that I had a chance to finally stand up for him.

The second great moment for MN was the arrival of our new Shop Hop fabric at the store!  These are 2 of the panel prints:

the rest of the fabric is on display at Bear Patch, and I am scheming up some ideas of what to make with it!  I should be able to get plenty of inspiration in the next few days at International Quilt Market in Portland, OR.  I will be sharing all of the latest and greatest over on the Bear Patch Blog, so visit there!

Portland, here we come!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

it's official!

 A mere 7 weeks after the first day of spring on the calendar, we are finally getting in the swing of things here!  It has been a long, drawn-out end to winter, with a few glimpses of sun and warmth to tease us along through an unusually cold period.  Late snows and ice only added to the frustration.  But now the leaves are getting cleared from the garden, the asparagus is poking through the earth and my rhubarb is thriving!
So today I am having the annual ceremony of putting away my winter head, neck and hand wear!  Some stuff gets used a lot, some only occasionally, depending on the mood.  So now it can all move back to the storage closet!  Yay!

I just had a nice visit with my parents--
don't they look good?!
We were getting ready to snap a picture of mom's most recent quilt project, which I will show you in a couple of weeks after it is properly gifted.  She spent all winter hand quilting it, listening to a large collection of books on tape to help pass the time.

I started on another project using the English paper piecing method.  These are little tumbler pieces, 
1 1/2" tall.  I have enough cut and prepared for 3 more rows.  I had a little pre-cut pack of Moda fabrics so they all go together nicely.  It was Moda's "candy bar" size, 2 1/2" x 5".  I could fit 2 little tumbler pieces from each of the fabrics in the pack.  Stitching them up is easy, just sewing them side-to-side to make a row and then joining the straight edge to the next row.  All I have to really concentrate on is getting the colors well dispersed.  I will either cut the right and left edges off straight and sew on border strips, or I could applique the piece with the zig-zag edges to a background.  Not sure yet!  What would you do?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

the family jewels

I had some fun this morning poking around in some of my odds and ends of jewelry, and wanted to show you some things that I think are special.  Probably not from a monetary perspective, but from a personal perspective they seem special to me!

This was a set of earrings and matching brooch that belonged to my Grandma Herbert.  She was a great one for wearing matching jewelry.  These earrings are the clip-on type, so I don't wear them.  But I do pin on the brooch on a jacket lapel, and I like the little sparkles.

I think this next one also belonged to the same Grandma.  The pin back has broken off, so it is not very useful in its current condition.

This cute little daisy reminds me of something I would have liked in 1970 or thereabouts.  Flower Power to the People!

And this last one also came from my Grandma, and it is made of 2 different hammered metals.  I think there were earrings to match, but I don't have them.  I like this one mostly because it is kind of unique, not a style that is common.  It seems more contemporary maybe.

So that's the family jewels!