Wednesday, December 31, 2008


New Year’s is my favorite holiday, I think. Not the customs of day – though I like cabbage and Hoppin’ John just fine – but the sense of new beginnings.

Get up and start over with a whole new clean slate! Of course my Lord makes that possible every morning – still, the first day of a new year adds a bit of flourish; a fresh, bright awareness of the reality to the truth of it!

A time for reflection, resolution and anticipation! Reflections equal thanksgiving – there are many things in the last year that deserve remembering with gratitude. Resolutions – even the recycled ones offer hope. I can always do better. Anticipation – Providence lies ahead on those empty calendar sheets; supplied, hour by hour according to His Grace.

Will every day be sunny? Certainly not! Will all my dreams come true? Perhaps I should hope not! Will all my prayers be answered? Most surely – according to His will!

I’ve not yet seen 2009, but I’ve been here before. The threshold of faith – stepping in His footprints, holding to His Hand, bowing to His wisdom and trusting for all my tomorrows that His love will guide me safely on.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



Keep the home fires burning,
Light a candle, cut some pine;
Keep the family traditions
That will warm your heart and mine
With the links to dear reflection
From the mirrors of the past -
All the tender recollections
Child to aged ... first to last.

Be it turkey, ham or taffy,
Apple pie or chocolate cake,
Popcorn strings or men of ginger,
Sugar plums that visions make -
Strike the chord of magic mem'ry
Play the fife and beat the drums
That resound in halls of kinship
And rekindle thoughts of home.

Home - where love is warm and gentle
Home - where happiness abounds,
Where bright blooms of faith and mercy
Spread their fragrance all around;
Where the tears and hopes and laughter
Of a lifetime tightly weave
A rich tapestry of sharing -
Ours to give and to receive.

Home fires burn in radiant beauty
In the joy that children see
Beaming from the smiles of parents,
Or in hugs on Grandpa's knee.
Home fires blaze in humble settings
For mere wealth could ne'er impart
Throughout time the Gift of Wonder
Like the dear things of the heart.

Ah yes, home is where the heart is;
So we speak, and 'tis so true.
We each hold within our being
Elements of vibrant hue;
Strength is there to draw us forward;
Lights that mark the journey home
Like a beacon shining brightly
To the shores where we belong.

Let us keep the home fires burning
Light our candle, soft and sweet,
Thoughtful of the home eternal
At the blessed Master's feet -
Where the Father waits in glory;
Where the Savior bids us come;
Where the loving, gracious Brother
Leads us to that perfect Home.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday's miss-measurement and re-assemblage turned out to be pretty ugly. As in beyond redemption ugly. So this morning I decided to toss those patches (into a bag....maybe John can redeem them), and use the rest of the scrap squares to whip up a smaller version. It is, after all, leftovers.

I did NOT square up/pre-trim every square. I did NOT make sure all the seams were pressed in opposite directions. I did NOT even pre-measure the borders (though I did press with a bit of spray starch for a smoother fit). Whack - sew - whack. Yep, in Nines' vernacular, I'm a brat. A 64-year old brat. But since it's a little quilt, don't expect me to own up to being a BIG brat.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Yes, I would think horror of horrors, if anyone thought I would commend the former (though my Grandma Brady rubbed, most of her 90+ years, and credited the practice with preserving all her natural teeth). Aren't expressions funny! Up to snuff ... now what in the world does that mean?

Today, it is STUFF. And my brain obviously isn't up to stuff either, nor was it yesterday. Just piddling here and there and getting nowhere. Pulled out a quilt top that is begging for borders before DGD Hannah takes it back home to quilt herself. Nothing else I pulled out of fabric piles seems to suit, so guess I'll wait on finishing that project. This morning I decided to play with the left overs from that top. The fabrics are nice quality, hence easy to sew. So, I took a try at the odds and ends of strips and squares. When I pieced the left overs I figured the size wrong, and squares weren't square; a spare 1/2 inch in one direction. So I whacked them in two and shuffled them up - maybe by the time I get all these orphans reassembled as half-triangles, it will look like that was my intent all along. Square squares were boring -- that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Holidays suddenly seem more festive with news that one family of children are heading this way next week. I'll need to finish or quit with orphan assemblage by tomorrow, I suppose, but from here Monday seems soon enough to gear my brain up to stuffing the oven and cookie jars.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


A sweet young friend just loves it when fall weather turns cool enough for a hoody. Some of our grandchildren are quite fond of hoods, too ... though we prefer the smaller 'squeaky little star wars ewoks" variety to the dark over-sized evil emperor variety. Hoods to Snoods.

These snoods came about in a quest for "Little Women" musical costuming for Florida college spring drama. DD Laurie lets me help with costuming, time to time, and I enjoy the prospects. The snood pattern downloaded from internet was a short ponytail / bun variety and I've worked at enough modification to make it head sized. The multicolored one will go to granddaughter, not drama; but practice makes better - if not perfect.

We had a lovely one-day stay in Indiana this week. The kind that makes you want to stay and stay. But even retired folks have local obligations of loving sort. DH felt obligated to go hunting when we arrived home and 'caught' a deer in the hour of daylight left. That makes six for the season so far; which we're happy to share.

Company for lunch tomorrow may be served button buck bambi burger in taco soup; with salad and cookies. Obligingly simple hospitality to sweet folks -- a joy any season.

Friday, November 28, 2008


...can be a very good thing. Perhaps, it is time again for a soft whisper.

The holidays (Thanksgiving through New Years) have begun. It's hunting season for DH. There are two deer hanging under the back steps - skinning and cutting will be done today and tomorrow, I expect. Our upright freezer died, so we need to be a bit more creative about storing meat. That may mean more cold-packed jars of venison; not a bad chore if someone else cleans and cubes the meat. We have out eye out for means of shipping the meat off to descendants soon.

I thought I would get out the water colors while DH hunted, but so far, no opportunity or mood. Chose instead to play with crumbs, bind a quilt, read and crochet in leisure time. No guilt there - I'm getting very independent about spending leisure somewhat selfishly, no doubt.

We did Thanksgiving with a roast hen and dinner for two. Quite pleasant with a houseful of memories and love of fuller thanksgivings to keep us company. The hen was tough - but will make good rice soup and pot pie for us and shut-ins.

Along with the holidays can be lonely theme, an October verse is offered for consideration:

(Exodus 4:2)


With the passage of time, changes quickly decree
The reshaping confinement of life no more free.
Age limits our motion - heart, body and soul,
And the rigor of youth moves beyond our control.

We shift into strange corridors, no more our own
As if time has now vanquished our empire and throne.
And if by good Grace, our abode is the same
None remain who may lovingly call out our name.

The walls may be cheerful, the hall lit with care
Yet backed in the corner, we learn how to bear
Time and memory frozen in blind, empty space
Without voice of connection or comrade of face.


Take up arms, gentle pilgrims, let not loneliness stand
As a curse of confinement — we have in our hand
The simple solutions to chase gloom of night,
The power to turn desperation to light.

A phone call, a letter, a cookie, a song,
A timely reminder they’re loved all along...
And even a stranger is blessed by a smile —
With no cost to the giver, the joy spreads a mile!

“What is that in your hand?” —the meek prophet of old
Found the power of blessings more precious than gold.
So we hold in our hand means of spreading abroad
The compassion and love of our merciful God.


I have long thought the scourge of the aged is loneliness...emptiness is more dreadful than poverty or pain. We recently visited a sweet 96-year old man in Clendenin. He is shut in by ill health, well tended by family that lives next door and yet alone in a house with only memories and time for company most times. We rarely take anything when we visit - lending only a short stay, a kind ear and warm smiles. (He has wonderful clarity of mind/speech so listening to him is a joy for us, really.) As I cradle his cheek in my hand before we leave, there are tears in his eyes - precious gratitude for what cost us nothing except the expenditure of a bit of the day that belonged to the Lord anyway.

Let's fill our holidays with sharing....

Monday, July 07, 2008


MISS SANDY TAUGHT MISS NINA, MISS NINA TAUGHT ME...fine way to learn a thing or two.

I would not have imagined I would pick up thread crochet - at my age - but here I am crocheting to my little heart's content. Thanks to Nina's patience and easy reader patterns. The 'green thing' was chosen, not because I had any notion it would turn out so large, but because it was the only pattern in my lot labeled "easy-to-do." Having the patience to finish it was not easy, but I finally made it to the end. There is one very noticeable character flaw covered by the candle...when I give it away a candle or some similar cover-up must needs go with it. Anyway, I think a Victorian doily atop a Wondercoal stove is an amusing contrast for July. The unfinished doily lacks a nice border and since it was started with a left-over ball of ecru, I'm thinking the outer frill may be an ecru/metallic gold thread if I can find such my next trip out.

The sweet reproduction crumbs squares were also passed on to me by Miss Sandy. So, I have the first block of my next quilt (reproduction sampler) set up. She's looking at this and wondering how to embellish the muslin betweens. I'm thinking I'll leave that to the quilter (unless I get ambitious and applique small hearts). When a few other squares are done I will decide about coping fabric - right now I'm leaning toward a red print.

Before tackling this really difficult block (NOT)this morning, I warmed up with 26 4-inch crumb blocks from June's sewing scraps. My crumb blocks needed a fresh drink of color ... that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.

Must be July - it's hot and muggy in these West Virginia Hills.

Friday, June 27, 2008



One of those is a laddie, I suppose. Anyway that's three quilts done done. Thanks to Nines for good quilting! The bindings and labels are done to a T(eel) and they are ready to ship to recipients. It's quite a trip to do a trio in one week. Makes me want to dig in a start another....hehehe.

Speaking of digging DH dug up this year's garlic. Good harvest. Most was left in the garden to dry a bit; he's off now to gather it up - and a wave of rain swept through about the time he reached the garden gate. He has an awful time getting his garlic dried properly - between WV summer rain and humidity. The summer rain is still preventing the first cutting of hay, much to his chagrin. But what can a man do about rain clouds...not much, I'd say.

About the 'green thing' - thread ran out about 1-1/2 rows before the finish. So, I just stuffed it into the cardboard thread cylinder and will take it off to IN, where Nines has some more of the same shade/color lot. It's pretty bad when you can't finish a first project, but that didn't stop me from starting two more. A simple collar and another doily are now in progress and I'm thinking (keeping my head straight when switching from one to another being now only a minor issue) this new hobby will be a winner. Hoo'd a thunk it? Thanks, Nines.

Besides all those boys need doilies for their hope chests, right?

Friday, June 20, 2008


O.K. So it's not a big stretch to guess what. But it was a fun little project.

The fun part is guessing HOW to "engineer" the thing. Don't you just love engineering? Well, yes, that is a glorified term for making some simple little hobby aid - you'll just have to indulge me.

Nines spied the fabric on Tea Wallets (below), but alas, those were all given away before she got to choose hers. This is a consolation prize for the prairie girl who has taken to crocheting. I hope it's not TOO big for her tiny new purse; and will keep her crochet necessities from drifting too far afield :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


CHICKLET JOY – There it is. One sweet chick in my hands seems symbolic. What a pleasure to take a little trip to IN to visit with family! One chick at a time - loving every minute of it! Ten grand-chicks together were a quite a joy, too. But there were several sequences of ONENESS with various children/grandchildren. There is something special and extra tender about sole focus ... every time. Upon my return, I told DH, every moment was filled with love and comfort - with a lot of laughter tucked in between the lines. I'm ready to go again....

BRINGING HOME BOOTY / IN GOOD COMPANY – DD being so well in tune to my whims, means a Spooner for my table. Nines thinks it is a green reproduction; but I little care how it came to be. It fits quite nicely on her first crocheted doily. (What an honor that it came my way!) Both treasures abide in good company … the other white doily pictured was a gift from Aunt Carrie; the pink platter belonged to Aunt Ruth and the depression glass creamer/sugar bowl were a fantastic hostess gift from a houseguest.

SHARING PLEASURE – Of course, Nines thought I should also learn to crochet with thread. MAYBE it is time. The green thing is my start…up to row – oh no – thirteen! No way will I be as prolific as Nines. Moderation being the key and discouragement seeming avoidable, my patterns feature only easy and intermediate varieties. Don't imagine I have enough time or brain left to conquer 'challenging.' Even so, it is turning into a pleasant, productive pastime. DH is (as we speak) rewiring my Ott lamp to accommodate a more reasonably priced bulb, said $35 issuance having cracked and broken. That will make evening crochet easier…but like Nines, I expect to enjoy outdoor crochet more.

BACK DOOR GREETING – The next picture is the view from my kitchen sink. Such a pleasure to view this back yard! EXCEPT when greeted by unexpected loungers. A dastardly duo took interest in the hummingbird feeder. Just as I arrived back home! Thankfully, DH forded the stairs ahead of me and warned – in a very gentle voice – "You'd better stay in the yard for now." Yep, you got it: two healthy black racers! Whew – well, they're not too healthy now. My hero dispatched them posthaste. And I can tell you, I take a slow peek out before I cross the threshold these days.

POT-O-PLEASURE – What could be better than cream of asparagus soup? Wonderful way to use asparagus collected in the fridge in my absence, since it varied in degree of freshness. The chopped stems were pureed with a hand blender when tender and the asparagus heads added last. It's always good to leave a bit of vegetable floating in the soup for identity sake. Wish Aunt Luanne could come for supper.

RIGHT AT HOME – See that dab of butter in the butter dish? There was about that amount left when friends joined us for supper a while back. The meal was over and I was preparing to serve up some chocolate pound cake for dessert. One guest opted for molasses on a wheat roll, instead of cake. He eyed the butter dish and asked, "Is everyone through with the butter?" Affirmative. He then poured some molasses in the dish, stirred thoroughly and spread it on his roll. Emily Post would be aghast…I do believe his wife rolled her eyes…but I found pure pleasure in knowing someone felt so much at home at our table!!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Nines sent me in this direction []. It was a great idea. She knows I'm always on the scout for a bit of something different for a handout. What fun and how easy these little tea wallets were! And the gift box of fabric remnants cheered up the process and outcome considerably.

Your plaid watermelon print is never going to fade into the sunset, Nines. But it's so happy and feels so good my hands just reach for it automatically. Shank buttons worked best for these wallets; but if I make another round, it may be iron-on Velcro and a 2 x 4 sewn and turned tab…with or without a decorative button. I did put a note to that effect on my directions, else I would forget.

No travel for us on this holiday weekend. But we do hope to go to Gilmer County mid-week. DSis is coming from MD for some uncle visiting, and I want to take advantage of having her in the same neck of the woods. Need to think "uncle Cookies," too. Early summer in Gilmer County is always like going home…

And it's time to cut hay – if the rain will stay at bay long enough for the meadows to dry out. One of my very favorite WV countryside memories is the hillsides and meadows (in WV most meadows are partly hilly) dotted with haystacks. The haystacks gave way to hay bales (square) and now are usually round (like giant shredded wheat). Well, the cows probably don't care what shape it's in, just so they can get to it.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Sometimes one big mess begets another, you know. While still in crumb gear I went looking for a card to send someone special, and found my stash quite low. Time to replenish and iron-ons were my first impulse. I robbed from my postcard supply of fabrics already lined with heat-n-bond and the first thing I knew I was crumb bound on paper. A little mulberry paper for texture and a bit of lace or ribbon, buttons here and there – it was all very easy. Somewhere along the line I decided to try matching some of the cards by ironing fabric on their envelope. There it is – coordinated cardware. I did learn the hard way to be sure the flap was turned up & out on the envelope before ironing onto the front – otherwise that sucker seals shut and isn't a bit useful. (And this happened with a dry iron – I wouldn't have been surprised if steam had that effect.)

So it has been Play May around here. But I have done a thing or two between my games. Made a pumpkin pie this morning – don't know whether I was hungry for pumpkin pie or just wanted an excuse to have the oven on an hour or so to heat up the kitchen. It's not nearly cool enough for a fire, just needed a warm spot somewhere in the Barn. The garden is in except for corn and green beans. We staked the tomatoes/peppers yesterday. I can say WE, because I held a few of the poles semi-vertical as they were being driven in by sledgehammer. You know, you really have to trust your buddy to hold your hand under his sledge. His 'stakes' are recycled electrical conduit, (more tacky than earthy looking; but they'll soon be hidden by greenery.) My theory is that when you're going to the garden for a fresh tomato, you rarely take time to inspect or philosophize about stakes.

The yellow rose of Indiana is bloomin' its little heart out. So sweet!




Thursday, May 15, 2008



Now they tell me. I have 200 4-inch blocks in my crumb box and decide to check out Bonnie's site for setting options. There I discover her method for dealing with those overwhelming crusts and crumbs. Just a basket full at a time! I have been running through crumbs for a couple weeks now and it was getting difficult to scoop out enough space on the table for DH's meals. Kept needing to add one more of this or that color, this or that hue; so it was downstairs to haul up a few more possibles. First thing you know there was a mountain of possibilities and I couldn't see the trees for the forest.

So…taking good advice to heart, I sorted through all the scraps on the table – two-inch slips and real crumbs in a basket; two-inch strips in one bag (yes, I confess, I invaded the 2-inch strip box for wanted variety) and larger squares, rectangles in another. An hour or so later, I have a single basket of bona-fide crumbs and a new start of smaller (if not itty-bitty) slips and slivers for more squares. Now those squares already cut that showcase only 3-4 fabrics are staying in the mix. But now perhaps it will look like I've done less cheating in the process.

Speaking of crumbs…I had cornbread crumbled in buttermilk for lunch. When I was a child, we often had cornbread with sweet milk for Sunday supper. That's still one of my take-me-home favorites. Several friends have mentioned cornbread and buttermilk, so I've been wanting to try that for a while now – was just waiting to think about it and have reasonably fresh buttermilk at the same time. It was every bit as good, maybe even a schooch better! Shocking, I know. So this will serve as notice that, although I may be tardy about instructions, I am NOT YET too old to learn new tricks…at any table function.

Monday, May 12, 2008

GREEN, GREEN, IT'S GREEN THEY SAY...on the far side of the hill...

If my camera were working I'd take a green, green green photo of the evening. We've had rain - mostly gentle, but lots of it - every day since Wednesday or Thursday of last week. The spring greens are looking pretty summery, with the biggest contrast seen on the new shoots of pine!

Our supper green was sauteed asparagus...YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM. I could eat my weight in fresh asparagus. I even find myself munching the 'tough' ends that snap off raw as I prepare to cook the rest. Thank you DS!!! (She sent DH the plants.)

DH lit a fire in the wood stove. No it's not THAT cold, but under 70 feels chilly when you're over 60 and it's this damp. We had a power outage, which fried the freezer compressor yesterday. A very small casualty of weather, considering other calamities here and abroad. We moved all the corn to the refrigerator freezer; and most of the venison, I think. Let DH take command of the transfers, since he knows what food stuffs are more valuable to him. Perhaps this will be "enforced" downsizing. We could manage without that freezer - and not miss it at all 'til the corn comes in.

I'm still playing with crumbs between household chorelets. [It's hard to scrounge up a full-sized chore some days...changing a bed, doing a couple loads of laundry -- naw, grandma Oe wouldn't call that work!] The 4-inch squares are adding up; but I'm not stopping to count them...I might find out I need to stop if I do that. But you can only twist crusts in so many directions, so I'm sure their days are numbered.

Don't think Grandma Oe would call piecing crumbs work either, but I'm sure as rain that she would approve.

Friday, May 09, 2008


You know, the part left over that nobody wants.You might even call them crumb orphans.

Well to me they look like another scrappy quilt. I can't find my direction color wise. I'll just keep making them and then divide them by zones. I'm really liking the blocks with brown in them.

But if they are all combined we'll just have eclectic crusts. Hmmm.....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Every day has it's treasures. Many times the smallest are the most precious. The picture is of DH's tiniest sister. She's always been tiniest. (I couldn't choose the sweetest if my life depended on it...and I'm too wise to try.) We went to visit an Aunt today, who had this photograph in one of her MANY envelopes of hidden treasure. I asked to borrow it so that I might make a copy for DH and she graciously agreed.

Something about youth...this sister has retained. The size, the blue eyes, the caring spirit, the inner beauty, the sincerity, the intensity? Leaves one to ponder. But something in the picture, taken not too long before I met her for the first time, brought back a treasure to be enjoyed today ... and through a good many tomorrows.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


My current computer project is compiling a set of verses for a new volume of poetry (authored by a dear friend of the family). I had the honor of illustrating the first volume, published circa 1989; and this will be no less a work of love. Though new illustrations have yet to be discussed, it's only natural to want to extend those latent possibilities...

But first, the verses must be scanned and made 'computer ready' for the printer. Beginning that process has been surprising. Some new gear has made the scanning process so much quicker and easier. I feed 10-12 sheets at a time through the magic HP machine and begin minor corrections and formatting changes, forthwith. Yes, I'm very thankful the author -- who hunts and pecks and has an unerring eye for grammatical perfection -- supplied the originals to start.

Another surprise comes with the substance. I've read these lines betimes - yet they are fresh and timeless. That, to me, is the defining quality of good poetry. When you read it every time, like the first time and still catch your breath or find chills running down you know it's a winner. Of course it also helps that the writer is, indeed, our kindred spirit.

For example ...


When my body suffers pain,
My heart reflects the same refrain
And I wonder how much more
The flesh can stand;
My eyes behold a special tree,
That rugged one on Calvary
With the nails in the feet
And in each hand.

When the surgeons intervene
With their septic scalpel keen
And the blood seeps out to
Stain a bandage white;
I see a jagged, dirty spear
Then I watch the blood appear,
I see souls released from
Darkness into light.

When by cares and burdens great
I seem a prisoner of Fate
And I find no remedy for
Grief and tears;
I hear a prayer of agony
Coming from Gethsemane
And I know a loving Father
Sees and hears.

When the trail is rough and slow
And the cause I do not know,
When the skies seem overcast
And always gray;
God is watching and He knows
Every kind of wind that blows
And the footprints of the Lamb
Will lead the way.

PJC 10/13/91

I rest my case...

Monday, May 05, 2008 it...or NOT

This sweet shrub is one of those May flowers you may choose to love at a distance. Like Lily of the valley or prolific lilacs. Nothing is sweeter than a lily of the valley...but they have a very powerful scent.

Must be a sign of old age...I'm leaving more and more blooms outdoors. Maybe my inside space is just too limited for wafting perfumes and asthma both in the same space. I love the blooms no less..from afar, that's all.

DH's DB is visiting this week. They do well at entertaining each other. It's Monday. They cut up a tree and stacked the firewood - a birch whose fresh bark smelled surprisingly like TEABERRY of all things. Yummy smell that! Then they went down and removed a long standing church sign. This one was set in concrete QUITE LITERALLLY and a big job to dig up and haul away. DBIL said it took every tool they had to get it down. Stolie built things to last in the 60's. There was still a dab of daylight when they returned home, so they burned a brush pile for their evening entertainment. Makes one wonder what will be afoot tomorrow. Whatever it is, those legs above their foots are going to be sore before they start!

But it was a perfect spring day. It could be made more perfect -- with an evening whip-poor-will call. With that I'll know it's really May. I did hear two cardinals singing in unison today, one just a nano second behind the other. Nice duet.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


...there is always room for one more skirt. I'm on my way out with spring sewing - you believe that, you'll believe about anything - truly I am. All of this season's odds and ends were left-over notions.

The last one (larger pc) used some of the last quilt remnant from batiks and that scrap happy border. I was thinking dgd Hannah might like her own version of a pieced skirt. Problem is, unlike the smaller pieced varieties that were serged together, this was made of presewn strips. That meant lining it all with a nice tea dyed muslin. I'm not certain dgd will have the strenghth to hold up the weight of it.

We're getting ready for some spring company; so that means the sewing stuff must get out of the way for meals on the table. But the serger for soup ladle will only be a break ... hard to tell what I'll conjure up while I'm stirring that soup.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April Showers

What could be more fun than napping through an afternoon of April showers? Maybe seeing the apple blossoms that pop out after a good rain. Gets greener every day around here. DH is out mowing a bit...his plan is to let the meadow grow and let a neighbor cut it for hay. Maybe he's "trimming." (And he gets the credit for today's photos).

Soon it will be too warm and sunny to stay indoors, so I'm trying to do up a bit of sewing. Just fun stuff. Who am I kidding...any sewing is fun stuff for me. And the more I sew, the more ideas I get for the next project. And surely there will be room for one more quilt top before the machine retires for the summer.

The lettuce is growing and a few things planted in the garden - garlic is up, onions set out and potatoes underground. DH does all the planting, I try to help a bit with weeding and harvesting. But mostly, my gardening season involves canning. DD Nines thinks it's time to give that up. Perhaps if DH has to do all the lifting this year he'll see the prospect of cutting back some. :) But he's not to's what we've always known, and hard to give up entirely. Before we know it the asparagus will be far we eat that as fast as it pops out of the ground.

DH took me on a bird nest tour earlier today. We saw four of the sweetest little chickadee eggs way down in the hole of a fence post - they look like little jelly-bellies; and six aqua bluebird eggs in a house. DH always knocks and calls, "anybody home" before he opens the front of the birdhouse to count eggs, and apologizes sweetly to the guarding papa on the walnut branch nearby. He has very good fowl manners, you see.

And it's warm enough now to open the rafter windows - the birds like Beethoven and I like birdsong, so we work it out to take turns entertaining.

A-a-a-ah, April. . . and it's almost over.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I know, I know...I'm late, I'm late.

It's been a very busy beginning of spring around Teelside. Besides, it never seems like spring to me - daffodils and forsythia notwithstanding - until the redbud is out. And the redbud is just this week coming out in full. DH says they should be called purplebud...he has a point.

But it must be spring. We've had molly moochers this week (morel mushrooms); a neighbor with a tractor that works is coming to plow the garden tomorrow; DH has set out 18 new apple trees, some of the meadow has become an orchard and the daffodils are on their way out.

On the other hand, there's fire in the wood stove tonight and it feels mighty good.

Do certain seasons remind you of certain people? DH's favorite season is autumn. Spring belongs to loved ones that were April born, summer is for heat lovers, winter for snow lovers. Me, I like them all -still at my stage of life, I do suppose I'd best be getting fonder of fall and winter.

Seasons so well represent security, knowing the Creator is yet in control. The earth's changes speak to His power and reflect His glory. God Almighty is brought near in the dogwood blossom, the smell of freshly turned soil, the ripple of the stream and warmth of spring sun rays after an April shower. Such great promise in the tiny senses of spring. Sometimes by looking down (and around) we are lifted up.

Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Friday, February 29, 2008


THERE'S SOMEHTING ABOUT AN OLD-FASHIONED SCRAPPY QUILT. Maybe it's a reflection of what I knew first. Maybe it's the fun of NOT knowing exactly what it's going to look like until it is all done. I worked on this one, just a little at a time and it was a happy little adventure. Not so large. No stress. Just fun. Well except for one part, maybe.....


Every time I see that topic, I think 'making underthings out of scraps.' Go ahead and chuckle. I know it really tells my age, too.

So, did Grandma Oe sew her strings on paper before she cut them into stars? I'm working on a sort of string pattern. I say 'sorta' because my strips are close to 2-inches, not down to 1/4-inch scraps like Grandma was paitient enough to save/use. Anyway, the internet instructions said to keep the pieces flat they could be sewn onto paper, i.e., telephone book pages cut to size. True, they came out very flat. But it took all day to get the paper off the back of those squares. (I needed my cheerful grandson John and his sisters for the task...they'd have loved it.). Now I can see paper piecing a wall hanging or even a square or two at a time. But shredding paper from 48 squares took some patience I must have been short on yesterday. The next time, I'm going to take the alternative route and use an old sheet that can just live there.

I did figure out what makes scrap piecing so addictive. You can't really tell what it's going to look like until it is all assembled ...and you can't quit working on it until you see what it's going to look like.
I don't think Grandma Oe had this problem. She was far more patient and sane than I am. Even so, we've had more snow -- perfect piecing weather, so I was making pieces while the snow flew. Well it's raining now and the sewing machine is put away.

If you want particulars on this piecing process go to: In the final stages, mine went together very maybe foundations make a difference. Which, of course, reminds me of one Grandpa Grover's favorite hymns...

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word...

Nice reminder.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The dastardly deed is hideous, hopeless, polyester double-knit quilt top out of the hopper. Shew!!

Now on to greener pastures. Case in point - blissfully beautiful batiks. Sigh. What a joy. Thank you Nines for sharing your remnants.

Those 'remnants' made a queensize top with plenty to spare. Sewing with batiks is enough to make you solemnly promise you will NEVER use cheap fabrics again. They cut smooth and stay in place, gliding under the pressor foot almost effortlessly. Nothing fancy. Just a simple nine-patch, cut and turned to make shadow boxes.I've titled the piece "Shades of Perfection" - I love the watery colors so! No, it's not perfect - it's still an improvised top. But I'm thinking it's about perfect enough for one of my angels. [And, I do like Nines' little framing trick, too.]

Also pictured is my last batch of postcards. Not nearly as ornate as my teacher's, but usable and fun. Several feature some fabrics painted with oil sticks; a process I did enjoy. Now I get to make application of all those luscious slips of batik colors. I've got the groundhog's shadow to back me up while I hibernate with my sewing machine another month or so.

Friday, February 08, 2008



Parents and Grandparents fill file drawers and scrapbooks full of such treasures. Nothing quite as captivating as those drawings that are offered as gifts from 2-8 year olds. Although I've been known to keep artwork well beyond that range, it is the 'Sweet part of Me to You' that makes the gift so special.

These were sketches from DGD Rebekah (age 6). I love the skater's rubber legs, the boots (just like my new ones - I guess she liked them too) and the happy eyes, don't you?

Friday, February 01, 2008


Hands of gentleness and balm
Swaddling baby soft and warm
Lightly stroking baby’s skin
Feather hair and dimpled chin

Hands of comfort; hands of calm
Cleaning scrapes, erasing harm
Lifting knees to plant a kiss
Every tear and pain dismiss

Hands to clap in praise and glee
With each step of progress seen
Hands to warn of fearful ways
When her lovelies disobey

Hands to strengthen wobbly stride
Tending patiently the tide
Ebb and flow of daily change
Peace and order to arrange

Hands of duty, joyful work
Naught too small or large to shirk
Sparkling dishes, wash and floor
Done to do again once more

Hands to open up the Word
Keenly probe the Shield and Sword
Hands to fold in solemn prayer
Trusting God with toil and care

Hands to mark the days that fly
Catch the sunbeams passing by
Grasping stars and counting time
Blessed by Oversight divine

Hands to look for beauty clear
In the simple things held dear
Scraps of fabric, thread and yarn
Joined to keep her family warm

Hands to clasp all hands around
There by love and honor bound
Hands to rest contendedly
Upon the grandchild on her knee…

Hands of gentleness and balm
Swaddling baby soft and warm
Lightly stroking baby’s skin
Feather hair and dimpled chin

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I actually finished the binding on TWO quilts today; and I must say the only way that could have been accomplished was to do it Nines' way.

It took Nines' a while to convince me it was kosher to do all the binding by machine, instead of sewing it on the right side, flipping and hand sewing the back. I still think that way is comforting for the quilt maker...but, once you've sewn it on the back, flipped, turned and sewn down the front with a close-edge seam....well, it's just so much quicker!!

I was having a good bit of trouble getting mine to look as neat as Nines' does, but I stumbled over a trick or two today. Besides using my machine quilting presser foot, I pressed the back side forward (not folded) after it was sewn down. That made the final turn so much easier. I also reminded myself to take it slowly on top and always stop with the needle down. That's real simple, you say. Yes it is - I guess I'm a slow learner; but still not too old to learn a thing or two.

The green quilt is for our DGS Josiah. I really like what Nines' did with the quilting. And I pieced this top from fabric that DS Isobel donated to my stash. The light greens remind me of shells and seaweed, so I'm naming it: "Irish Seashells by the Seashore." Josiah's ONLY criteria for a quilt was to make it green.

The whole cloth muslin quilt was Nines' practice piece...when she wanted to master a new quilting design with her longarm quilter she'd pin it on and go to town. The "blocks" have some great designs, but I think my favorite is her first quilted cursive that reads, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog; and he was a friend of mine.' As if the quilt needed more whimsy!

Nina has a way with quilts!!! Her grandmas would also be proud of her for planning to make her practice piece both beautiful and useful.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Nines gave a friend one of my aprons. The friend soon declared it was MAGIC – it hangs near her kitchen and she says every time she puts it on she gets LOTS of work done. I’m all for making work magic, for big girls and little girls alike.

I had a few pieces of fabric stashed for aprons. (Nina has probably shared her newer ones and hers are looking a bit weathered). While at Nines’ last week I garnered some more of her odds and ends that had no particular destination. This became my week’s task. They didn’t exactly appear like magic, but what fun! Ended up with 23 - half of them are pint-sized as you can see. Nine’s girls wear them like pinafores. My favorite is on the top left – red with ducks. The drakes in the mix are wearing overalls, so naturally that smaller remnant was well suited to Nines’ youngest kitchen helper, Abe.

Least you think four too young to be helpful, I was amazed to see how much he can do in the kitchen – including cutting potatoes for broiling. True, Jacob stood right beside him to make sure he was doing it safely; and he was. It’s quite a treat to watch the Koen kids function together!

Now, if this row of aprons is not magical, it is at least useful…and rather sweet. I like them well enough to keep a couple for myself…But Nines can have the ten pretty tea napkins.

My favorite apron memory is Grandma Oe’s, of course. Her bibs were pinned to her dress sans straps (maybe they hurt her neck, too) and had a generous skirt tied with sashes in the back. Likely the only time I saw her without one was when she went to meeting. If she ever forgot to take it off then, she wouldn’t be the first one, would she?

Saturday, January 05, 2008


ALL THE BROKEN PIECES...I keep going back to that quote, "God can do wonders with a broken heart - if we give Him all the pieces."

One has to wonder...

How many problems go unsolved, how many burdens weigh on bending shoulders, how many sins remain unforgiven; simply because we do not give them up to the Lord? How often do we deprive ourselves of the freedom of whole healing and joy of full forgiveness because we want to hold on?

We want to hold on to:
- that little grudge; bitter memory
- that bit of 'pleasurable' sin
- that reliance on SELF
- that simmering anger
- that gulf of self-pity
- that selfish pride
- that love of money; crippling covetousness
- that block of self-will
- that sin of omission; excuse for neglect
- that ignorance study would cure
- that time better spent with God
- that disappointment, disturst, disagreement, disillusionment in/with others
- that weighty burden of guilt
- that sense of slight or injury
- that paralyzing fear
- that ugly envy
- that lazy apathy
- that grief and pain, or secret sorrow

Well, you get the drift of my besetting roadblocks :) Such impediments to peace are harbored in the hidden corners of the heart. Not hidden from God, but held back from His healing. Let's sweep those corners clean (imagine they host huge spiders that build sticky webs and draw flies) and put the trash in God's dustbin. He will sort it with caring Hands; and we will have complete freedom and joy.

Long for His wisdom
Live in His light
Love as He loves
Let go...and LET GOD.