Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Spending a nice quiet day at home after a crazy week.  I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday with family and friends.  I love this video.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It was a bad and good day

We laid my brother to rest today.  Mother nature chose to honor us with our first measurable snow, with just enough to make the roads a bit messy while heading to the cemetery.   For a cold, snowy day, there were a surprising number of people who showed up for the graveside service.  My former sister in law was there with her son, my nephew.  I hadn’t seen her in many years since her divorce from my younger brother.  But at times like these, as we stood there and hugged in the cold, I found that there is no “ex” family.  She was there to see my mom & dad and comfort them over the loss of their son.

As I helped my mother to the where the service was held, her hands were cold as ice.  As people sometimes do at these times, she forgot her gloves at home.  I gave her my gloves and held her hand as we said goodbye.  My father seemed a bit dazed and confused.  It was a somber affair.  And then just like that, it was quickly over.  His last 6 months from diagnosis to death—it  just happened too fast for me.  We headed to the VFW hall where his friends put together a lovely lunch.

It was great to see all of my family together again, nieces, nephews and other family members who had moved away and hadn’t been seen in a while.  Lots of hugs, and I got to meet my 6 month old niece, Clara.  I watched as Clara was passed around from person to person, such a sweet baby who kept looking at everyone with big brown eyes.  Babies are wonderful at times like these.  It’s funny.  I remember Clara’s mother, Amanda at my grandparents funeral 33 years ago.

baby clara2 Nov 2010
At most memorials or funerals, there comes a time when everyone has a good laugh as they share a memory of a loved one.  Today was no exception.  My niece, Amanda, provided the perfect way to celebrate her father’s life.  My brother loved to party with his friends, and he loved his beer.  Amanda brought in a life size cut out of her father, with a can of beer attached to his hand with velcro.

Mark Dec 10-2010
Looks real, doesn’t it?  Mark’s many friends gathered around him and posed for one last picture as we all giggled and laughed.  Yes, it was a good day to celebrate life.

Thank you for your prayers and comments over this past week.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I thought he was a pain in the butt when I was growing up.  The older brother just close enough in age to taunt and tease me through my teenage years.  The brother whose act I had to follow in high school (I was Miss Goody Two Shoes), when his former teachers were expecting me to be a trouble maker like my two older brothers.  The older brother who got his own room when I still had to share a room with my younger sister.

He married his high school sweetheart Ruth Ann just barely out of high school, and little  Amanda was at my wedding a year later when I married my high school sweetheart.  Alisha and Andy rounded out the family, and before long, they all grew up and started on the next generation with three sweet grand babies, Amelia, Violet and Clara.  As families do, we got together at holidays,  birthdays, picnics and special celebrations.   Then, like many others, my brother and his wife had to sell their house last year and moved to Florida (away from family and friends) in search of employment.  Last year was the first Christmas without my brother, his wife and family in more than 34 years. I always appreciated the fact that my sister in law always hosted the family Christmas for many years, but I think I took our family gatherings a  little for granted and thought the family would always be together.

My brother Mark lost his battle with scleroderma today.  It happened way too early for his 54 years on this earth. This past spring, he was diagnosed with scleroderma.  Scleroderma is a skin condition where the body produces too much collagen.  This makes the skin rock hard, which then makes it difficult and painful to move the joints. You can imagine what it does to your internal organs.  Mark was in and out of the hospital 5 or 6 times since September, suffered kidney failure, and was put on dialysis a month ago.  The irony is that there are no specialists in this disease in Florida, yet there were specialists at the University of Michigan, not far from where he lived for most of his life.  His family tried to get him moved up here to Michigan for treatment, but at that point, he was too sick to be moved.

I had to go to my parent’s house on Saturday, to be there to support them when my sister in law called with the news that he was failing, unconscious, and would probably not be with us for too much longer.  Unfortunately, due to health issues, neither of my parents were able to fly to be by his side.  His wife and children were by his side as he peacefully slipped away at home.

He is survived by his wife of almost 35 years, 3 children, 2 son-in-laws, and 3 grand kids.  We are grateful that his kids got to spend time with him in the week before Thanksgiving before he went into the hospital for the last time.  My heart is aching for my sister-in-law, who has a tough road ahead in Florida without her family and friends close by for a support system.

This is a picture of their family, taken when they were all together just before Thanksgiving.   He loved being a Grandpa.

Mark family 2010
I’m glad that he is no longer in pain.  He was too young to go. I will miss him, and pray for his family as they suffer through this difficult time. May he rest in peace. 

Mark Reid 1956-2010.

Mark-Ruth Sept 2009

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Comin’ up for air

I decided to take vacation day so I could have a long weekend.  Work has been as busy as I predicted, and a bit stressful as well.  This weekend has given me a much needed break to relax, recharge my batteries, and catch up on the blogs.  Sounds like many of you have been busy as well.

I am moving along with my French braid quilt, and decided to tackle the backing this weekend.  The instructions in the book had us cut way too many strips for the quilt.  So, I wanted to  use up those strips for the back.  I got out my EQ and designed my first quilt.  This is the plan.

French braid backing med  
Because I’m just learning EQ, it’s not exactly how the quilt will look.  But it’s close enough to what I envisioned in my mind.  The background will be plain white fabric, and you’ll probably see a bit more of a white border than what the picture is showing.  The binding is the red stripe fabric that I used on the front of the quilt, which I will cut on the bias so the stripes are at a 45 degree angle.

I got the 2 strip sets done this weekend.  Other than the plain white fabric, which I purchased, everything else will be scraps from the front of the quilt.

Well, I’m off to make some Finnish pasties, which I love to make and put lots of extras in the freezer for those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking.  I will be taking next Wednesday off so that I can have a long 5 day holiday weekend.  Can’t wait for that!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Catchin’ Up

Life has been a bit crazy lately.  The company I work for has changed owners (for the 5th time in 15 years).  Things are getting busy as we change focus, systems and procedures from a public company back to a private company.  I had a quick business trip to Chicago  last week, and the next 3 months are going to be quite busy.  Not complaining.  Change keeps things interesting, and I’m grateful to have a job.  Let’s hope I can survive any corporate downsizing.

On the quilty front, I’ve been doing quite a bit of quilting over the last 3 months.   Was pleased to get my Halloween quilt done (thanks for all the lovely comments and to all that voted for me), and am getting back to work on my French Braid quilt.  I’ve also been to a few quilt shows in the past month.  Here are some pictures from the Grand Rapids quilt show last month.

I thought this double wedding ring was so unique with their choice of background fabric.  You usually don’t see a large print like on this particular quilt.  Aren’t the colors gorgeous?
Grand Rapids 2010 033
I love picture quilts.
Grand Rapids 2010 014

I love this fall quilt.
Grand Rapids 2010 018
This was a whole cloth quilt that was later filled in with colored pencils.  The quilting is stunning.
Grand Rapids 2010 017

I love the colors on this one…
Grand Rapids 2010 012 
Another gorgeous use of color…
Grand Rapids 2010 020
Love this hankie quilt, and great quilting.
Grand Rapids 2010 006

And, of course, a cat quilt to make me smile
Grand Rapids 2010 005
Hope you enjoyed the show.  I may be a bit scarce over the next few months.  I do try to catch up with everyone’s blogs on the weekends.  Even if I’m not commenting, I still enjoy reading your blogs.  Take care. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Quilt Finished!!

I am so happy to report that after 2 years of trying to complete my Halloween quilt in time to be shown for Halloween that it’s done!!  The last few weekends have found me finishing the FMQ that I’ve been struggling with, completing the binding, and adding the leaves to make it look like a pumpkin.

Here is the full size quilt:
Halloween quilt 002
I entered my quilt into the Quilt Gallery contest to win a fat quarter bundle.  So if you like my quilt, can you take a minute to please vote for my quilt?  Here’s the link:

Thanks for stopping by, and


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Commute

Over 30 years ago, my husband and I decided we wanted to “live in the country”.  So we moved to a small town that was a half-hour to an hour drive from several large suburbs.  This was the start of my career in commuting.  On a good day, my commute is 45 minutes one-way, about 35 miles.  On a typical day, it is about an hour.  We don’t even want to talk about what happens when it snows…

Generally, on a federal holiday as we had yesterday, the commute is pretty light.  I was about 10 minutes into my commute yesterday when traffic came to a complete stop.  We then proceeded to crawl along for another 10 minutes before I could see some flashing lights ahead.  I crawled along for another 5 minutes before I saw a state police car in the middle of three lanes.  The car was pulled sideways, blocking the lane so we had to move to either shoulder to pass.

As I got closer to the police car, I could see something on the ground on the other side of the car.  There were no other mangled cars in the area.  As I went around the car, I looked and saw a dog that looked like a yellow lab laying on his side.  I also saw a Michigan State Trooper sitting cross-legged on the pavement stroking the dog. 

dog trooper
That image of the trooper sitting on the ground stayed in my head for quite a while.  It was so sad.  All day long I wondered if the poor dog was ok.  Today, the local paper had the story.  The dog was darting in and out of traffic, and people were swerving.  The trooper managed to block the highway and get close enough to the dog to attach a hitch to his collar.  The dog was scared, tired, and his paws were bleeding and hurt from the pavement.  A passer-by stopped to help with a blanket.  The dog is being treated by a local vet and will be ok.  The word is going out to find the owners, but if they are not found, others have offered to take the dog.

HAPPY ENDING!!   Thank you, Michigan State Police Trooper Deanne Oswald-DeBottis.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pioneer Days

Today was one of those fall days that one remembers fondly when we’re in the middle of winter with snowstorm after snowstorm.  It has been a long time since we’ve had such a beautiful, crisp and clear sunny day.  The fall colors were in full display as we took a little drive to enjoy the day.  I had seen a notice for Pioneer Days at a historical village. 

Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-19
Now, this place is in the middle of a very rural area, and we were amazed as we drove up and saw how many cars and people were there.  They have over 150 volunteers for this annual event, which benefits the historical society that preserves this lovely farm. 

Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-3 
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-5
There were lots of people in Civil War period costume demonstrating the various crafts and tasks from that era.

Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-7
They had a quilt set up for a quilting bee…
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-9
A little spinning…
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-11

A little weaving…
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-14
Some beer making… (see the beautiful trees and lovely blue sky?)
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-17
This little crib was in the kitchen of the historical house.
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-13

These goats were awfully cute. The kids were having lots of fun!
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-15
Cute lambs…
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010 002 
They had lots of produce, pies, jams, pumpkins, and other assorted food as well as crafts for sale.  These had a tag that said these were snake cucumbers.  I’ve never heard of them!
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-21
A little music…
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-22

I bought some wool for my Halloween pumpkin quilt.
Waterloo Pioneer Days 2010-23
Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I wish my Canadian friends a blessed, Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall has arrived

Brrrrr! Yesterday, we had a high temp of 87 (20 degrees higher than normal) with wind gusts of 40 mph and today, we’re down to a high temp of 56 degrees.  Strange weather we’ve had all summer long, and now the weird weather seems to be stretching into fall.  No gradual lowering of the temperature.  Nope, we went from hot summer right to cool fall.  Oh, well, it’s time to celebrate fall so I redecorated my blog.

You haven’t heard from me for a while because I’ve actually been quilting for a change.  The French Braid class I took did what I wanted it to do, which was to give me a deadline to work towards each week as I got closer to the class date.  I used the class as an excuse to take some days off work.  I do think my mind may have been elsewhere while I was quilting. In the picture below, the squares at the top of the picture are all supposed to look the same—the middle strip was sewn correctly (right sides together).  
Fenton & Marshall QS 035
Did you ever wonder how you can sew two pieces of fabric wrong sides together, take it to the ironing board to iron, take it to the rotary mat and cross cut it into several strips, sew it to the quilt and only then figure out that something wasn’t quite right? (But my points matched!!!)

Fenton & Marshall QS 034

I got most of the quilt done, and only need to cut and attach the final border.  I did manage to master a mitered border on this one.

french braid
I generally avoid mitered borders, but the striped border I chose just begged for mitering.  Since I was in a class, I took advantage of the teacher’s help to show me how to do this.  The method the teacher used was so simple that I don’t know why I had such a fear of it prior to this.

This is one of the lovely ladies I met in class.  Her quilt had several beautiful batiks in lovely magenta shades.  The purple quilt on the wall was the class sample.

Fenton & Marshall QS 037
This was another class quilt in progress.  I love the colors that were used in this quilt.
Fenton & Marshall QS 036
I don’t have any pictures of my quilt yet, but when I do, I’ll get them posted.  I have managed to keep up with reading everyone’s blogs, even though I haven’t been commenting too much.  Thanks to everyone for visiting and I do appreciate all of your comments!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quilt class

It’s been a few years since I took a quilt class.  I was in the LQS a few weeks ago and they had a lovely purple French Braid quilt on the wall as a sample for the quilt class.  I don’t know what got into me that day, but I immediately signed up for the class and bought this book.

Ann Arbor QS 2010 044
In reading the book, it looks pretty easy, and I probably could have done this without the class.  BUT. . .sometimes I need the structure and deadlines that classes bring to motivate me to stay on task to finish the quilt.  Plus, it’s kind of fun to take a class with other quilters.  We have one quilter in the class who has already made this quilt 8 times.  The teacher asked him if he wanted to teach the class! (he said no)

I decided that I was going to make this with as much fabric as I can from my stash.  So, I spent one evening pulling out this and that fabric from my stash.  I realized that my stash consists of mostly batiks!  And although this quilt seems to be perfect for batiks, I didn’t want to make another batik quilt.  Instead, I decided to use the floral fabrics I bought a few months ago when I went on the Shipshewana shop hop.  That’s my quilter’s ADD kicking in. . . buying fabric for one project and using for something totally different.  This is the fabric I decided to use.

Ann Arbor QS 2010 047
Of course, when I went to the “pre-class” to select the fabrics, I still had to buy a few more yards to get the run of 10 fabrics I needed for the braid. I have a feeling that I’m not done buying fabrics to “finish” this quilt.

Rather than rush home after work to get to the class, I decided to take the day off to get all of my supplies and fabric ready to go.  I’m excited to start this new quilt.  Guess I better get going.  Don’t want to be late for class.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grand Haven Quilt Show

Can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted.  No excuse.  Just feeling kinda lazy this summer with this heat and all.  I did manage to go to a few quilt shows in the past month.  The weather finally broke a week ago, and I pulled one of those “I’m taking tomorrow off” vacation days.  DH and I took a drive on a beautiful sunshine day to Grand Haven, which is on the coast of Lake Michigan.  They were having their Coast Guard Festival, but unfortunately, the Coast Guard ships were not due in til Monday.  It would have been fun to see all the ships.  The Grand Haven Lighthouse Guild held their show called “Sand, Surf and Sunsets”.  This is the first sight I saw when I entered the lobby of the building.

She’s kind of cute…
 Grand Have quilt show

I like nature quilts
Ann Arbor QS 2010 001
I like this log cabin layout
Ann Arbor QS 2010 002

Love these old blocks.
Ann Arbor QS 2010 006

Ann Arbor QS 2010 004
This house quilt was charming.
Ann Arbor QS 2010 007

Quilt shop.  The quilt between the windows was 3-D.
Ann Arbor QS 2010 008
Ann Arbor QS 2010 010

I love the secondary diamond pattern on this quilt.
Ann Arbor QS 2010 005

Hope you enjoyed the show!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shipshewana, part 3

Let’s get right to the quilt pics, shall we?

This one had some awesome quilting

A closer look at the quilting

A blue ribbon winner.  Great design & colors.

Another neat design

I’d say a lot of work went into this one.

More fabulous quilting

Then there was this beauty

A closer look at the beautiful fabric choices

I love bold colors on a black background.  The borders really compliment the inner blocks.

Of course, we had to have a cat quilt picture.  It wouldn’t be right not to see a cat quilt on this blog.

Hope you enjoyed the show.  Thanks for the lovely comments on my prior blogs about the journey.  It was fun.  This is one quilt show that will definitely be on my list next year.