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.