Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day Before Thanksgiving

I just retrieved my camera from my bag  and I haven't even opened the computer since Monday, so this will be a picture-less post.

Monday - The trip was uneventful - Montgomery to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Seattle.  It was an especially nice flight to Seattle - nice flight attendants and nice seatmates, not too much turbulence.  It's just that middle seat that gets a little cramped.  I did have someone so interesting that I met in the seat next to mine - someone who has dabbled in even more crafts and sewing ventures than I have.  Her work with miniatures sounds out of this world, and I'm hoping to get back in contact with her and see some of them.

Mike and Emily picked me up - in the rain, of course, and before we were out of the airport fully, Emily just couldn't wait to tell me.  She said do you want to know some good news now or wait until we get home?"  Silly girl!  I couldn't imagine.  It turns out that Mike's spot on the brain that was thought to be a metastasis from the lung cancer was not that at all; it was a blood vessel and not in any need of treatments.  It was just too amazing to comprehend how almost the worst thing in the world could turn into a situation where the words "cancer free" were spoken.  Dr Kaplan, the oncologist was said to have done a dance in the hallway to celebrate.  We're all pretty thrilled ourselves!

Yesterday, Emily and I left the babies with the guys and went shopping.  We first went by a little house in Fall City that is going to be for rent in December.  Teeny little cottage but in such a cute neighborhood and an interesting little town.  Only 13 miles from Snoqualmie too.

Then it was Starbucks (of course) and then Nordstrom Rack in Factoria.  Emily was needing work clothes, and I was just along for the ride.  We did take a total of 20 things into the dressing rooms, and all but 2 got a thumbs down.  The clearance prices on some things there are probably more than twice what I would ordinarily pay for something -  it was fun to look around and try on shoes and stuff, but I didn't see a thing I even considered twice.  Except for some warm owl slippers.

We next went to Costco.   My few experiences at the Costco in Issaquah have amazed me.  It's like a Black Friday sale every time, and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving was not a great day to be in there.  We waited in line to order a pizza.  We waited in line to check out.  Emily waited in a LONG line to pick up a prescription.  It was hard to maneuver the aisles because of 10 or 15 people in the same aisle.  Not a place I would want to take children.  People were nice though, and it wasn't a bad experience.  I was kind of spooked by the creepy guy pushing agave honey.  I passed by him  about 3 times, and every time I heard a whispery voice saying "Ahhh-gaaaa-vay.  Ahhhh-gaaaa-vay."  He went on about diabetics and blood sugar, but I didn't see anyone lining up to try it.

Today:  Both mornings, I've been awakened by a shy little knock at the door and then a not-so-shy knock at the door and then a little head appearing around the corner.  Graysen loves to get up early and loves to come get in Mimi's bed to snuggle.  Mike gets up early and goes downstairs to read or try to sleep some more, so we have long and random talks about dreams and owls and birthday party hats and Cinderella - and much more.  I treasure those times - sleepy eyes, hair all messed up, and warm little arms and legs.  She's learning about Christmas the past few days and is so excited even before Thanksgiving at hearing about Rudolph and Frosty and Jingle Bells.

I had wanted to take her to story time at the library for a long time, and we actually pulled it off today.  The fact that the temperature was in the mid-30s didn't stop us.  She was so cute waking along with me and making comments about everything.  It took us maybe 10 minutes to get there, checking out all the cracks in the sidewalk and all the leaves and pine cones.  We were early, and the place looked dark, so I had a feeling story time was cancelled.  We walked around the town, looking in windows and talking about important things until the doors opened - and sure enough it was one of the weeks when it was cancelled.  I still got a temporary library card and went over to the children's section to let her look at and hear a few books.  We checked out "The Lost Mitten," and one about Cinderella and a ballerina - lots of pink and stars on the front.

Then we walked across the street to a deli for hot chocolate.  I don't think Graysen had ever had any, and it was such a treat to watch her taste it.  Really nice lady who waited on us cooled it down and put in more milk than anything.  She was talking about how she was frying turkeys for a free Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wanted to come.  Such a nice thing.  She said they would serve everyone until it was gone.  We then walked home and again examined every puddle and light pole and bush she wanted to.  I loved that I had the time and patience to do this with her.  My hands were frozen into claws carrying her pine cones and leaves, but it didn't matter.  It was a special time to share with her.

Katherine has been sweet and smiley and bubbly most of the day, but there have been times when she got tired of all the distractions offered and just wanted to be walked around or fed or bounced.  I don't mind.  There's nothing like kissing the back of a nearly 6-month-old's neck and watching those little hands reach for things.

I took Graysen up for her nap and read her 2 books and she was already yawning.  As I got up, she said, "Thank you, Mimi, for reading me books.  I love you SO much."  Again, my heart couldn't get any fuller.

Now she's still asleep, Ryan's downstairs stuffing a turkey for the big dinner tomorrow, and Mike is feeding Katherine.  I took this chance to get away for a few minutes and write.  I might not get a chance for days, and I don't want to forget anything.  Maybe I'll remember to take some pictures next time/

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November 4

Since I have been absent so long, I just want to dump a bunch of pictures and thoughts before I forget them so one day I will halfway remember this part of my life.

Just looking at pictures from my camera:

This is what happens when I get up from my chairs.  It happens in the den and in the sewing room.  If I leave, Stella takes my place immediately - and then acts miffed when I make her get up.  She usually sleeps with her front paws in Mike's shoes, so I guess she's missing him.

I was lucky enough to get to type another paper for Daniel, and this one was more interesting to me than his usual "indians and presidents" I tease him about.   This is for the Natchez Antiques Forum of which he is the director.  His lecture is on Octavia Walton LeVert, a socialite who lived in Mobile in the 1800s, traveled to Europe, and entertained literary and political figures in her home.  She compiled her letters into a book called Souvenirs of Travel.  I enjoyed it, and I'm sure his audience will love it too, especially with the beautiful slide presentation.  

Daniel showing much relief at having wrapped his paper up almost a week early!  He's become a good friend to us through the years, and we'll miss him if we move.

I did a little bit of sewing this fall.  I have to admit that I would love to sew more with knit fabrics.  They are so comfortable for children - easy on and off, never need ironing, etc. - but they're a little tricky to sew.  I kept seeing patterns for leggings and knew that they would be super easy - but I just needed someone to hold my hand.  Beth's Heirlooms in Wetumpka offered a class that I signed up for using this pattern.

I went and picked out my fabric and pattern a few days beforehand and found some brown corduroy for a matching top, then came home and traced the pattern and cut out my leggings.

The class was on a Thursday night, and there were just 4 of us, so it was a really fun time.  Beth gave us some tips and instructions, but we mainly just followed the pattern and sewed them up in no time.   I made both girls a pair, and they turned out so cute.

I can see myself making a lot of these over the next few years.  With the NW climate, these are almost necessary we wear under dresses and long tops.

I had the idea for the dress/tunic and did the embroidery first thing.  I found this fox pattern from Urban Threads, and it just makes me happy.  This is the same place I found the leaf patterns I posted earlier - just a little different from the usual embroidery sites.

I think it looks very fall-ish without being too Halloween and different from the usual pumpkins.  I did the embroidery and then the leggings, mailed the leggings, and then started working on the top.

I loved making this pattern.  The neck facing and pockets just add so much to the look.  I knew kind of what I wanted for the contrasting fabric, and when I saw this at Joann's, I knew it was perfect.  

Peeking out just a little bit from the neck and pockets, it adds something to this otherwise boring brown corduroy.  Which is going to be a pain to keep lint and cat and dog hair free.

Right now, I have it hemmed for more of a dress length, but I'll mail it and see if it fits and whether to hem it to be a tunic.  I thought about looking for some fox buttons, but I'll wait to see about the fit before I order special buttons.

Once I see the whole picture, I can see that the embroidery is a tad too high but not terrible. 

Next time, I'll use lighter fabrics and skip the embroidery - maybe I'll even try a knit.

The only other thing I've done this fall is the Lazy Day Skirt from Oliver + S.  There are several versions of it, and I want to try them all.  I did Graysen one to match her pumpkin using piping.  Easiest think I've ever made, and I love the hem facing.

Lots of orange!

And this!  Graysen was asking Google to show her pictures of "leopard cubs" and her parents were teasing her about leper cups.  She is very serious about it though and has surpassed me in her knowledge already.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I think it was worth it

Mike left Thursday morning in the Big Yellow Truck with probably half of our possessions headed to Snoqualmie.  Probably if he had listened to anyone, traveling 2000 miles alone the week after finishing radiation and chemo was not a good idea.  But who's listening.  The idea was to go ahead and move everything, and then we couldn't change our minds,

This was the size truck he decided on after a lot of research and a lot of measuring and realizing the kind of truck he could reasonably handle.  It just took 2 laps around the Home Depot parking lot before he was gone, and I had to follow the best I could.

Mustard yellow seems to be our color lately.  This was a Washington-looking morning to be unloading at Uncle Bob's.  We'll miss Uncle Bob's - but not much.  We'll miss the monthly payments when we have to pay triple in WA.

This was the first backing-up trial, and he did it flawlessly and parked with the big boys at the storage lot.  I've seen worse parking with the little silver car.

There was more room in the truck than we thought.  There were 70 boxes and other items from the storage unit, and he took 3 of the heaviest pieces of furniture plus the Japanese maple that I couldn't leave behind.  We hired 3 people from a moving company to load it, and they did a wonderful job securing things and using the space well.

The trip took 4 LONG days and 3 nights on the road.  He stopped in northern Arkansas, Sioux Falls (where he enjoyed the company of Ryan's parents for a Chinese dinner and good conversation), and the last night in Montana, I think, or Idaho.  He got there fairly late Sunday night and then felt pretty rough yesterday, running a fever and having chills.

He has what he calls an 85% recovery this morning and is receiving the best medicine ever.  Here he's reading Graysen a book on fish - fish eyelids, fish eggs, daddies, mommies, babies, frog eating flies.  Fun, fun.  And it looks like a nice cozy fire to read by.


I have 25 different things to do this morning and am determined to get them done, so hopefully I will add some sewing pictures later and Halloween ones.  It's just hard to ever get pictures and thoughts together - and find the camera USB cord.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn at the Nursing Home

The Lakeview Baptist Church Turban Ladies told me they were making Mama a basket to send her at the nursing home, so I went by to pick it up, and found a beautiful pumpkin basket just overflowing with goodies.

 This is a talented and dedicated group of ladies who meet every Wednesday morning to make turbans for cancer patients.  Bonnie, Barbara, Mary, Ann, and Joyce.  It was a small group that day with a lot of people missing.

I used to go more before my life became so complicated but am always invited and welcomed when I do show up.  They not only cut, sew, and deliver the turbans, but some of them crochet beautiful hats and share those with cancer patients and anyone who could use them.  In the foreground is an adult bib to protect the clothing of hospital and nursing home patients, of which they sent Mama 5 or 6.  I need one of those myself and might have to borrow that one on top.

She was thrilled to get the basket and kept finding more and more treasures.

Here she is modeling one of the bibs.  She took one to a friend and is enjoying the others.  Before, she would have a towel to protect her clothes, and half the time it would slip to the floor during the meal.

 This is a really nice double-sided throw to keep on her recliner or at the foot of her bed.  It really comes in handy lately with the cooler weather.

I'll get a picture of Mary's beautiful hand-painted card when I go Thursday and add it here.

Debby went with me last time and helped me get Mama's winter clothes unpacked and in the closets and drawers.  I needed that!  She took Mama a beautiful fall wreath for her door.

Prettiest one in the nursing home!  Mama says everyone comments on how pretty it is.

We just got back from a wonderful 4 days at the beach, and it couldn't have been more perfect - except for maybe more fish biting.  I have way too many pictures to sort out and help me remember this trip but no time right now.  

I did a little embroidery before I left.

I used the free circle from Applique Market and a monogram from Monogram Wizard.  So easy.

Funny thing - this project took about 15 minutes, but then I started a fall one with a little appliqued pumpkin, and was almost finished when I caught the elastic in the stitching.  I was watching it and stopped the machine, but when I started to snip the mistake, the whole thing popped out of the hoop, and I was not able to match the position again.  SOOO frustrating.  I'm taking it out though, every last stitch, and will do it again.  

I think Graysen will like this Cinderella pumpkin coach.  This is from Applique Corner.  I didn't put an initial on it because I know Kate will want to wear in in a couple of years.  Although Kate does need some monograms of her own.  I'll get busy on that.

This style of embroidery from Urban Threads interests me, and I'm working on getting the color combinations just right. These are on waffle weave dish towels.  They started out white once upon a time but got washed with something orange and turned out the nicest pale yellow color.  I could never duplicate that color again.

I love the leaves but am still trying to like these cornucopia ones better.

Beach pictures later - but soon - before I forget the details.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cinderella has her Dress

She's concentrating on the movie and waiting for the ballroom scene.  I think she likes it, and the fit could not have been better.  

Baby Kate is biding her time for cute videos, but here is one from last month.  She turned 4 months old yesterday.

I spent most of the morning learning how to get videos on Youtube and how to edit them.   I went through a lot of my old ones and had so much fun remembering.  

I can hardly remember when Graysen couldn't talk and could barely walk.  This morning, Ryan Skyped with us, and she was rattling on about hummingbirds and her new friend at the park and swinging and seeing Mila and Owen.  She even used that left hand to draw some G's for us.

We're gathering up a few things for the St. George's trip Thursday.  Very few.  Mike is smoking some macaroni and cheese, and we'll buy a bunch of shrimp on the way in.  Very simple trip.  Books and fishing stuff and a little food.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rain and other happenings

It's been so long since it rained, I think of it as a really big deal.  I woke up yesterday morning to low rumbles of thunder, and it proceeded to rain off and on all day.  In fact, I went to sleep with the sound of rain falling.  So nice.

Mike had radiation at 9:30, so I went with him so we could run a few errands.  We went to Fresh Market across the street, and it's always such a treat to go in there.

Beautiful but simple display inside the front door.

Another year I might have gotten excited about the pumpkins and things and brought home a few, but not this year.

I've added just a few things to get into the fall spirit and put up the summer things.

The front door wreath had seen too many autumns and was looking shabby, so I got rid of it and brought the back door one to the front and called it done.

Along with some fall leaves in Granny Watkins' churn and a ceramic pumpkin.  

Across the street, Lauren and Elizabeth Ann have a cute door.

A few kitchen things that make me happy and feel fall-ish.

Things are coming and going lately.

Here is the spot where the piano used to be.  

It was a nice piano but never played.  We sold it to a piano company who picked it up yesterday and moved it.  Definitely much better than trying to sell and move it ourselves.

Now what to do with stacks and boxes of piano book and sheet music - some of them 60 years old.

 I imagine a lot of them will be thrown away, but I'll have to look one last time at the mean scribbles of my first music teacher when I didn't practice  please her.

When I went to look for them, I didn't have any of that music - already packed away, I guess, but I did have the sweet memories of Mrs. Turner, my piano teacher for only 1 year, my last year.  These markings were hers, which shows I did play music like this once upon a time.  Wish I had had her the other 10 years!

Not everything is going.  Some things are coming in.  Like the new Griddler.

We didn't know we needed this.  An indoor grill, a griddle (or both at the same time), a panini maker - and much more.

But one night during a steroid high sleepless night, Woot made Mike an offer he couldn't resist,  Half of the Amazon price for the same thing.  It is nice, although I haven't used it.  Mike has made several things, mainly sandwiches, that are really good.  He still won't say the word "panini" though without grimacing.

AND the Cinderella dress is finally on its way to Graysen, along with the hairband, a tiara, and some long white gloves.

I still love those little sleeves - although not the inside facing!  I'll do better on that next time.

I got busy and embroidered a couple of shirts for Graysen.  Aunt Kathy should not look at the Halloween one - fair warning.  Graysen likes 'piders but not ladybugs.

The little creature had eyes and a smile, I guess to make it look more friendly, but it was a disaster, so I took them off.  Except for one gray eye that resisted all my attempts.  It does look a little sinister with that one silver eye.

The monogram I love.  I had this little scrap of paisley fabric that went so well with the shirt, but it was so hard to pick out the right colors that I almost gave up on it.  It's really a little more pink that the picture looks.  The design was a freebie from Applique Market,   I can't remember where the other one came from.

 That's finally all.  I think I'll just coast the rest of the week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Muddle

I guess that's what our lives are right now.  It's not a bad life right now - but still seeming to be in a holding pattern:  Waiting to list the house and then waiting to sell it.  Hoping to pack up all our belongings and move 2600 miles across the country.  Waiting to see the babies grow up and being able to spend time with them.  Waiting for these cancer treatments to end. And for a particular radiation machine to fix its gun filaments.   Waiting to see what new crisis (or drama) Mama will report from the nursing home.  Praying for the things friends and family members are also going through at this time.  Daring to even follow national and local news.

I have mentioned jokingly to a couple of people lately the phrase "bloom where you're planted."  Meaning that we are not always in a place or situation we love, but we should make happiness where we are.  And we've been planted in a lot of places in the last 20 years, Montgomery being the most unlikely place of all.

I have a birthday coming up in a little over a week, and I found the gift I'm going to ask for.
A book called The Bee Cottage Story:  How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness.  I'm not sure decorating is ever going to bring me happiness, but the idea of making our space comfortable and even pretty has always appealed to me.  Maybe I'll learn something to help on that front and also maybe find something to help get out of this muddle.  One of my favorite blogs, Southern Hospitality, featured the book today and has some beautiful pictures.  Her blog always has things that inspire me.  I don't think Rhoda has ever found a project she couldn't tackle and has through the last several years completely changed a generic house into a lovely and inviting home.  I love to look at her before and after pictures!

I'm going to see if Mike wants to walk in the cool morning and then get a cup of coffee and tackle a few things in the sewing room.

My picture for today.  It makes me smile.

This beautiful princess wand was discovered in the Dollar Bin at Target.  I had no idea what it would "do" but I knew Graysen would probably like it, so I sent it last week to be put into the Potty Reward basket.  Looks like it made its way into those sweet hands and will now drive everyone crazy  entertain everyone until the battery somehow mysteriously runs out.  It not only lights up but loudly sends out Fairy Godmother "music."  You can almost see Griff being changed into a beautiful horse or Jack into a toad.