Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last of the Hodgepodgery for 2014

Seeing as how I've already posted ONCE today so that I wouldn't forget precious Christmas memories, I'm going to make this HP short.

As in 31 words or fewer per answer.   I resolve to use fewer words...ahem.

So excited for Joyce (our faithful hostess) and her family as their daughter ties the proverbial knot this weekend. Somehow Joyce managed to squeak out not only the questions but also some thoughtful answers. Read mine, then hers, by clicking this cute button.

1. Share a favorite moment from your Christmas holiday celebration.

Read the previous post. It's there.  Another was my youngest boy's hilarious impression of me whenever someone used a knife to open a gift. The scared face. The warbling voice.

2. What would you say has been the biggest news event during your life so far?


3. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 is Marsala. What say you-like or no like? Would I find this color anywhere in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade to either? 

I like it, but not sure I LOVE it. Yes, it's in my home's decor in small doses.   think if it's got some pink undertones, it would work in my wardrobe.

4. Would you rather meet your ancestors or your great grandchildren? Explain why.

Ancestors.  I would thank the ones who prayed me into a relationship with Jesus.  

5. Share one life lesson learned in 2014?

Cancer strikes people closer to my heart all the time. This year it claimed Andrey (a family friend) and has struck my friend Renee'.  Don't take friendships for granted.

6. What was your best or favorite purchase made in 2014?

Airlines tickets to Kansas!

7. What is one thing you're looking forward to in the new year?

Remodeling the kitchen. Well, having it DONE, not actually DOING it or living through it.  

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I'll be visiting my 101 in 1001 soon, and seeing progress (or lack thereof) rather than making any actual resolutions. I'm a goal setter and that works.

Not our Typical Christmas, For Sure

Nothing was ordinary or typical about our Christmas celebration this year.  We did things differently.

Some things were within our control, and some were not. But in the end, it all worked out, and I'm looking back fondly on what initially caused me some consternation.

Isn't that a good word, consternation?

First, instead of bemoaning the fact that my parents don't celebrate Christmas anymore (and haven't for about a decade), I embraced giving, Hanukkah style.  I decided to give them eight little Hanukkah gifts and deliver them at odd times to their porch each day of Hanukkah (which, this year was Dec 17-24). My MO was to "drop and run".

The only time I stayed was on night one, and only because my sister and baby niece were there. That baby is irresistible.

Eight days of drop-and-run was my plan, anyway, until I got the flu. Or rather, it got me.

I was much too sick by the time the eighth day came.

We were all sick.  Too sick to even have our adult kids over for Christmas Eve, too sick to go to a service, too sick to cook or bake or anything typical of Christmas Eve here.  We rescheduled for Saturday.

My friend Bonnie came over on Christmas Eve night to deliver her annual plate of homemade cookies. She also gave me a tube of "Beautiful Day" hand lotion and told me that I'm her beautiful day. She said it very seriously, that every day of being friends is a beautiful day.  I can't tell you how much that meant.

Since I was sick, I kept my distance, but Bonnie said she really wanted a hug before she left. That part was very typical. It's how we roll.  But when I opened the door to say goodbye (and chat more, of course), the cold air set off a coughing jag.

Then my mom called and begged me not to come over with a gift, but rather stay in and get well. She said they were having so much fun finding my gifts on the porch and were very touched, but to please don't venture out in the bone-chilling air.

I told her I had planned not to come that day, much as I wanted.    (Secretly what I wanted was for her to bring me some of her famous potato soup that she always fixed when we were little and recovering from illness. But since she has a hard time being on her feet, I didn't ask.  I also secretly wanted my dad to bring over some cough drops, not because we were out of them, but because he used to work for a pharmacy as a delivery man when he was going to seminary in 1974. He would bring us Sucrets throat lozenges, like candy.  I guess I was craving nostalgia and TLC from my mama and daddy.)

Next day--Christmas Day--what happens? They call and ask what we need. I say cough medicine. She says, "Got lunch plans?" and I think I mumbled "canned soup."  She heard everyone coughing in the background and said, "Okay, I won't keep you. We'll be over with lunch."

Lo and behold, they dropped off some of Mama's homemade potato soup AND vegetable soup, plus Robitussin, cough drops, Gatorade, Whoppers candy, and other stuff.

God knew. Jehovah-Jireh ("he sees and provides") .  He saw my wants and my needs.  He provided therapies in a special way: He used sickness to unite me with my parents on December 25th, a day that has, for 10 years, divided us .  I was overcome with gratitude. It was the beginning of healing in more ways than one.

Then Saturday finally came and we got to celebrate with the kids. They said they actually liked it better this time, not cramming in Christmas eve service, meal, gift exchange, two families, their own Christmas AND my daughter-in-law's mother's wedding (which is TODAY!).  They appreciated the relaxed pace and low expectations--and the gifts, of course.

Her little brother did a painting in art class, and the teacher had artwork printed on mugs and other keepsakes. My daughter was surprised that it made her cry to receive such a personal gift from him.

If the boys don't come to you for pictures, you have to go to them. Xbox One was a new gift and they couldn't get enough.

My three favorite girls.   
(Photo credit: Hubby, who didn't feel well enough to pose.)

And finally, my favorite photo.  Steve (in brown) had been trying to find a place for his hand. Her hip?Her waist? Her shoulder? His side?   "I never know what to do with my hand. It just sort of hangs there awkwardly."
To which Ben (tall guy) says, "What hangs there awkwardly?"


They lost all composure and then finally, almost,  regained it. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

28th on the 28th

Paul and I have been married 28 years today.   Anniversaries are always a good time for reflecting on the past and looking ahead to the future.  It seems a bonus to me that we get to do this at the end of the calendar year as well as the end of another year of marriage.

I'm sure a wedding just three days after Christmas didn't seem like a bonus in 1986 to my parents, but I promised it would never happen again.  (The bonus was the son-in-law whom they adore.)

In the kind sovereignty of God, we celebrated our anniversary last weekend because our married sons had given us tickets to a Phil Keaggy concert in Pennsylvania, so we went away Saturday (the 20th) and came back Sunday night.  Our daughter came to the house to watch her "baby brother" and the dog for us.  They're wonderful kids; they really spoil us.

The timing was perfect to be celebrating because on Monday we both got sick. Worst coughs we have had in years. Fever, aches, fatigue.  It was so bad that we had to cancel all plans with our grown kids for Christmas Eve.  We're much better now, but not up to venturing out for an "on the day" dinner as I always wish for.

Rather than write a new post, I'll just copy and paste what's been on my heart today, and what I posted to Facebook this morning:

28 on the 28th. 

We took our vows seriously on that candlelit, slightly snowy night in December of 1986, but boy, were we ever clueless! 

We had God, each other, supportive families and friends, a dinky apartment, and 8 million dreams for happily ever after. 

I didn't understand that marriage actually took work and sacrifice. (My parents had made it look it so easy.) 

I didn't realize that being parents ourselves would be the hardest and best joint venture of our lives. 

I never pictured being injured in childbirth in a way that would make me wholly dependent on his strength, untrained nursing skills, and uncanny fatherly ways with a newborn. 

In 28 years, I have never once doubted Paul's faithfulness, even when I've been the ugliest, hardest person on earth to live with.

I have never feared for our finances because he is a competent provider and wise money manager. His guitar playing brings me comfort and joy. 

His handy skills make me hot for him. (Sorry, kids. Mom still has hormones.) 

But most of all, in 28 years of being married to my Paul, I have learned firsthand that God knows what He's doing when he brings together two stubborn donkeys who say those two little-but-loaded words, "I do." I love you, Paul... and always will.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Catching Some Z's in the Hodgepodge

Lots to do before the ta-da, so I'll make this quick. I like the Hodgepodge and the chance to keep a pleasant routine in the midst of everything that's so un-routine right now. Thanks, Joyce, for gracing us with this fun meme in the midst of YOUR very un-routine December! 

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen? 

Anyone who fights any enemy that intrudes a person, place, or thing deserves hero status.

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 

...old--my husband
... new--my haircut that I got yesterday
...borrowed --a tube pan from my friend
---blue--a navy sweater with a bit of bling on the front

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?  

I have to be in the mood, and that mood doesn't hit more than a couple times a year.  When I was working at the beach one summer during college, one of my THREE jobs (I worked 18 hours a day)
was at the Candy Kitchen on the boardwalk.  The smell of all that sugar and chocolate and peanut butter and other junk really turned me off for a decade.   If I eat it, I like just a one-inch square of chocolate with nuts. I've never made it and never will.

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 

I made my first flight when I was 26.   My hubby had won an all-expenses paid trip for two to Tampa, Florida.  I love to fly. Yes, we went to Kitty Hawk about 10 years ago when vacationing in Corolla Light in the Outer Banks.  

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

Teaching--me, my daughter, daughter-in-law, nephew and his wife.  In two counties and across one state border,  the classrooms have (or have had) five  Mrs. Z's, one Mr. Z, and a Ms. Z.  Two of my sisters were also teachers at one point.

Financial services/insurance--hubby and two sons

Law enforcement--two nephews and a brother-in-law .

For a while we thought our second son would be a 3rd-generation pastor.  He might still become one, but for now the Lord has him doing another type of work he's passionate about.  He has a blog called the Gradual Millionaire, which I'm sure he wouldn't be writing if he were a pastor.  Ha.

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

I already did it.  I bought the last of the Christmas gifts on my list.  ( I think.)

7. This Christmas I hope  there is no drama. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm having fun being Hanukkah Zoannakkuh.  My parents enjoyed finding their surprise gift bag which I dropped off at their door yesterday.  I made a set of four Hanukkah placemats for their little kitchen table.  I'd show pictures, but I haven't uploaded them and I'm curled up in bed for a long winter's nap  short afternoon nap.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hanukkah Zoannakkah

I'm here. I haven't forgotten my peeps in blogland.

But I have been uber busy, as you all have, I'm sure. I mean, it IS almost Christmas time and we all know that Mrs. Claus does the lion's share of the prep work. That doesn't seem to change with the seasons of life.

However, I am making a change and it's not Christmas-related, but yet it is. It's about the peace on earth part. To quote an old song, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." 

I've decided to change something in my heart to make for a merrier holiday. It actually means MORE work, but that's okay. Love means commitment, and commitment involves work.  

What's the heart change all about?  It's about Hanukkah.  I'm going to do more than acknowledge Hanukkah; I'm going to help my parents celebrate in a small, meaningful way. 

In previous years, I have resisted for reasons that don't need the worldwide web to know. Let's just say that to be raised Christian by these very same parents,  with Christmas as a highlight of the year, only to have my parents reject December 25th  as "pagan" about 10 years ago,  has been a very painful thing for me to accept.  I've dealt with my pain childishly--throwing temper tantrums, not wanting to be together on their terms this time of year, circling the wagons with my own offspring,  and so forth.  Bitter, bitter, bitter. 

What peace on earth is there to that kind of thinking and behavior? 

Why not, I asked myself, try to build bridges this year instead of burn them? Why make it all about me and what I want? Why not embrace something they feel is important, even if  Hanukkah had no place in our family celebrations as good ole Southern Baptists!

I've heard counselors say that you should not wait for the feelings to come before changing if you want a changed relationship. Start doing the deeds and then the feelings will follow. It might take time, but the heart has a way of lining up with the hands. 

There are eight nights of Hanukkah, one for each night a candle is lit to remember the miracle of the eight nights of olive oil being provided by God to light the menorah in the rebuilt Temple. There was only enough oil for one night, according to what the Maccabees found, but God is in the business of miracles.

So, I'm going to deliver eight little gifts, one per night, to my parents' door. They live about 15 minutes away, so it's an easy sleigh ride. To mix holiday metaphors.

I don't know what to call a Jewish Secret Santa.  I guess I'm Hanukkah Zoannakkuh.

My gifts: 

Tuesday night--2 matching Hanukkah placemats  (making them today)
Wednesday night--8 cloth napkins  (making)
Thursday night--a mug with my son's own artwork on it (a school fundraiser too)
Friday night--donuts (Hanukkah is all about the donuts)
Saturday night--a gift card to some place they eat (they eat out a lot, like most retirees!) 
Sunday night--hot, fresh rolls (they love the ones I make) and some Sandhill Plum jelly made by  my friend Barb in Kansas. (Sandhill plum jelly is one of my dad's nostalgic treats from his days growing up in KS)
Monday night--framed photos from Daddy's 80th birthday which we celebrated on Thanksgiving 
Tuesday- tea and burnt cookies. My mom loves Bedtime Blend  tea ever since I brought her some during a recovery from surgery.   And of course burnt cookies for Daddy.  Yes, burnt cookies, his favorite. Type isn't as important as "flavor". 

I missed the Wednesday Hodgepodge last week, but hope I can squeeze it in this week. Might be one of my super short (like 8 words for each answer) ones. 

Toodles from 
Hanukkah Zoannakkuh ! 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Mince Alors! It's the 200th Hodgepodge!

1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?

Our meal "plan". When I had six people to feed every night, I usually had a plan and we all ate the same thing.  A 9x13  was the regular size dish I used. Or a full crockpot. Or my 12" skillet. But now that there are just three of us, we typically have leftovers and my guys are easy to please. What's for dinner, you ask? Lasagna, chicken and dumplings, and crab soup, that's what. Sometimes I'll even say, "We're hodgepodging it tonight." And I watch my son reach for the
cereal, my hubby for yesterday's meatloaf, and me for the eggs and
pancake mix.

2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?

Oh, boy, this is a PhD question at 7 a.m. and my brain is still in kindergarten. Can I give the kindergarten answer? "Peace on earth means everybody just gets along, and goodwill to men is the cheap store my dad shops at on Super Saturday for two-dollar shirts."  

 But my PhD answers includes the fact that peace is not contrived on earth, is not the absence of conflict, but Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He is Peace and he gives it through forgiveness of our sins, through simple prayers we pray for peace in our struggles, through scripture that assures us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. It is from that peace that goodwill to men actually flows. If you have peace, you won't fret, fuss, fear, demand your own way, insist on being right. Rather, you will desire the good of everyone, the blessings and not the curses for them.

3. Which edible treat you are most looking forward to sampling this December?

The cookies that my friend Bonnie and her girls drop off every year to neighbors. 

As a trio, they spend hours and hours making sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies,  and peanut butter cookies, and then deliver them on cute plates with homemade cards. It's always a surprise which night they arrive, and the cookies never last long

4. It's that most wonderful time of the you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year?

It's wonderful when circumstances in one's life are wonderful, but for many people Christmas is like a neon sign whose message blinks "Sadness Here," or "Lonely, Party of One," or "Dysfunction Junction."   

I am going to say something here that I told my sister, which probably won't sit well with everyone. But even as a Christian, I have come to believe that Christmas is not nearly so much about celebrating the birth of Christ as much as it is an emphasis on gift-giving.  When people have money and can buy gifts because they want to, or to save face, or because they'll be receiving gifts, they feel okay. But when hard times hit or the family dynamics are terrible and no one can or wants to give gifts, the "wonderful" is nowhere to be found.  When Christmas reminds us of the people we've lost, where's the wonderful? On a personal level, it hurts that my parents stopped celebrating Christmas a long time ago and decided to go with Hanukkah, which I don't celebrate. It's complicated, and not so wonderful.

Besides, the day after Christmas often is a let-down. 

I personally like Easter better.  While Christmas puts the focus on Christ's birth, it doesn't mean much without knowing that Jesus came to die--and to be resurrected--as the only way for us to have peace with God.  To celebrate the risen Lord with other believers is the absolute best. No letdown the day after Easter. 

5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary 

(actual or online) and why?

Mince alors. Why? Because I posted on Facebook that I had checked out at Home Depot in a self-checkout lane , and for fun I used the French language button.  When my friend Glen in Belgium read that, he wrote "Mince alors..." for my brave attempt.

 "Mince alors" literally means "thin then" which is senseless, so I looked for another translation . It also means "wow."  

6. Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?

Are you assuming I like to decorate my tree? No, I like having it done, but not doing it since the chore has turned into a solo venture.

What I do enjoy decorating all my myself is my dining room table.  I love a pretty centerpiece, nice dishes, sparkling silverware, flickering candles, cloth napkins, the whole bit.

7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general.

One thing? Mince alors, it's hard to narrow it down to just one. But I'll say I've learned that I find myself truly caring about a handful of bloggers whom I regard as friends.  To share their joys and sorrows, to pray for them, to enjoy their posts and pictures, to read their comments, to get their opinions, advice, or perspectives on things I need help with--those are all things I enjoy about my "real life" relationships.  I would sincerely miss and be saddened by the loss of any of my blogging friends.

FYI this is Blog Post 2025 for A Penchant of Pens which began in 2005.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I posted last week in the morning that the search for my daughter's friend's sister  Jessica (33) was still on .She had disappeared on Friday, Nov 21.   I am beyond sick and grieved to report that Jessica Padgett was found dead Wednesday the 26th--which happens to be MY sister's birthday, so it affected me even more, the day before Thanksgiving. Jessica's stepfather confessed to raping and murdering her and then burying her body under the shed.    What a sick and evil man!

Every single day, many times  a day, my thoughts go to the family, my prayers for her husband, three kids, her mom and dad, her stepmom, her sister and brother, her best friends, her daycare co-workers and children who loved her.  It is in times like these I have to cling to my Prince of Peace and trust that vengeance is His.

I didn't want to end on a down note, but the reality is that I can't fathom what every day, and every holiday, and every birthday (December 15th), will feel like for Jessica's family.
Please pray right now before popping over to someone else's HP.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Link-up

For the first time ever, I'm doing a mystery quilt and it's also my first Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.

It's a virtual sew-along, in which we (all quilters everywhere) can join, for free and for fun.  All the chatter is invigorating, the fabric selections that people show nearly intoxicating.  The link is here to visit other Grand Illusion quilt bloggers.

Bonnie's inspiration came from her visit to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  Please treat yourself to her pictures of this beautiful place. They make me yearn to go there myself--not this winter, of course, but on a gorgeous day in July. 

She was inspired by the yellow awnings, the diamond shaped black and white tile floors, the cool aqua ceilings, the velvety green sofa, and the pink geraniums that are the classic hallmark --or should I say "hall marks" (since the geranium-abundant carpet really does mark the halls of the hotel)? 

Bonnie Hunter has designed a quilt for  which she will give us one clue each week for many weeks. To plan,she gave us the colors  about a month ago. I made a fun trip to Lowe's for the color cards, and I just LOVE the colors. They are the ones you'll find in my sewing room!

(I'm holding up  100 some-odd HSTs I sewed together before realizing I had mismeasured.   After all the warnings!  The grand illusion going on here is that I am good at following directions.)

I had to buy pinks and more turquoises. Oh,the drudgery of fabric shopping (she says, tongue firmly planted in cheek)!   I measured, washed the fabric, ironed it all, and labeled it all with sticky dots telling me the amount needed and amount of each piece. Then I waited.  Waited for the first clue the morning after Thanksgiving.

Bright and early, 6:30 on a Friday, I read all about it and charged forward. Just wish I'd kept a printed copy or the computer in front of me. I should know better than to go from memory.

Anyway, the triangles have to be redone, but at least I cut the black and yellow fabrics correctly.
We will try not to notice that black and yellow together live dangerously in this house. We are Ravens fan, not Steelers fans!

I ordered the Easy Angle ruler AFTER my big mess-up.  I hope it gets here by Friday.
I can only wait.  Meanwhile, I'll go check out a whole bunch of other blogs to see progress made, dreams dreamed, mistakes made (to comfort myself) and to be inspired all over again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful for the Hodgepodge

More gobble (degook?) this Wednesday. Click and join, will you?

1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week...what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?

Besides my daily Words with Friends and this new Trivia Crack game that my 12 year-old likes me to play, the last "real" ("live and in person") game I played was Sorry with my son about two weeks ago. (I whooped him, thankyouverymuch.)  

When I watch a little guy on Friday nights--which is not every week--he loves to do puzzles. He's five years old and extremely bright. His spacial perception is amazing--and what's not to love about soft little fingers turning pieces around, and a voice asking, "Does this one go hee-uh? Noooo. I think it goes hee---uh. Yessss!!! I was wight!"

I hate doing puzzles with more than 100 pieces, FYI, unless it's a quilt with fabric blocks.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?

Kansas. In particular, my "oldest" friend's house.  Barb fixed up the guest room just for me.  This was her bedroom when we were kids, and I felt so relaxed as I steeped in nostalgia. 

She hung up this little floral quilt that I had given her as a gift from Russia when I went there.

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores...whichONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? For those of you playing along who aren't in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.

Well, I WANT to nap, but we will be at my son's house this year, and we usually go straight from eating to playing games.   I am so relieved and excited that my daughter-in-law wanted to host this year because, after at least 10 years straight of all that cleaning, cooking, hosting, cleaning-up after--I needed a break this year.  We're taking a fried turkey that hubby insisted on trying --and we pick it up from Dickey's on the way to the feast ! 

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal?

Any that I don't have to cook.     (Can you tell I'm a bit burned out?)

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?

A new knife set, although I have no clue what's "hot" right now in cutlery.

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

I have started but this weekend is when I'll be doing the bulk of it online.  I absolutely will not shop in person on Black Friday! I hate that stores are open on Thanksgiving and that malls are forcing store owners to open on that day or risk paying fines. It's un-American!

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?

Our home. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Please pray for the safe return of missing person Jessica Padgett. We know her sister personally and there are just no words to describe the desperation.  I had a dream the night before last that Jessica was found safe and alive, and I felt the Lord gave me a name that relates to her whereabouts (starts with a P and ends with a D.) I am hopeful. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Doll Quilt 6: Pockets Full of Ice Cream

This doll quilt evolved. I had sewn four large pink-and-white vintage patches together in March and then said, "Now what?"  The quilt sat and sat until, one day, while working with this ice cream fabric, I heard 
it speak to me.  (If you're a quilter, you'll understand that fabric speaks.) 

I appliqued the upper left piece on point (that is, diagonally). The next one, upper right, I thought, "Kids love pockets. Let's make this one a pocket." And then I thought, "One is not enough," and --tada!--three pockets.  

In the world of make-believe, ice cream never melts. You can pull a cone or sundae out of your pocket at any moment and it tastes and looks as good as ever. 

Still in my infancy as far as free motion quilting practice goes, I sewed some squiggles. I also drew triangles and sewed over them .

Of course every bed needs a pillow, and little dollies love ice cream as much as their mommies.  So do folks who sew for them. I was eating a chocolate-dipped ice cream bar right before doing some hand stitching, and I dropped a piece of chocolate right onto a chocolate part of the fabric!   Had to chuckle...

The pillow fits inside the pocket. How cool is that?

For extra fun, I pieced the back because I just love the ice cream. And reversible things.

 I like how it gets all crinkly after washing.  This quilt may be my favorite in the bunch

Which fabrics were Barbara's? All the pink ones and the brown calico.
What did I learn from making this one? That pockets are a lot of fun. That echoing the shapes of the triangles is easy .That I wanted to keep this one for my baby niece, but she is not quite old enough to appreciate dollies. Never fear, little girl, Aunt Zo will make another one--or several--in your lifetime , just for you.

Finished in September, 2014.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Doll Quilt 5: Rough & Tumble

What is a fifth of seven? No, it's  not 1/35.   Not today anyway. 
It's this doll quilt!  This one is the fifth of seven that I made and sent to Operation 
Christmas Child. 

  •  What did I name the quilt?  Rough and Tumble
  •  Why? Because this was my first tumbler quilt and it went just a little bit rough for me. It wouldn't have, except that I am the kind of person who rushes in "where angels fear to tread." I have beginner's knowledge but expert's confidence sometimes. A tumbler quilt is made from a tumbler-shaped template, and then the pieces are to be sewn in rows, not columns! 
  • I was on vacation at the beach house when I made this; maybe I had drunk a tumbler of something before I sat down to my machine? I kept looking at my columns of sewn scraps, thinking, "Now how am I supposed to sew those zig-zagged things together neatly?" My solution? Don't!  Instead I treated them to the applique method. Hey, it worked, and I kind of like the outcome. 
  •  Who will receive this quilt?  Some little girl in a foreign country. 
  •  What inspired the fabric choices?  Bright scraps from my stash. 
  •  Which fabrics were Barbara's? The fruit, the purple floral, the blue mosaic, the girly accessories, the binding, the Eeyore backing. 
 What is the name of pattern? Tumbler (with my "adaptation"). 
  •  What did I learn from making it?  How not to make a true tumbler quilt. 
  •  When did I start the quilt and when did I finish it? August and September, 2014.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Doll Quilt 4: Posies and Chicks

Clearly, photographing at high noon on a blustery day in November on my front porch 
does not make for the best lighting.   But snow was threatening, the sky was overcast, and I couldn't find decent lighting inside the house either.  In the evening we'd  be packing the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child so this was my last chance. 

This  is fourth doll quilt of 2014 that I made.

  •  What did I name the quilt?  Posies and Chicks
  •  Why? There are flowers on the front and little birdies on the back.  I made sure I wrote "John 3:16" on each  quilt. That verse is the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  •  Who will receive this quilt?  Some little girl in a foreign country. 
  •  What inspired the fabric choices?  A trip to my local quilt shop (cleverly called Hoppin' Bobbin) with a gift card last winter. When there are no flowers and lots of white on the ground, on the trees, on your car, reported on TV, in the sky....(get the picture?), then vivid flowers and sunny warm batiks and accents of blacks will jump out at you. 
  •  Which fabrics were Barbara's? The backing. (If you haven't read previous posts, Barbara was a woman from whose widower I bought a great deal of fabric last January. I promised him I'd use that fabric in charity quilts this year.)

  •  What is the name of pattern? Classic four-patch. 
  •  What did I learn from making it?  That quilting a square within a square is rather simple but not as easy as I thought.   I could have marked a perfect square in each one, but I eyeballed it instead  for a childlike, imperfect look. 
  •  When did I start the quilt and when did I finish it? March 2014.

(Yes, I snipped off loose threads before packing.  I try not to give gifts with strings attached!)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Doll Quilt 3: Happy Critters

This doll quilt, the third of seven I finished in 2014, was the smallest and easiest, mainly because it had been almost completed by Barbara before her death.

All I did was add a scrappy border and I made a pillow to go with it.

  •  What did I name the quilt?  Happy Critters
  •  Why? Just look at those little animals. They're all happy. 
  •  Who will receive this quilt?  Some little girl in a foreign country. 
  •  What inspired the fabric choices?  I just wanted to coordinate my border colors with her whole-cloth quilt fabric. 
  •  Which fabrics were Barbara's? The red front piece and purple backing. 
  •  What is the name of pattern?  It's not a pattern. 
  •  What did I learn from making it?  Two things: (1) Not piecing the top or back sure saves a lot of time!   (2) Making a pieced border isn't as easy as I'd thought. I concentrated on keeping the colors balanced which required measuring and playing with pieces ad nauseum because that's me--someone who can complicate an otherwise simple thing. 
  •  When did I start the quilt and when did I finish it? May 2014.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mundane and Miraculous Blessings in the Hodgepodge

I'm grateful for my bloggy friends who brighten my world with their posts and comments.  It's a strange and wonderful thing to feel connected to people you've never met in real life but share a virtual bond. 

One such bloggy friend is Joyce, who dishes out these slice-of-life Hodgepodge questions every week like sweet apple pie. Join us, won't you? Click on this cute button.

1. What's something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for?

My husband's job and his work ethic.   

2. The color brown-love it or no? What's your favorite shade of brown? Most loved something in your home or closet in a shade of brown?

I like it a lot. Not gonna say love it, but it's a warm and comfortable color.  My favorite brown thing in the house is our dark cherry sleigh bed.

3. What's something you're looking forward to today?

A mani-pedi. All 20 nails really need some TLC.

4. The word 'feminism' is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months. What do you think/feel when you hear the word? If you're a woman, do you want to be described as a feminist? Why or why not?

When I hear the word feminism, I think of pushy, insecure, know-it-all women who bash men, despise traditional marriage, and poo-poo all things truly feminine.   I encountered too many of that ilk in the early 80's when I was in college.  As an English major, I was required to take certain "women's studies" classes and to read enough feminist literature to choke a yak.    

I have no desire to be described as a feminist.  I want to be a woman who feels no need to prove herself, who knows that she is a precious daughter of the King of the Universe, who treasures her role as wife and mother and sees it as a high calling that demands the greatest sacrifices with the least amount of pay. You can't earn zero dollars and still feel immensely rich unless you are convinced of the nobility of such a calling.

5. What's something you personally can't eat without making a mess?

A juicy, loaded burger.  I'm a total slob, which is why I  won't order a big juicy burger with people who don't love me!  I guess maybe I do reserve a slight need to prove that I am couth in every situation. That's a challenge when you're literally dripping evidence to the contrary--  tomato hanging out of your mouth, mayonnaise running down your wrists, and ketchup on your nose. 

6. When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift? What was it?

Last time I surprised someone with a little gift was about two weeks ago. I sent my friend Laurie (in Kansas) some fresh roasted, whole bean 
Strong Arm coffee--roasted right here in Baltimore by my son's brother-in-law. He keeps me stocked and it's so good I just had to share with my self-professed "coffee snob" of  a friend. 
7. Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric or scripture relating to gratitude.

A grateful heart is a happy heart. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

One of my Christian friends (not a close one, not Renee' whom I talk a lot about on my blog) has been battling cancer for years. She is one of the most joyful followers of Christ that I know. She shares her love for Him wherever she goes, and has been certain of His love for her in the midst of this terminal illness.F

Four weeks ago Lynn underwent an 8-hour abdominal surgery to remove a 9-inch portion of her bowel that was riddled with disease.  Doctors ran additional tests and told Lynn the lymphoma was throughout her body.   

When she was released from the hospital, she quit her salon job and prepared for the end . She herself was at peace but she begged her facebook friends to pray for her family to accept the reality that her days were short. 

We prayed hard. She is my age and has kids my kids' ages plus a young grandson. I ached for all of them.

A week later Lynn had a follow-up test with her oncologist at Hopkins. He called the next day and said, "I don't understand these results . I wondered if I was looking at the wrong patient's records.  But I'm calling to tell you that there is NO EVIDENCE OF LYMPHOMA here."  She asked if he would put it in writing for her to carry in her Bible. He said, "Did you expect this news?" And she said, "Well, I prayed, and my friends prayed, and we believe God can do all things, so I am not as surprised as you are!"   

And she has been announcing her miracle whenever, wherever, far and wide, telling people that it was God and God alone who healed her from Stage 4 cancer!