Archive for February, 2009

Thoughts on a snowy day…


The weather forecast for today was only “snow showers.” Our “showers” have been softly falling most of the day. Running errands earlier this morning revealed road conditions that were interesting (or just plain sloppy.) So it is nice to be safely back home with a warm fire going and no plans to venture out for the evening.

I thought perhaps you might wonder about the sheltie that appears on the front page banner. She is our Sasha – who lives for her Frisbee and is the senior puppy in our trio. Now 12 years of age, she has earned special perks. I confess to occasionally sneaking a slightly larger portion to her when the others aren’t looking. The others being Molly, our middle child who chases airplanes and Kelsie, our bi-blue merle who is the youngest and definitely the alpha-female of the group. Having been afraid of all dogs,  my husband decided to cure me back in 1966. Our first puppy was a beautiful German Shepherd that ended up weighing 110 pounds and was eventually trained as a sentry dog to serve with the Army in Vietnam (1967-1968?) Sadly, we lost track of him, but I often think back to how wonderful and smart he was and the roll he played in teaching me how special dogs can be. We then found our first rough collie, Sandy, who was friend and guardian through my husband’s second Vietnam tour. Onto our 2nd collie – Goliath, who we got when our son, Dave, was 6 months old. Raising a child at the same time has blanked out much of our “Golly’s” time with us..no doubt unfair to the pooch. He was still an important member of our family and by that time, I could not imagine our home without a furry 4-legged creature. I don’t remember how we got attached to shelties, but there has been no turning back since our first one arrived – another Sandy. This pint size bundle of energy was with us for about 13 years and her playmates arrived in 1995 – Dutchess and our Sasha in 1997. As human’s, we outlive our family pets and it never gets easier when one is gone.

The girls we have now are quite the travelers – 2 of them have been as far as the Arctic Circle and our Kelsie has all ready made her first trip through the Canadian wilds and into Alaska. So, I though a few photos were in order as I will no doubt refer to “our girls” in the days to come. Now you know what they look like. 

The girls on the beach at Kluane Lake, Yukon

The girls on the beach at Kluane Lake, Yukon

  As promised, photos of my Medicare Quilt in progress are also included. For those of you who are not quilters, it may appear nonsensical.


  However, the sequence will be very clear. From a pile of selected fabrics, to cutting, piecing, pressing and then the final block, there is logic in the process. Often, it is not the completed quilt that makes your heart sing, but the journey made in getting it there.







Stay tuned – more pictures to come as the rows are sewn together. Looking farther ahead, the use of silk thread in machine quilting might be an option for this project. I saw some wonderful examples of machine quilted quilts on a recent trip to Madison. You weren’t really aware of the actual stitching – more of just a softer indentation which worked really well with the vintage look of the quilt. Considering all the seams in the tiny 1 1/2″ 9 patch blocks, hand quilting for these arthritic fingers just doesn’t have appeal.








Someone I know did hand quilt this very same pattern and said it was so difficult. I don’t plan on being a quilt martyr! Speaking of Madison, if you are in the area, there is a small, but exquisite exhibit of Victorian Crazy quilts. The exhibit is located at the Design Gallery on the UW-Madison Campus. 


 The embroidery work and details are astonishing.  www.designgallery.wisc.edu

Next to quilting, especially during our long Wisconsin winters, I love to read. Recently read books include The Story of Edgar Sawville (David Wroblewski) – you gotta love those pooches and such a beautifully written novel; The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose (Jennifer Donnelly); and The House at Riverton (Kate Morton.) The two “Rose” novels are slightly bawdy, but great fun and have lots of wonderful turn of the century England and America settings. The House at Riverton is also well done with a fascinating look into the English upper society and the various levels of servants in a large household – downstairs maids vs. upstairs maids. By the way, Ms. Morton has a 2nd novel coming out in April – The Forgotten Garden, also an English setting. Do you see  a pattern here? My ultimate dream trip would be to England and Wales (family roots there.) Since it will stay as a dream, reading about those places will keep me going.

Have you seen the newest issue of Victoria? After viewing the recipes, particularly the little shortbread cookies, spring can’t come soon enough…you need fresh basil and lime zest to add to the shortbread dough. And the granita recipe using Prosecco – yum…have to try that…right after the 2 feet of snow clears from the deck and we can bring out the patio set…maybe the end of May???

“Winter – a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey and enjoy every idle hour…” (unknown, from Victoria’s Book of Days)

P.S. Our #1 son called earlier today – can you picture this? He just wanted to let us know his camera was set up and aimed at the sunrise over Denali (Mt. McKinley) This magnificent mountain range is often hidden by cloud cover. Today he had a clear view…be sure to visit his Journal page at www.sixtyonenorth.com


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Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?? Here I am, at almost 65, trying to join the world of bloggers. I can type, having come from the world of old manuals…does anyone remember being in typing class back in high school?  (late ’50’s, early ’60’s) We used manual typewriters without any letters, numbers or characters on the keys. Our eyes were to remain focused on the overhead chart which showed the letters, etc. No way to cheat, either.  Then the incredible advancement to electric typewriters in an office setting and the wonder of an entire room being devoted to something called a computer…I recall huge pieces of equipment, controlled room temperatures and newly written programs by very smart individuals called “programmers.”  These new programs would have to run the entire night and took up miles and miles of tape on reels. I bet my Bernina sewing machine has more memory then that entire room! So, here I am – back to typing again, but so much more efficiently. And guess what, I still don’t have to look at the keys as that earlier training never left.

Now, I need to figure out why anyone would be interested in reading my posts. We lead a very quiet life in Northern Wisconsin and prefer it that way. Both my husband and I grew up in very large cities and when the decision to actually build a house was made, we both wanted to be in a much more rural environment. We don’t have the excitement of talking about crazy things that happen as we commute to work, say in L.A. or downtown Brooklyn, N.Y. but then those same folks don’t have the joy of seeing a black bear cross the south field in the spring or waiting for a flock of geese to land on our pond as they migrate. We are blessed with a wonderful variety of ducks every year and being in Wisconsin, of course, many deer. We even had a tiny red fox peak in the French doors from our deck one evening around Thanksgiving. His/her? expression was as if to say, gosh, those 3 shelties look so comfy laying near the fireplace with their people around them. Eagles are frequently sighted and unfortunately, too many muskrats have made the pond their home.

Being retired, we have a never ending list of things to do and cannot imagine being bored, ever. But the winter of 2008-2009 seems much too long all ready and we still have snowy weeks ahead to get through. For now, we live in a world that is covered in white, trees that are still asleep and ponds and lakes that are frozen over. As the days advance and grow longer, I will wait for the first sign of spring in this neck of the woods…the arrival of our red-winged blackbirds and hearing their distinctive song. While garden catalogues are calling and seed orders must be made, I continue to spend hours in the sewing room. My goal of a “Medicare Quilt” is almost reached. This project has been inspired by a “Birthday Quilt” pattern from JJ Stitches in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The original antique quilt was first viewed at the Houston Quilt Festival a couple of years ago and carried a price tag of $25,000.00 My version will cost considerably less! Working out of my exisiting stash for the most part, the quilt is made up of 1,024 nine patch blocks. The charm is in the fact that each block finishes to 1 1/2.” The nine patch blocks are alternated with shirting or conversational prints and everything is placed on point. As of 2/14/09, I am about 100 blocks away from finishing, so will end this posting for now and return to the sewing machine for the afternoon. I intend to keep you informed as to my progress. The next stage will involve sewing all the rows together. I will try to add a photo soon.

For now, have a good day and a good week. A special thank you to our #1 son who lives in Alaska and is responsible for setting up my blog site – I look forward to hearing back from you and sharing stories and experiences.

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Happy early b-day mom:)

Sooo… what are ya waiting for – start typing!!!

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