Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Laid Plans

We are packing up and heading out with the two grands for a little "camping" trip. Now if my Dad or FIL could see what we are calling "camping" they would both rise up from their graves and laugh at us. This trip is possible because before we put it in storage the last time, the great white hunter filled the gas tank with expensive but cheap compared to today's price gas.

Picture two aging grandparents and two extremely busy children. I might need more than a few days to recover from four days "vacation" Mom and Dad are coming up on Friday to retrieve their babies. Monday, they are leaving for a trip to Mexico to a fancy resort.

Here is a inside view.

Ever since the "nest" got empty, the great white hunter and I have had a retirement dream. We were going to buy a RV, and hit the road. Colorado is our home state and we want to spend time there in the summer when it is hot in AZ. I love and need the ocean, and California is just to the west. We want to see Alaska and Kentucky and on and on and on.

So, a couple of years ago, we bought the RV. The idea was to see how we liked it and to get all the kinks out BEFORE retirement. That was also BEFORE gas took it's rapid climb to outrageous. That was BEFORE the stock market took it's drop to outrageous. So, while we make the payment, pay monthly storage fees and insurance plus tags, retirement has been put on hold for at least a year. The "home on the road" sits in the storage lot because filling the gas tank is way expensive now.

I am not complaining, just whining a little. We are so blessed with good health and not suffering in any way. Just stating the facts how what you think at one time, sure doesn't mean that is the way it is going to happen. Goes to show that you are never to old to learn one of life's lessons.

The main plan was also to be able to have everything in place and just go at the drop of a hat. So why has it taken the great white hunter three days to fix things and get it ready to go? And why is it going to take me all day today and most of tomrrow to get all the stuff gathered up and stored away so we can go? Not as quick and easy as we thought either.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jeep Parts

Last week, I happened to poke my head in the computer room when the great white hunter was busy on the computer. His wallet and credit card were out on the desk. He has been telling me that there were some parts he needed for his beloved Jeep and that he was going to order them. So, I said, "Oh, you are ordering your parts." He says, "Yep, ordering my parts." Later in the week, he said something about his package should be coming soon. So, when I got the mail yesterday, there was this small package, addressed to my great white hunter. I sent him a email at work and told him that his package came but I really didn't think it was Jeep parts. He called me and told me to open it...........and here are the parts. Not sure where he was planning on putting them in the Jeep but we decided they looked a lot better around Nana's neck! I am so spoiled by that man! (DD says that he was paving the way for major $$$$ Jeep parts!)

Now remember that we have not had any measurable moisture in the Valley of the Sun for a long, long time. Spring is a very dry time in AZ. Our monsoon season starts about now. Some years that has meant a lot of storms and rain, other years, not so much. I was really surprised yesterday afternoon when Colin and I came out of Target to see a pretty black sky to the east of us. Then when the great white hunter called to tell me to open the Jeep parts box, he said it was really raining where he works across town. Later in the evening, the sky got really odd, everything got still...........and next thing you know, this is what we saw. That is lots of rain on my front porch! It rained like crazy for a while, stopped and next thing I knew the sun was shinning and the sidewalk was dry. It must have been pure steam rising from the 111 degree heat we had before the storm. Life in AZ in the summer time.

NOTE: Carol asked why it wasn't raining in the entire picture? It is one of those things that you just assume people would know until someone asks. I took this picture standing in the doorframe of my front door looking out. The part between me and the "veil" of rain is covered with a roof and that is why the rain just stops.

To any of you who come here expecting quilting things, I am sorry but I am in a quilting slump. I am, however, much more than a quilter so I keep posting. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 23, 2008


It has turned miserable hot in our little corner of the world. It does this every year so not sure why it is always a shock but it is. All the plants are starting to look like they are in pain. When you go outside, only when you have to, you see few humans about and hear the constant hum of air conditioners. Friday, when we turned on to our street, there were three air conditioning company trucks at two different neighboring houses, a real sign that Summer is here in AZ. In spite of the heat, it was a very good weekend at our house. Kids were here today to swim, the pool is finally warm enough for the adults to venture in.

I WON! Or should I say Paris won? Whatever happened, Ebby, Finn's kitty, chose my name out of the basket to win a quilt on her Orphan Train quilt blog. I had commented saying that our Princess Paris wanted Ebby to come over to play and we would give her all the kitty treats her heart desired. Now, not sure how Ebby got that message but she picked my name. Is there cat ESP? Finn had two lovely quilts for me to choose from. Julia, Colin and I had a conference and decided on "Convergence". Our thinking was that Nana could make a nine patch like that one but the bright colored one was one of a kind. Now I guess I need to find out what Ebby's favorite kitty treat is. I am excited and so honored to be getting one of Finn's quilts.

The purple rag rug is finished and home with a happy Julia. DD used the arrival of the rug to get a certain little girl to clean up the bedroom to make space for it on the floor. She was pleased, I got a special hug and kiss and what more could a Nana ask for? I am glad it is done, not to into purple. Paris is going to miss it, she had gotten very attached to it, I think she thought it was hers.

The great white hunter and I went shopping in a huge antique store on Sat. I really like this shop because a lot of the things are real antiques or at least old. A few of the stores we go to just have a collection of everything and you have to sort of sift through it.

Here was our only find but it was a good one.

I come from a family of readers. My grandmother, Dad and great aunt read all the time. I was told the story of how I came home from my first day of school just blazing mad. When someone asked me what was the problem, I told them that for a long time everyone had been telling me that I would learn to read when I went to school. Well, I had gone to school for one whole day and I still didn't know how to read! It eventually happened and my nose has been in a book every since. My kids grew up surrounded by books and two of them are carrying on the family tradition of reading constantly. Our oldest son enjoyed reading but was never into it like the other two kids.

One of my favorite memories as a child was someone reading the Sunday comic pages to me. Daddy used to check out books for me at the library and my great Aunt Cora would read them to me. My family lived with Aunt Cora in her house when I was growing up. She and my dad did not get along, I remember many a dinner that was spent with them glaring at each other during the entire thing. They spoke to each other when they had to. Great fun living in the same house. Anyway, this was something that they did together for me and I always marvel at it. I am sure they never talked about it, he just brought home the books and she read them.

Summer days meant trips to my grandmother's house about a block away. Grandma "took" magazines. She got all the ladies magazines of that time, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, and McCall's. Not only did she get them every month, but she NEVER threw them away. So, I would go to her house and sit with musty piles of magazines and read for hours. Back then all the magazines had great fiction sections. Some had entire condensed novels. When I was a teenager, my mother worked in the local drug store. She took care of the magazines as part of her job. So about once a week, she brought home a huge stack of magazines that she had torn the covers off, to be sorted and sent in for credit for being unsold. I had every teenage magazine and movie magazine printed. And I read them all. I was NOT allowed "True Story" or "True Confessions" magazines but she brought some home for herself. I read those while she was at work. Sorry, Mom. My sisters have told me that they did the same thing.............LOL

When I got old enough to go to the library for my own books, it was a daily trip during the summer. When my parents discovered that I was sitting down and reading for hours and hours every day, they decreed that I could only read a couple of my books each day. That was a cruel punishment for me but they said my eyes needed a rest. (no TV at our house, even in the early 60's). I quickly read through all the kids books and the librarian let me into the "young adult" or teenage section before I hit the age limit. I quickly read though all those books a couple of times. So Daddy and she made a bargain. I could check out from the adult section, as long as she looked over the books and made sure I didn't have anything that I shouldn't have. I only remember her telling me no once, I have always meant to find the book and read it, "The Postman Rings Twice" must have had something in it, not meant for my young eyes.

One of the series that I loved from the older kids books was "Cherry Ames". She was a Nancy Drew type character who was a nurse. She held down all different kinds of nursing jobs, while solving a mystery.

When my family lived in Texas, we lived in a town where there was a library started by going door to door to collect books. By the time we moved there, they had received several grants and some tax money. It was a small, lovely, friendly place built with love by the town's people. I used to volunteer there one day a week and I loved every minute spent processing new books for the shelf. My kids loved it too, great white hunter son #2 did some volunteer work there also. My DD's favorite thing to check out there were the old copies of "Cherry Ames". So I got to see her read and enjoy books from my childhood. (these books have copyrights in the 1940's)

Fast forward to living in AZ. The great white hunter and I love to wander antique stores and started a collection of "Cherry Ames" books for DD. We haven't seen one for a long time, there are others out there who collect these childhood memories and they are hard to find. Sat. we added the above one to her collection. She was thrilled as you rarely find them with the dust cover on them, in such good condition. She has a copy of this story, but this one is in much better shape.

Good news is, Julia and Colin have been surrounded by books, both at home, at our house and at their other Grandma's house. They have been read to daily and love books. DD has been taking them to the summer reading program at the library since school let out. Grandma, Daddy and Aunt Cora would be proud.

So, I am off now to read a book...........

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Bounty

I trekked off to Good Will on Wed. on my way to the grocery store. I really didn't expect to find anything more because they had a big 50% off sale on Sat. I had to really dig in the wire shelves and ended up with six bags of fat quarters that were $2.99 each. If you have ever wondered what 95, washed and pressed fat quarters look like, here you go. (Now I know that you have missed sleep pondering that great question.) There are a lot of name brands in there, a few that are really special and some that are down right butt ugly. The ugly ones will go great in a rag rug, right? I think this was the fat quarter section of the stash that I bought from last week.

Here are my very favorite ones. I have mentioned how I like bright colors. These just reached out and made me very happy. Will I ever use them? It is not likely but for now, just looking at them is fun. The ones with the black background are designs by Laurel Burch. Not something I would ever buy but definitely something to enjoy.

As to the question of what I am going to do with all this, where am I going to store it? I will think about that tomorrow, or maybe even the next day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Good Will Bounty!

Friday afternoon, I was wishing that some of you could be with me in my local Good Will store. The last few times I have been there, there has been no 100% cotton fabric. I figured that the word was out and the local quilters had discovered what I had and were getting there before me. First, I check out the rack labeled "Material". That always gives me a chuckle because you don't hear fabric called "material" much anymore. There were several really nice big pieces of cotton but I thought it was priced rather high. I picked out about four that I really liked, went and got a basket and headed to the back for the bagged things.

On this wall, they have all kinds of things that are in bags. I have bought several bags and used the scraps in them for the rag rug. Every so often though, you will find folded pieces in bags that are as big as the ones on the rack. Friday the rack was full and one section was nothing but bags of folded fabric. I immediately threw then ALL in my basket. Then when I noticed that the basket was full, realization came to me that, no way could I justify buying all that fabric, even if it was a great deal. For one thing........where would I put it? For another, the budget just allows so much and we have a new Hobby Lobby store opening today close by and I planned a shopping trip there this week.

About this time was when I was wishing that I could "beam" several of you down in my Good Will store! I pushed all the bags to one end of the cart and looked at them one by one to see what the assortment was. They were bagged by color and you could tell which ones had good sized pieces, even though you could not tell how big. I knew I would use blue and pinks, red and purple..........and brights. At that point I had what I felt was my limit. I put the rest of the bags back on the shelf and took a couple of the large pieces back to the "Material" rack because at $3.99 a bag, these were a much better deal. This was good quality fabric, some of it was Joann's but there were several pieces, especially the fat quarters that were quilt shop quality.

So, when I got home, I sorted by size. One pile was "over a yard", then, "at least a yard", then, "good sized pieces" and "fat quarter size". In the end, I had over 45 yards of fabric, a pile of great sized pieces and 16 fat quarters..........and it cost $36. There were two, three yard lengths of the sky blue, enough for a backing. Sat. was their 50% off day and it would have been even better but I figured it would not be there by the time I got there and I had a good choice.

I was thinking how this was clearly someones stash. Several of the smaller pieces were clearly bought for, bricks, sky fabric. It was sorted by color and there was a good selection of color although no yellows or gold. (Maybe some one beat me to that package?) Why would anyone get rid of their stash? Then it dawned on me, you would get rid of your stash if you no longer could sew. So either the owner was either ill or no longer with us. That made me feel bad but then again, I was giving it a good, loving home!

Here is it, washed but not pressed...........and that is going to take a while!

This pile is the "at least a yard" and "good sized pieces".

Here are the 16 fat quarters.

And the great "over a yard" pile.

Last but not least, these are new at my house. For years and years, I hung my clothes out on the clothes line. I love the smell of clothes dried in the sun. Then I got a job and then I got.........LAZY! I have a lovely place to hang clothes and have decided to use it. Now we like our towels, t shirts and jeans dried in the machine but, everything else is going outside. If I time my laundry loads right, I can do two loads and just use the dryer once. Not going to save the world or make a huge difference in the electric bill but if we all make that one effort, it would add up. So, off to take the dried clothes off the clothes line.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Apples, Corn, Ice Cream and Paris Approval

The title sounds like a kids alphabet book but it is what is going on at my house this week.

A lady that works for the great white hunter brought these lovely apples from her tree to us last night. Now we go pick apples in Wickenburg and there are some down south but didn't know you could grow apples like this in the valley. They will make a great Father's Day apple pie as well as some microwave applesauce for the freezer. Colin and his daddy like Nana's cinnamon apple sauce as does the great white hunter. I am going to try a small batch with some Splenda this time too, for me.

Just outside of town is a huge sweet corn field. They sell the corn until July 4th. It is so sweet and good. We bought three dozen ears today, some is for our Father's Day/DIL's birthday family get together on Sunday and the rest I will blanch and freeze. Guess what my plans are for tonight.........but come Dec., wow, it is good to have that corn in the freezer.

Son #1 sent me a gift card for Mother's Day, and this is what I bought. It is something I have wanted for a while but just never got around to getting one. Think I will try some homemade vanilla ice cream to go with the pie. Anyone have a tried and true recipe for home made vanilla ice cream? Please if you do, send it my way. I have one that uses Splenda that I plan to try later but for the pie, think I want the real thing, sugar, cream and calories!

Now, Colin asked for the scrappy rug so I made it for him, need to be equal in my gifts so I am making the purple one for Julia. Do you think this is a request for one for Princess Paris? Wonder what color combo she would like? Think I could convince her to share one with me?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bless Them

I didn't post a Memorial Day post. Although my great uncles fought in WW I, my father and father in law served in WW II and my great white hunter in Vietnam, I have not personally lost anyone to war.

However, over the weekend, in spite of gas being $4.15 a gallon, the great white hunter and I took a trip to Payson, AZ to visit the replica of the Vietnam War Memorial that travels around the county. It is 80% to scale and is 8 foot tall and 370 feet long. It consists of 34 panels that contain the names of 58,219 names of men and women listed as killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War. It is a gut wrenching memorial to LOSS.

This post is not to take a stand for or against war. We each have our belief about that and that is what this country is about, the right to have your opinion. It is a post about the great loss our country suffered in the past and is presently suffering again.

Forty years after my great uncles came home from WW I, they could ask "WHY?" and they had an answer. Forty years after Daddy and my father in law came home, they could ask "WHY?", and be secure that they knew why they fought. My generation asks that question now, 40 years later and there is no answer to our "WHY?". People viewing that wall have are confronted with overwhelming loss with no answers forty years later. Will those who are fighting today have a answer to that question in forty years? History will determine that.

The great white hunter was not stationed in Vietnam. He served several TDY's (temporary duty) there. He was there when our great white hunter #2 son was born. Our son was 8 months old before his Daddy saw or held him. That was the way it was, his job was to be there. I was home with two babies, making sure that I didn't read any newspaper reports of battles and death, didn't listen to TV reports and made sure I knew nothing about where things were the worse over there. I managed by putting on blinders and taking care of business, which at that time was a lot of diapers.

My first reaction to this wall was how long it was and how the names were so compacted on each panel. I started at one end to walk the length, and it was quite a journey. Short in length, long in realization of what this county lost in young, vibrant life in a few short years.

The Wall in DC is a place for people to place remembrances of their friends and loved ones, respect for the loss and to share grief. This replica is no different. All along the length were things people had laid by the panel where the name of their loved one was written. There were flowers, mostly red roses, letters, medals, stuffed animals, pictures and copies of newspaper articles about lost loved ones. There was one very interesting display that contained arrows with messages on them, with one of the arrows broken. There is a large American Indian population in this area, perhaps a custom for a fallen warrior? I would have loved to know the meaning behind the arrows. One panel had a picture of a young smiling man pasted on it, by his name.

The one thing that shook me to the core was a grave decoration like you buy for Memorial Day. It was small, made from silk flowers and simply said, "DAD." It hit me that this was, not only a tribute to a lost father, but to all those children who grew up not knowing the person behind the name on that wall. All around was LOSS, not just life but lost chances and opportunity.

There was a group gathered around one panel, people mostly our age. A man broke away from the group and grabbed for a nearby chair, put his face in his hands and broke down in deep sobs. Forty years later and the pain and loss is still there. When the great white hunter came home, we picked up our life where we had left it, raised out family and went on. Not so for so many who did not come home.........may God bless them, may we always remember them.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Purple Bulls Eye?

Julia's rag rug is coming along. So far the plan is to finish the light stripe I am doing now, then another narrow dark and not sure where it will go from there. When she doesn't want to use it as a rug she can hang it on the wall and have target practice on a big purple bulls eye. That is really what it reminds me of. I need to go buy more fabric. These rugs take a LOT. I have no idea how much as I started with just some left overs and bits and pieces. Next time I will keep track so I will know when I start out. Too, I did this in solids rather than prints like I first thought, the prints are not the same color on the other side and the fabric gets twisted sometimes. I was afraid I would get a much more muted look that I was after. Did I mention how much I like doing this? Next..........a basket and some mug rugs. I hear my quilting things calling, calling...................

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quilt Flash Back

I have said this is a quilting blog and I am a quilter. Read the past few posts and you would wonder "When"? Not much quilting going on in my house, I have been cooking and working on RAG RUGS. When my great white hunter son #2 gets excited about something new, his wife refers to it as his "latest obsession". Well, rag rugs are mine. Hope to get back to quilting soon, DD hopes so too as we bought fabric for her quilt a long time ago.

I have posted these pictures before but it was a long time ago and I don't think anyone was reading my blog then. This is the one I made to keep in our RV. It is extra heavy because of the muslin backing on the strips and just right for those cold camping nights.

Excuse all the junk in the picture..........the kids were here during the day then and I had toys in every nook and corner.

Good big sister that I am, I made this one for my sister. She is not fond of strip quilts but I wanted her to see how beautiful they could be. I have to admit, I had a horrible time parting with this one. It was truly a gift from the heart and some day I hope to make another one, just for me!