Friday, December 30, 2011

Inspiration from Eva

Eva had this picture made for me for Christmas.  It was a wonderful surprise.  This is a picture that was taken in the garden of Notre Dame.  I LOVE it.  You can see the church and its famous arches in the background.  Of course we are all smiling.  This really captures the shared memories in a beautiful way.  WOW
 She took the picture to Meijer and they made it into a 'painting' on a canvas.  I didn't even know that technology was available.  It is SO cool. 
 I wanted to take this picture to show you how big the picture is.  It looks great.  This beautiful picture got me to thinking that I needed to 'spiff up' my sewing room.  I did some work on it several years ago when I first turned it into a sewing room.  I had plans to do more but projects got in the way and I haven't completed those plans.  The picture inspired me to get to work on making that space represent me more. 
 The shelves and boxes are full and overflowing with fabric, magazines and other objects.  I need to clean out the shelves a little and kind of rearrange some things.  It will never look perfectly neat, that isn't my personality in my sewing room but it should look a little better if I get to work on it.
 The wall behind my sewing machine is blank.  I have always planned to hang some shelves and put some things on the shelves.  I am going to do that now.
 I already have the pegboard, cork board and the shelves to put there. 
I am spray painting the brackets for the shelves.  Again, I already had the brackets AND the spray paint.  It truly was a project that was half finished.  I will need some help from Bud to cut some wood and help with hanging the shelves.  Then I will have a place to put things.
I thank Eva for the inspiration and the beautiful picture.  It makes me smile and remember all the wonderful times we had together that terrific week in Paris. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Christmas (Bud's too)

We had a busy Christmas weekend.
 It started at 9:00 a.m. with breakfast at the Nobles.  Bud fixed french toast for the family. 
 We enjoyed a bood start to the day.
 In the afternoon we went back over for an early dinner.  A Christmas Eve tradition.
 All the kids looked great as they were dressed up for church that evening. (Not that they don't look great even when they aren't dressed up for church.)
 Sue, Charlotte and Brittany with Ringo.  That little dog gets a lot of attention when all the kids are home.
 Brittany, Sue and Jack.  Again Ringo is joining in. 
 They bought Sue a new angel for the top of the tree.  The old one was getting a bit worn out.
 This was the old one.  I think that Charlotte made it in school.  It seems that all over America there are angels just like this with great stories behind them.  This one will be stored away for Charlotte when she gets older. 
 Sue put the new one on the tree.
 Sonja joined us for the evening. 
When the family left for church Bud and I headed to Grand Rapids to spend the rest of the weekend with Eva.  We arrived late that evening while they were watching a Christmas Eve movie on TV.
 In the morning Eva blessed us with cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  They were delicious and YES, I do think that they were better than Mom's rolls.  That family has perfected a good recipe. 
 Jesssica and Doug spent the night so they were there when we got up. 
 Jessica was up early stuffing the turkey.  I just relaxed and let them do all the work.  That is the best way to fix a holiday meal. 
 While we were waiting for the turkey Leo arrived and then Eva put him and Doug to work hanging a wire sculpture on her wall.  I think that you would call it a sculpture.  Anyway, it looked great.  It was a bit of a challenge to put it up because this space is over the downstairs steps. 
 Doug brought his tools and skills.  The rest of us just stood by and watched. 
 It looks fantastic. Good job, Doug.
 Dinner was finally ready.  I did a little work but again Eva and Jessica did a lot of it. 
 The guys stood in line, ready to eat.  The food was terrific. 
 The oldest and the youngest, ready to eat too.  We were glad that the weather was good and Leo was able to drive over and share the day with us.
 I was especially clumsey this weekend.  I put my wine down on the crack in the dining room table and of course it spilled on the floor and OF COURSE it was red wine.  Eva and Jessica did manage to get it out but it kind of paused the dinner a little early. Later I spilled a can of soda too. Holidays seem to be a clumsey time for me.  I fell in TN and went in the water when we were out in canoes.  I need to clean up my act or maybe quit drinking???
 After our terrific meal we had presents.  It was a very generous group. 
 Eva, being the eldest, was the 'Santa' and she enjoyed every minute of it.
Jessica and Doug left to spend the evening with Doug's family.  Eva, Bud, Leo and I went to the movies and watched the show 'War Horse'.  It was a good movie.  The movie got out in time to come home and finish the day by watching a little football.  The Packers were playing and they sure did win. 
 Eva and Leo managed to drift off so it really wasn't a very exciting game. 
Monday morning Eva had a few more chores for the men that were visiting her.  She saved up a few 'men' chores for them.  Leo fixed the little chain in the fireplace screen.  Later in the day Bud went with her to the tire store to help her figure out her tires and why they were so slippery after the last snow.  Leo went home about noon and Bud and I were home in time to sleep in our own beds. 
It was a great Christmas weekend.  I spent a LOT of time with family and enjoyed every moment of it.  I am very thankful for such a wonderful family and the opportunity to spend time with thm.  I hope you had a great Christmas too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all

Memories of Christmas past
From Coleman to Traverse City
The light continues to shine
To North Dakota to Texas
To the Cape and beyond
We wish you all a Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A handsome man came to town and it wasn't Santa

OK,OK, I know that I am not very good at editing my pictures.  I just don't like to choose which one to post so I post a lot.  You will just have to live with it because it is MY blog.  If you want fewer pictures and more inspiration, you will need to find another blog to follow. 
Erik came to town for a brief visit yesterday.  We wanted to see him so we drove down for the day.  All the travel 'gods' were kind to us and he arrived on time.  We also were blessed with good traveling and arrived about noon in Grand Rapids. 
 Eva and Erik had a fire waiting for us.  Eva also had cheese soup (in honor of David) on the stove. 
 After lunch the traveler stretched out in front of the fire.  No matter how 'well traveled' you are, when you come home some things don't change and a nap by the fire is always a blessing.  Isn't he handsome????
 Erik and Jessica enjoyed looking at pictures of Erik's adventures.  He had some great pictures taken underwater.  I didn't know so many different kinds of creatures lived on the reefs and ocean floor. 
 Mom was loving it, having her youngest at home for a visit. 
 It was a quiet afternoon of a little napping, a lot of talking and a lot of sharing.  Bud did a little relaxing and reading, his newest way to read the Economist magazine in his spare time. 
 Eva had planned a great dinner for all of us.  Jessica did a good job of helping with the meal. 
 Flank steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad were on the menu.  Doug joined us after his day of work. 
 Isn't that a great group of kids.  Yes, I know they aren't kids anymore but they still seem like that to me sometimes. 
 The 'after dinner' picture moments. 
 Mom and her 'kids'.  She was so happy to have them home for the evening. 
 The Aunt and Uncle were thrilled to be invited and have a chance to catch up with Erik. 
 Creative Jessica gave Erik some of her favorite beers as his Christmas present. 
Check out the antlers and red noses on those long necks.  That is what I mean about creative. 

We arrived home about 10:30, just in time for bed.  It was a glorious day and we are very thankful for our time with Erik. Oh, the blessings of family. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fruitcake anyone????

It is a little late in the season but I decided that I would make a fruitcake yesterday.  Making fruitcake was one of the things I used to do with Mom every fall for the last few years she was around.  I would go down to see her and collect all the ingredients.  She would get out her high school Home Economics textbook/cookbook and supervise my baking.  She would usually try to make several months before Christmas because it was suppose to 'age' and she didn't mean that you poured rum over it and let it soak up the taste.  SO, yesterday the desire to make fruitcake hit me.  I even used the OLD bowl from the farm to make the fruitcake.  I didn't use her recipe though.  I always thought it was too dry without the rum.  I have my own recipe. 

 I was also in the mood for split pea soup.  I like it a lot but Bud won't eat it. Fortunately it freezes well so I had split pea soup for dinner and he went to a charity event to snack on hordivories (I never can spell that word and can't think of  a substitute.  The spell check doesn't or won't help me).  I think I got the better deal. 
My fruitcake turned out pretty nice.  I will sprinkle a little rum in it and put it away to 'age' a few days.  I might take a little down to Grand Rapids for Christmas and share with Eva and Leo.  I think Eva likes it a little or at least she is to kind to tell me not to bring it.  I can't remember about Leo but I know he won't be too kind to tell me that he doesn't want any. 
I sent a message to some friends in Kingsley, offering to stop by and chat and drop off some fruitcake. They declined the fruitcake but accepted the visit.  True friends are honest an let you know that you don't need to waste your good fruitcake on them.
Here's to friends!!!!  Bless a few of your friends with either a visit or maybe a fruitcake this holiday season.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More than 9 years later

    All day long I have been listening to NPR and information about our final withdrawal from Iraq.  I have been thinking about this post on and off while listening.  I wish I had some words of wisdom.  The world continues to be a difficult place for its inhabitants. 
    Many people would and have argued that the United States went into these wars (we are still in one in Afghanistan) in response to 9/11.  That was the rational for the war in Afghanistan in the early Bush years. The people of America rallied around our flag, president and sense of lost security to enter the sovereign country of Afghanistan, hoping to get to the Osama Bin Ladin supporters and thinking it would make us all safer and show the world that you can't "tread on" us.  I had mixed feelings about our armies entering Afghanistan.  Rarely does war or invasion of another country solve problems. 
    However the invasion of Iraq was definitely a mistake in my opinion.  I think it was a misguided attempt to rid that area of the world of a man that irritated the administration of George W. Bush.  Granted Sidam Hussein was NOT a nice man.  He was a brutal dictator who ruled his people with a bloody reign.  However, I do not think that it is our job to rid the world of bloody dictators.  If that were so, we would be MUCH more busy than we are now.  Daily, bloody dictators bring their carnage to their lands and we ignore them as they kill and rob their own people. 
    I think that we went into Iraq for misguided and erroneous reasons.  I think that the Bush administration planned to wipe out the dictatorship of Hussein and then deposit a 'democratic' puppet in his place.  The conquering was easy, the ruling in the aftermath of the "take over" was extremely flawed and I would even say mismanaged because they did not plan what to do after taking over the country.  Right from the beginning the war leaders did their part but 'war leaders' and generals never make good rulers when taking over a country. Armies are really just good for winning wars.  They are not good for ruling after the war is over. 
    I have lived through TWO long and prolonged wars in my lifetime.  I did NOT support either one of them.  The war in Viet Nam was so misguided and cost the lives of many Americans and Viet Nam civilians and soldiers.  It left us a damaged country, disillusioned with our leaders and a very 'jaded' generation.  I think the only thing we learned in that war was that we should not blame the soldiers for the war.  I think it was a mistake to 'demonize' the soldiers as they came home.  Many people also learned that if you want to fight a more popular war, don't draft young men and women to fight it for you.  Historians will probably analyze that war for years to come.  However, the end results were that people died and nothing seemed to be gained. 
   The expense of this war has been crippling, and YES, I meant to use that exact word.  It has crippled so many young men, women and children in many countries.  It has crippled our country financially.  I don't even know how much money we have spent to 'conquer' Iraq.  I was reminded today with one story, Donald Rumsfeld was sure that the oil in Iraq would pay for the cost of the war.  We the people of the United States were encouraged to show the world that we were 'living our lives as usual by going out and shopping'.  No sacrifice involved in this war unless you count the sacrifices of lives. The TRILLIONS  of dollars that we have spent 'blows my mind' as we would say in the 60s. 
    I am also hearing some criticism today.  Some people are saying that we should not be leaving Iraq yet, that President Obama is making a mistake with his pullout.  These are the same people that say we should have intervened in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.  DO THESE PEO0PLE NEVER LEARN?????  When I listen to John McCain spout off about what President Obama is doing or not doing I am more and more thankful that we 'dodged that bullet'.  Can you imagine where we would be as a country if HE had become president???
   Well, that is my take of this historic day as our troops leave Iraq.  One more country that tried to impose democracy on the citizens.  I think more of America's leaders should study 'Cultures of the World' when they attend college. 
    I am going to push the button to publish this post and send my thoughts out to you readers.  Remember, this is my blog and my opinion.  You don't have to agree with me but I hope it makes you think.  (Maybe even think that I am right.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A busy Monday

Monday I tried to finish up my projects and Christmas shopping.  I managed to get quite a bit done.  I had an evening class at my favorite local quilt shop.  NO, this is not the project that I worked on OR the class I took.  This is a picture of the piece that Jessica and I are going to make in January.  I wanted to take a couple of pictures and post them so that Jessica could see what we are getting into. 
 The lady that is teaching this class had an entry into Art Prize in Grand Rapids this fall.  I had heard of her and knew of her beautiful work.  Jessica and I both thought her work was beautiful and she told us that she was coming to N. Michigan this winter.  I quickly found out the date of the class and signed the two of us up for a day together.  This is a new work for the artist.  She often works with flowers.  I LOVE this piece. 
 You can't tell from the picture but this is all made from pieces of fabric cut up and stitched to a background. I think it is so beautiful and am very excited about spending the time learning from this artist and spending the time with Jessica.  I think we will have fun together.  I think this is perfect for both of us. 
 However, we did have a little disaster yesterday evening.  Just as I was getting ready for my class I discovered a wet floor in my sewing room.  Bud arrived home and we explored more to find this whole wet corner.  The pipes from the hot water heat have been leaking for quite a while.  The mold has developed on the drywall and in the corner.  It was late in the day so we turned off the heat to that section of the house and then proceeded to move all the bookshelves full of my quilting supplies.  What a mess.  The repairman is here today.  I hope it dries up. 
Finally, this is the class that I took last night.  I wanted to learn how to aplique' and this was my first project.  The class was fairly good and I did learn the basic techniques so that ws all I needed.  I will finish it up when my room gets back in order. 

SO, you can see that i was busy yesterday.  Some fun things, some not so fun things.  That is the way life goes.