Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This is why I live in Florida

I just have to tell you about my lunch today. Richard and I had to go sign some papers at a realtor's office down by the beach, so I went over at lunch time to meet him. After dropping the papers off, we stopped by the grocery store, got some sandwiches and drinks, and went back to his office. Richard's office is right on the Indian River which leads directly into the ocean. I've written before about seeing a dolphin out there, and he has seen manatees many times. Well, we took our sandwiches and sat on the seawall to eat and chat about upcoming events (and spend some quiet time without the kidlets). Next thing we know, here comes the dolphin. It really came right up to check us out. At one point, it swam right under our feet with its belly up to us. A little while later, a second dolphin came and checked us out too, and the two of them swam around for quite some time. It's a good thing I don't actually live on the water cause I'd get nothing done ~ I'd sit and watch them all day.
Then, right as we were getting ready to leave, Richard sighted something else. A HUGE manatee swam right in front of us. Just about the time he got in front of us, he came completely up from the water to check us out. It was just the coolest thing ever. This is why I love living in Florida! So, how was your day?

*Just so you know, I did NOT take these photos. I left my camera in the car and only had my camera phone. I snapped one photo of one of the dolphins, but it wasn't very clear, and of course, I got my finger in the picture ~ so these two will have to do!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shop sample

I know I haven't had much blog worthy news lately and I apologize for that. It's just been life as usual. I did finish the split 9 patch quilt today. I'll be teaching the technique mid May at one of the local quilt shops here in Melbourne. It feels good to be back in the business. I'm starting off slow with just one class for the summer and we'll see how it goes. Maybe in the fall I'll do more. I may be sewing some samples for them over the summer. That's when they start getting in the new Christmas fabrics and they need samples sewn immediately. I guess they were impressed by my ability to crank out products and still do quality work so we are working out the terms for doing this. Anyhow... Here's how the split 9 patch turned out. Julianne, of course, tried to keep it for herself (she only has about a million quilts squirreled away in her room). It's definitely a "girly" quilt. DSC02871c
This weekend I will start on Nathaniel's indian costume for school. Hopefully it'll turn out well. I tried to get him to go with just a loin cloth but he was having non of it (just kidding really!) I haven't made an Indian costume since Jen was little. I actually made the same outfit for her cabbage patch doll. Sure wish I still had these! I think they probably went to my niece Danielle at some point. Anyway... I'll definitely post pics ~ I think with his skin color he'll absolutely look the part (if you don't take the curly hair into account!).
Well I'm off to bed for the night ~ tomorrow's another day. So, How was your day?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is my sister Joey's birthday ~ and despite what she will tell you ~ she is the older sister! She's always been there for me as I hope I have been for her. In our crazy family we have more halves, steps and whatnots than the average family but she and I are the only two my mom gave birth to and have the same father ~ quite a feat! In any case... Happy Birthday Joey I love you!

Joey in her "Diana" skirt
My favorite picture of her, ever.

Me & joey in Alabama earlier this month

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Something about Mary

Mary was my friend first and foremost. She married my brother not once, but twice ~ and divorced him twice. No hard feelings there ~ she was still my friend and family. We lost Mary to cancer last year. She would have been 52 today. She left behind a beautiful daughter and an adorable granddaughter and lots of people who love her. Mary fought cancer for many many years. She defied the doctors time after time. Not long before she left us her daughter Trish blessed her with a granddaughter. Mary said that Maddie was a miracle and rather than feeling sad that she wouldn't be around to see Maddie grow up, Mary was grateful that she was here to be with her at all. It was, I think, the reason she hung on as long as she did.
My Julianne fell in love with her Aunt Mary way before she ever met her. She and Mary exchanged written notes many times ~ something that is rare and beautiful these days. Julianne keeps these notes and the pictures Mary sent her in a special album. She also has a stuffed bunny that Mary's daughter Trish sent her after Mary's passing. She named the bunny Aunt Mary and it is never far from her.
Mary knew she was dying months before happened. She was very matter of fact about it ~ she had suffered a very long time and she had accepted the fact that it was her time. I had the rare opportunity to talk very candidly with her about death. There was no time for pretending it wouldn't happen. It was hard but in a way very serene albeit surreal. I gave her a message to give my mom when she saw her. I still have a hard time dealing with this and I'm typing with tears streaming down my face. I did learn to always tell the people I love that I love them any chance I got. Mary and I always ended each conversation that way because we never knew if it was the last. I did get to see Mary one last time (she lived in Texas and I in Florida) when she came down to say good bye to her sister and her parents. Walking away from her that last time was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I tried to be strong. I really did but started to collapse on the way to the car and fortunately my wonderful husband was there to catch me and get me in the car. I think I cried the whole way home ~ as did Julianne.
Julianne was happy to get to meet her Aunt Mary and as shy as Julianne can be with people she has never met, she was great with Mary. They loved each other immediately. She now has a picture of herself on Aunt Mary's lap. It sits in a frame in her room. When I received the news that Mary had left us I asked that Julianne be brought to me and as I told her the news we both held onto each other for dear life and sobbed. We still cry ~ not for Mary. I know Mary is no longer in pain and that she's looking in on us. We cry because we miss her and the world was a better place with her in it. Today we will write Mary a note and tell her how much we miss her. We will put the note in a balloon and release it. The balloon will take the note up to Aunt Mary in heaven. It will help us feel a little better to know that Mary will know we are thinking about her today.
This is Mary with newborn daughter Trish
Mary and Trish at my mom's house.
And Aunt Mary and Julianne
She was an amazing and wonderful person and I am thankful that I was able to be a part of her life. We love you Mary!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Today made it all okay

I'm so over my pity party. Besides my DH being so unbelievably supportive about the whole thing and letting me rant and rave like a lunatic I spoke with my really great friend MaryCatherine today who is also a quilter and really talented seamstress. She and I met when we worked and taught at the same quilt shop in Tampa. We bonded over the craziness that was life at that shop and have been friends ever since. In any case she supplied me with just the right balance of sympathy, support and outrage. I was able to get it all out of my system and now I feel much better especially once she reminded me that I've had several quilts go for $3000 and one for $5000 at auctions for other schools so Thanks MC!
Both of my little ones spend the day over their respective friends' houses so after Richard got home from work he and I took a drive up A1A ~ out past Cocoa Beach and over by Kennedy Space Center then back up US1. We stopped at a great little place called Conch Key Grill and Tiki Bar right on the water and had a beer and some shrimp. How nice is was to just sit back, relax and talk with each other without playing referee or getting interrupted by the kids.
Julianne ended up spending the night at her friends house so after we picked Nathaniel up from his friends, we dropped some pj's and toiletries off to Julianne. Her friends parents seem really nice and we stayed talking to them for quite a bit and then drove by our prospective new house to see what the neighborhood was like on a Saturday night. I have to say all was quiet calm and beautiful. It's looking more and more like this is the house for us but I'm trying not to get too attached yet.
Anyway... today has been an unproductive but wonderful day. Tomorrow I'll get back to work on the house and the quilt that I'll be teaching this summer at my local quilt shop. So, how was your day?

Pity Party

I'm throwing myself a "pity party." Wanna come? If so ~ read on but don't say I didn't warn you! Last night was the infamous "Quest Fest." I had been so stressed about getting the baskets together and done and the quilts finished up that I literally thought I was going crazy so Thursday night I took the night off. I was so stressed that I couldn't even eat dinner so I put my pj's on and went to bed and read. I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago because Jude Deveraux is one of my guilty pleasures. It's not quite "hard throbbing flesh" romance novels but it's not Jane Austen either. It's an "always happy ending" with characters that are likable and keeps me interested without taxing my wee little brain. In any case, it did the trick. Friday morning I was feeling great. I had a few things left to do but knew I could do them with a little time to spare. I finally finished the handprint quilt DSC02865 and was pleased at how it turned out. Baked some chocolate chip banana muffins for the bake sale and headed over to the school. Got there about 2:00 and started right in helping to set up for the festival. The goodies for the bake sale ended up covering about 7 tables ~ and I do mean covered. Once those were set up we (the kids and I) went outside to help set up the games. We were "in charge" of the duck pond (pick a duck and win a prize). We blew up the little pool, filled it with water and set the ducks to float. One problem ~ The ducks only floated SIDEWAYS! They were back heavy so Julianne figured out that if we filled them with water they would stay upright. That's my smart little girl! Of course it took us forever to hold those little suckers under the water till they filled up but we got it done. Did some other stuff out there too. There were all kinds of games and activities. Sumo wrestling (wearing those giant inflatable outfits) and a rock climbing wall, dunk tank, etc. All is good right? WRONG! Here's where the pity party comes in...
Now I've spent probably a good $150 on making this hand print quilt ~ not to mention the crazy amount of time and effort spent on each block but only two people bid on it and I was one of them!!!! So the quilt only made a whopping $10! How much does that suck? I knew that the parents from our class would be the only ones bidding on it but sheesh I saw at least 10 parents from our class that I recognized (and I'm sure there were more that I didn't) and only 1 parent bid on it! Not even the teacher bid on it. Now mind you the tickets were $5.00 each but come on people! It was positioned right by the front door and I saw lots and lots of people looking at it and "oohing and aahing" over it ~ just none of our parents. Needless to say I am completely bummed out about this and really not liking a lot of our parents or our teacher at the moment. And believe me when I tell you I will NEVER do anything like this again. I'm also bummed that I didn't win any of the baskets that were auctioned off. For $10.00 you got a sheet of 25 tickets and you could put as many tickets in as many baskets as you wanted. We got 2 sheets of tickets and probably put them into a total of 6 or 7 baskets and we won NOTHING! There were about 50 baskets to bid on and some people actually won 3 or in one case 4 baskets! I know in our last school, if you won a second basket most of the time the people would refuse it and ask that another name be pulled to be fair ~ but not here. Now I didn't do all this just to win something ~ I did it to help the school but I was already feeling sorry for myself about the quilt and this was just another nail in the coffin for me. Okay pity party over!
The good news is that the bake sale raised a TON of money for Aunt Grace. In case you hadn't read about her she is the full time volunteer at our school who is battling cancer and she is very much loved by all at the school. I didn't get too many pictures because I worked the bake sale the entire night and we sold everything and I do mean everything. There wasn't a cookie to be had by the end of the night. Needless to say I was one busy volunteer. Here are a couple of pics of the baskets that I put together. This one is for Nathaniel's class DSC02861c
And here are the baskets for Julianne's class DSC02862
In any case, it's over. The turnout was amazing. The school made a lot of money and again ~ it's over and I can get my life back. Well, sort of. The week after next is teacher appreciation week so my home room mom duties are never over ~ is it summer yet?
So, How was your day?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Okay ~ I so badly want you to NOT watch this movie I"m giving away the ending. The acting was really well done but I was really uncomfortable watching all the way through. It's based on the Stephen King novel ~ which I've read. I've read most of Stephen Kings stuff, or rather I had up until about 5 yrs ago and it got even darker than usual so I stopped. I like scary but I still like at least the promise of a happy ending. I will still read Dean Koontz sometimes because the good guys usually win. Anyway.... so Richard and I watched this movie last night and basically all these people are trapped in a grocery store by this mysterious mist. There are all kinds of theories as to what is out there but basically the military has opened a door to another dimension and bugs 500 times the size of our bugs are let loose on this town (or maybe the world ~ they are not sure!) We go through the requisite killings, angst, people being eaten by giant spiders ~blah blah blah until the hero, his little boy and 3 others escape the store, get into his jeep and head out of town as far as their gas can take them. Unfortunately they run out of gas and they are still in the mist and can hear what sounds like the giant bugs all around them. The hero has promised his little boy that he won't let the bugs get him so what does he do? He SHOOTS the kid and by agreement everyone else in the car within minutes of running out of gas. Only problem is he had only 4 bullets so while everyone else has been put out of their misery, he lives. He is in so much pain over what he has done he gets out of the car so the bugs will get him and he can die too. Only problem is the sound they actually heard was the military coming to save them and killing all the bugs along the way. The mist is lifted and he lives miserably ever after ~ The End. So tell me that doesn't suck big time. Wanna guess what kind of dreams I had! So please save yourself the angst and skip this movie ~ do it for me! So, How was your day?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Final installment on the trip to Alabama

In real time I have 2 more blocks done and 3 more to finish up TODAY! Here is May DSC02826 And December DSC02829.
Other news on the homefront ~ The search for a new house continues. This is the front runner at the moment. DSC02789 It's a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath with a nice large pool. We've gotten them to come down a bit in price which is always good. Our only holdback is that it is in another school district which means moving the kids to yet another new school and we'd really like to NOT do that if at all possible. So the search continues .... I did run across these guys the other day... see how big the chicks are gettingDSC02791 Some I've seen lately are even bigger. Pretty soon you won't be able to tell the babies from the parents.
Back to the trip... Saturday was our last day and probably the best ~ especially if you ask the kids. We drove over to Sequoyah Caverns in Valley Head, AL where Nathaniel got to feed a peacock while we waited for our tour of the caves DSC02736
I was worried that my claustrophobia might be an issue in the caves but they were pretty open and not too many people on the tour with us so I never felt "trapped." DSC02755Here are my two big kids fooling around (as usual) DSC02753 And here we are at the end of our tour DSC02759
After our tour we bought some bags of "dirt" and mined for gems. DSC02762I think Julianne got the biggest haul of the day. Lots of garnets and a few emeralds and even some copper. I think I'd like to have one of the larger garnets made into earrings for her maybe for Christmas.
Saturday night when we got home one of J&J's neighbors came over and we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner. It actually got downright cold and the neighbor had brought over his fire pit and we made a fire and roasted marshmallows. DSC02781
All in all ~ a great ending to a great trip. Thanks so much to J&J for being such gracious hosts ~ we miss you guys already!
So, how was your day?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Trip to Alabama ~ Part 3

So in real time I've gotten three more blocks done on the quilt for Julianne's class. I think I have 4 more to go which hopefully will get at least mostly done tonight. Here is October,DSC02798 July DSC02801 and September DSC02802
I had Decembers done but have decided it needs a little tweeking.
Now, back to the trip. Friday morning we all had to get up at "The butt-crack of dawn" to make the 2hr drive to Tuscaloosa and the main campus of University of Alabama. It was well worth the trip though to see J&J both get inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha which is the National Mass Communications Honor Society. Can I tell you how proud I am of both of them. DSC02710 Here they are with Dr. David Sloan, KTA Advisor of 35 years and actually this is his very last year and last induction ceremony before retiring at the end of this school year so it was very special indeed.
After the ceremony we headed over to the "Children's Hands On Museum" and we all had a great time there. Here is Nathaniel checking out some real fur pelts in the Indian Village DSC02713 Julianne being a bank teller in the "olde" town DSC02716 Both of the little ones enjoying a cup of tea in a japanese house DSC02722 while Jen tries to catch up on some much needed rest (they must have served her chamomile tea by mistake) DSC02723 Jeremy laments over the fate of Curios George while Dr. Nate works diligently to save him DSC02729
The place was unbelievable and great for kids of all ages and they really mean hands on. So many costumes and different areas and art rooms etc. If you ever are in the area it is a "must see." After that we stopped off for some lunch in a very cool area of town and I'm already looking forward to checking out the night life there when I go up for their graduation in August.
Once we got home we ordered in pizza and chilled for the night. Stayed tuned for tomorrow where we check out some caves and mine for gems. So, How was your day?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Trip to Alabama ~ Part 2

At this rate J&J will have moved from Alabama before I finish posting about my trip there ~ But hey, I'm working on it. Today I finally finished the basket for Nathaniel's class for the Quest Fest. I have to say, it turned out better than I thought it would and the final value of the basket was over $400 so not too shabby. Julianne's class ended up with 2 baskets because we got enough stuff from Kennedy Space Center to make up it's own basket worth $250. Tomorrow I will finish up the other basket for her class which is also valued at about $400. I really hope these make some good money for the school.
So, back to the trip. Thursday morning my sister Joey and my niece Danielle drove over J&J's to see me and I got to give my niece this quilt I made for her little baby bump. Just so you know, those are yo-yo's made by Julianne on the cornerstones.DSC02686
I've been wanted to do a sunflower quilt and had been saving up some yellow/gold fq's but the baby's room is in pink/turq/green and lots of polka dots so I pulled together a bunch of pinks and went for it. DSC02701 It was great to see both of them. The last time I saw them was at Jen's wedding and there was so much to do and so many people to see that I felt like I didn't get to spend enough quality time with anyone ~ so this was really nice. We hung out outside for a while and played frisby with the pups. DSC02699We watched some of Jens wedding video and the photo slide Jen did for me for my birthday a couple of years ago. Later that night we went out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Here we are ... My daughter Jen, my sister Joey, Me and my niece Danielle. DSC02706
All in all it was a really good day. Stayed tuned for tomorrow's post where we go to Tuscaloosa!
So, How was your day?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Trip to Alabama ~ Part 1

The kids and I left for Alabama on Wednesday (last week!) and we were actually on our way at 7:00 am. I NEVER leave when I originally intend to so we were off to a good start. We made great time although it's a very boring drive most of the way. Once we hit Atlanta the scenery started to change beginning with the downtown Atlanta skyline. Not sure why but I really like skylines. Once you pass Atlanta it gets very green and very "hilly". The drive past Cheaha State park is really great. We also passed the Talladega Speedway which always reminds me of the movie "Talladega Nights" and makes me laugh. We got to J&J's about 3:00 their time so we had the whole first day ahead of us. Jeremy had to shoot some video for school at a girls fastpitch softball game over at Jacksonville State University so we all went with him to watch the game. It started out a bit shakey but got interesting pretty quick. The lady "gamecocks" (yikes) from Jacksonville ended up winning. Here's Jeremy hard at work!
After the game was over Jeremy had to shoot some additional footage so Jen, the kids and I went over to the empty field and hit a few balls (yes, even me!). Turns out my son has one hell of an arm on him and although he had never used a glove before (J&J had purchased one for him) you'd have thought he'd been catching with a glove all his life. Gotta get that boy on a team!
Oh and I can finally show you this... DSC02669 It's the signature quilt from J&J's wedding last year. My goal was to finish it and give it to them for their first anniversary and I actually did it! I think it turned out well and I believe they really liked it.
Well that was our first day in Alabama. Stayed tuned for tomorrow where I meet up with my sister and my very pregnant niece and I can show you one more thing I've been working on.
So, How was your day?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm back, sort of...

Physically I am back from Alabama ~ safe and sound. Mentally, I am still out in the ozone somewhere. We had a great trip and I will try to hit the highlights here on my blog. Since being home I have been SWAMPED! Monday was a recovery day and loads of laundry. Tues I met with one of the teachers regarding the Quest Fest only to find out that all the baskets need to be turned in on Friday (three days away!). How did that sneak up on me? I am still getting in dribs and drabs of donated items from parents and a little money (very little) to help with the cost of the stuff that we still need. She also hit me with the bombshell that she thought about it and decided we really should put the handprint quilt IN at Questfest (after we had decided to do a private auction later). I totally agree with her though, it should be in the Festival but since I am not even halfway through it ~ I'm screwed! I've been working on it like gangbusters the last couple of days ~ when I'm not out trying to get the rest of the stuff for the baskets. I am making progress and I know it'll all be fine in the end. ! Okay off my soap box for now! Thanks for indulging me.

I will get the posts about the trip done when I can. In the mean time all packages (except one) for my give away are finally being taken to the post office today so be on the lookout. I still need one more address and that'll be crossed off my list. A few more errands today and a bit of work at the school this morning and I'm back to work on the quilt. That's my day... So, how was your day?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A short hiatus

Today was spent looking at houses and houses and yes, more houses. Saw some that were okay and some we really liked ~ some were reasonably priced and some were right at the top of what we are prepared to spend. All had pools and most would be suitable for us. We are still a few months out though so I hate to commit to any of the houses we've seen so far. I'm still hopeful we'll find that "perfect" house before it's time to move. If not, we are fine revisiting the ones we've already seen and if they are still available we might get a better price. We'll see.
In any case the kids and I are off to Alabama to see Jen and Jeremy early tomorrow. Not sure if I will be able to blog from there but if not, I'll catch up with all of you on Monday!
Have a great rest of the week and I'd love to know... How was your day?

Monday, April 7, 2008

And The Winners Are.....

Put all the names in one of my little pouches and here's who I pulled out...

Regina from The Queen Bee's Buzz

Bella from South of Purple

Julie from Just Me Julie

And finally Jillytacy of Life with Nature Girl

I couldn't stop at just one so if you four will e mail me your snail mail address I will get your packages sent out (Hopefully before I leave for Alabama on Wed!)

Also Sandra from Sandra Sews :)
as well as Becky and Trish will all receive gifties for being so quick to comment

Thanks everyone for playing along and those of you who didn't get picked ~ I promise I'll do this again soon!

So, How was your day?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Today's Outing

And no, it's not about someone coming "out of the closet" although I just heard today that Jodie Foster is gay. Doesn't change how I feel about her ~ I think she is an amazing actress and seems like a really nice person ~ I guess I just never realized it or thought about it really. I'm actually pleased that a person of that much fame can stay that private. For me it doesn't change who a person is. It's just another facet of their personality. Off my soap box for now and on to the real outing.
Richard, the kids and I went to a quilt show at the Melbourne Auditorium. We've all been to a few quilt shows and I typically try to go with a friend rather than drag the whole family along but yesterday they all did really well. Julianne has started to sew so she actually enjoyed it I think. She loved all the colors and textures. Richard does appreciate the art in quilting and doesn't mind taking a quick pass through and then there is Nathaniel. He actually did pretty well too. He and Richard stayed outside at first looking at all the geeseDSC02659 They found this nest which was very cool. Unfortunately one of the eggs was already broken and that made me feel bad. DSC02658
Now for the quilts... here's just a few of my favorites and just for the record let me state that all these pictures were taken by Julianne...
I thought this would look nice in my "tropical house" DSC02629
I must be in a tropical mood ~ go figure! If you'll look at this you'll see it's manatees, seahorses, turtles and dolphins. DSC02630
And lastly here's another one I'd like to do (with all tropical huts, of course). I've seen this pattern before but what this person did was to embellish it with all kinds of embroideries(chairs, animals and more).DSC02627
There are more pics on my flickr site if you'd like to check them out.
Julianne especially liked the dolls DSC02635
And I thought this was the best thing I saw all day. This woman had shrunk a pattern from a wall hanging and put it on her shirt ~ how cool!
After the show we went to Claire's so Julianne could spend her gift card that Jen & Jeremy got her for her birthday. I was hoping she'd get some cute earrings or something but NO ~ my child headed right for the sparkly make up! Such a girly girl.DSC02661
And lastly we headed for Target for Nathaniel who, with all this talk of fabric yo yo's decided he NEEDED a real yo yo.
Last night was spent finishing up a few projects and watching one of my very favorite shows "Ghost Whisperer." So glad it's back on again.
Well that was my day. So, how was your day?