Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Mike and Mia and Mouse

Minnie Mouse balloon

I've been blessed with some really special people in my life, but 
none more special than my husband of 32 years and my sweet
granddaughter of almost 2 years!

   Mike adores Mia.  
He often repeats how much he loves her and how special she is and how smart she is and how cute she is, etc, etc....I think you get the picture.

One of the things that makes me incredibly happy is that Mike has the opportunity to enjoy spending time with Mia.  Mike is a workaholic.  During the younger years when our own children were growing up he worked full time+, traveled for work, studied for his Bachelors degree, then his Masters.  Sure he loved the kids and spent as much time as he could with them, but lets face it.....he was a busy man working hard to provide for our family.  He still works long hours, but takes every single chance he gets to spend with Mia. 

Makayla's birthday banner
Mike and Mia and Me (oh and Mia's mommy and daddy) attended a Minnie Mouse Birthday Party for Makayla today!

Minnie's Mini Cakes

Minnilicious table decorations
Makayla enjoying her Mini cake
Makayla's mommy made a special pinate and also some
Minnie Mouse gloves to wear while hitting the pinate!

We attended MANY Minnie Parties today!

At the end of the day this monkey clad miracle
loves her grandpa almost as much as grandpa loves her!

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for........Life and Lemons

And we all know that when Life gives me Lemons I make Limoncello! 
of course!

Once upon a time my friend Marta started talking about this amazing drink that she absolutely LOVED!
Limoncello was its name.
I'd never had it, but shortly after she started talking about it I came across this VOX post telling you how to make it!  Being a crafty, do-it-yourself kind of person I decided that I should make some because it would be a perfect gift for my friend.  (I know, I know.....I'm so selfless!)

Over the years I've posted about Limoncello several times:   here,  and here.
You can learn how to make your very own Limoncello here: When Life gives you Lemons  

Here are a couple of my favorite photos featuring good times with Limoncello:

Darn it!  I couldn't find the picture of my mom trying Limoncello!

So in closing, always remember......when Life give you Lemons
Make Limoncello!

AND Lemonade!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kindness

Perfect timing!

picture taken at the Portland Rose Garden
While thinking about what on earth 
I was going to write today with the letter "K" 
 the morning news started talking about how researchers have found a kindness gene. 
(not jeans....that was yesterday!)
Some people have it and some people don't......

Want to read the source?  Huffington Post published an article today about research that was made on the   
                                       "kindness" gene.  

I love this quote by Amelia Earhart.  
You just never know what will grow from the seeds 
(of kindness) you plant.

"A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves."
AMELIA EARHART, Magic City Morning Star, Jun. 1, 2005

The Random Acts of Kindness day isn't until  
November 12th this year, 
but I challenge you today or tomorrow 
to perform at least one Random Act of Kindness. 

Have a kindness kind of day.......and make sure to Kiss someone!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"J" is also for Jeans!

  Jean Repair Tutorial

What do YOU do when your favorite pair
of Jeans develops a thin patch or hole?
Throw them in the junk pile?
Or try to restore them?

Hole worn on the inner thigh area


This is what the hole looked like
when the jeans were turned inside out.

What you need to repair this hole:
A piece of Heat n Bond Light large enough to cover the hole and thin area of fabric
and a scrap of jean fabric that closely matches the color of your jeans.

Take the inside out jeans over to the ironing board
and lay as flat as you can manage
smoothing out the fabric underneath to be flat as well.

With your fingers pull the loose fibers taunt
Look at the photo above to see how the fibers naturally fall
See the difference?

Cover the area with your piece of Heat n Bond
(while keeping the fibers pulled taunt)
Lightly iron in place
Remove paper revealing the shiny adhesive left behind

Cover with jean scrap (right side down)
and iron in place
This is what the right side of the jeans looks like now.
Compare to the 1st picture and you can see the difference!
So what we have done so far is to iron a patch on the inside of the jeans.

Next we are going to sew that patch into place and to add some more
thread to the hole area.
Next find a thread that closely matches the fibers in your jeans
The 3 stitches shown above are all mending stitches
In this case I used #34
to repair the threads that are missing

Position your applique foot so you will be sewing your
stitches following the "grain" lines of your jeans.

1/2 of this is mended
Can you see the difference?
As you look at the picture the part on the left has been stitched.
Here is the completed mending job from the right side
This is what the back of the inside looks like.
You can see that I just keep stitching down in a row until all of the patched area is secured  with thread.
I sew down, stop, secure thread, break thread
then go back up to the top and repeat.
I used white thread in the bobbin....the inside doesn't show and in this
case I wanted to be able to photograph it

Okay!  One side complete!
It just so happened that there was a hole on BOTH sides of the
inner thigh area.
(Wonder how that happened?)
So you can clearly see the difference between the
holey side and the mended side!

So there you have it..........Pretty cool, right?...........
Now go find some jeans to mend!


J is for Jalopy

"A jalopy  is a decrepit car, often old and in a barely functional state. 
A jalopy is not a well kept antique car, but a car which is mostly rundown or beaten up."

The Hubs, bless his little heart, loves this old Jalopy.
It's a 1965 GMC truck.
"She"  It has a name.  And that name is "Maggie".

Maggie was originally purchased in the hope
 that he and our son could work together to restore  her   it.
Unfortunately that happened during those busy school years
when my son was balancing academics, clubs and sports,
so the bonding time between father and son took place on the soccer field
instead of under the hood of this old truck.

He used to drive her it to work until the gas prices started to rise.
Maggie gets about 6 miles per gallon.

"She" brings the hubs alot of JOY.
I think another *J* word may be more appropriate........Dare I say it?
Nah, I'll let you fill in the blank......J _ _ _k.

So there you have it.
The *J* word in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for

Interesting, Intriguing, and Incredible Blogs that I have been reading over the last week.

As you may have surmised I have been participating in the A-Z Blog Challenge.
You can click on the A-Z button on the side to go to the list of over 1700
people who are joining in writing a blog posts using the alphabet as inspiration.
1700 people!!!!  Incredible!

Besides writing YOUR blog everyday this challenge encourages you to READ
some of the blogs on the list every day.  Why?  To make new friends, broaden
your perspective, learn new things and maybe even laugh a little!

Here are a few of the blogs I've been following:

Are you into Beading?  Debbie at Abracadebra Designs  (clever name huh?)
is hosting a Give-Away right now!  Debbie shows pictures of  pieces that she has
made, projects that inspire and things the she aspires to make!
Her give-away prize is a beading book!  Check her "G" blog
 if you would like the chance to win!

I just found  A Heart 4 Heaven today and will certainly be visiting this
blog again!  Elaine has a way of writing where each new word is like
a brushstroke of a painter, making the picture clearer with each word.

Are you interested in genealogy?   Click Here to read Jollett etc.
Wendy is an expert in researching family history.  In her blog posts she
includes a lot of pictures.  I especially loved her post on Sleeping Beauties
and G is for Grandma.  The pictures she posts could be from my family
and they strike such a sentimental cord in my soul.

Is a motivational weight loss blog more your speed?
Then you should visit Rachee at Look Better Naked.
Now how is that for a blog name?
Rachee always makes my laugh.........her latest post
gives instructions on how to make your butt go POW!

Kelly at Sew Alluring is blogging about her journey learning to sew.
She just posted about a great new sewing aid that you can make yourself!
I'm sure going to be trying it!

Perhaps you love to crochet?
Lots of Crochet Stitches by M.J. Joachim is one woman's quest to
share her knowledge of crochet stitches and projects.
And there is a wealth of knowledge there.

Kate at her blog called  Suddenly Seeking
has selected a theme of writing about jobs that she could have.
Very humorous writing about the pros and cons of each job!
Funny stuff!

JollyJilly is posting a quilt block a day using her daily alphabet word!
So Clever!  I wish I had thought of a theme before starting this endeavor!

I could go on and on but I guess I should stop now!
Seriously, check out the A-Z link on my side panel for
a list of over 1800 bloggers.
I've just scratched the surface in my reading!

incredibly yours,

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Helen's Hollyhocks

About 30 or so years ago when I was the tender age of 20(ish)
I met Helen.
Helen was about 40 years older than I was, her kids were already
married and gone, she and her husband were retired, and 
most importantly Helen was a quilter!

Helen and I enjoyed a 30 year friendship.
You can read more about this extraordinary woman here
on a blog post that I wrote back in June 2011.

Last picture taken with Helen in the spring of 2011
with Me, Jenny and Mia.
Helen was 92 years old.
Helen was born back in 1918 and went thru
some very lean times in her life.  
Because of this she tended
to save everything!
Every spring her garden overflowed with Hollyhocks.
They were breathtakingly beautiful in all shades of pink and red.
I think Helen saved every seed at the end of the season.
Being a very generous woman Helen shared her Hollyhock seeds with me.
Did she give me a packet of seeds?
She gave me a big laundry soap bucket full of them!
I had so many seeds that one time I "Hollyhocked"
my daughters yard by waiting for a rainy day and
tossing some seeds down hoping they would take hold and grow
into a fun surprise.  Sadly none of them grew.  :(
This picture was taken several years ago of my hollyhocks
when they were just beginning to bloom.
Can you just imagine these stalks when all the flowers are blooming?

My plants have not bloomed yet this year
but this picture taken this morning shows the 
promise of beauty to come.
And with each flower I'll have a sweet reminder
of the friendship that florished for many years.  
I've shared Helen's Hollyhock seeds with many
of friends, so not only will my garden be
a little heaven on earth....theirs will too.
There will be little blooms of Helen all over the place!

Would you like some seeds?
Send me a message with your address and I'll be happy to send you some!
I think that Helen would be smiling down from heaven knowing
that her Hollyhocks were still bringing happiness and joy.

Have a happy day!

Repost of June 2011 blog:

Bittersweet Blessings

Thirty some years ago I was living in South Africa with alot of time on my hands while my husband worked there.  I've never been a person to let my hands be idle, so when I found an ad for a quilting class I promptly signed up and learned the basics of quilting.  By hand no less.  It was love at first stitch!

 Back in the early 80's quilting was enjoying a revival of sorts, so when I returned to the States, at the urging of my friend Lyn,  I joined a local quilt guild.  The Night Owls.  Heaven.  Loved it.  However, at the tender age of 21, I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb as the very youngest member of the group.  I learned alot from the older ladies who graciously shared thier skills with me, and even taught them a few things as well. (although looking back on it now I think they may just have been encouraging me on my quilting path)

There was one lady in particular who scooped me up and tucked me under her wing.  Helen Relfe invited Lyn and I over to her house to show us a new project.  When we got there she had set up 2 sewing machines, had a pattern and her fabric stash wide open for us to choose from.  WOW!  Helen's generosity and gentle spirit just warmed my heart and made me feel really special.  Lyn and I each made a dimensional  Christmas tree wall hanging that day.  It still hangs in our houses every Christmas.  If it were not packed away in my Christmas boxes I would take a picture of it and post it here.

That day began a life-long friendship between Helen and I.  I so enjoyed visiting with Helen and her husband Walter.  Loved hearing about her journey to the valley from her home in Northwest.  Loved hearing about what Phoenix was like in the early 30's.  Helen and Walter showed me all the best places to get bargains on fabric and quilting supplies.  Helen and I were friends thru thick and thin......the birth of my children, the death of her husband. We shared the love of quilting, exchanged recipes, stories and hollyhock seeds.  One year for Christmas I made gingerbread cookie people and wrote "Helen" and "Walter" on the cookies and put them into bags.  The last time I visited Helen's home those cookie bags were still hanging on the wall.   
My family always say that my stories are too long and I tell too many details, and take too long to get to the point.  (gee, I'm becoming my mother after all! lol)  (love you mom!)

So here is the point to my ramblings......

Helen passed away earlier this month.  She would have been 93 this August.
I went to visit her this week and was told that she had passed.
No one called me.
I missed her funeral.
My heart hurts to have lost her,
but rejoices that she is no longer in pain and
is with her beloved Walter
sitting at the right hand of Jesus.
Bittersweet blessings.

I found this after an online search:

 Helen Strohmaier Relfe

92, of Phoenix, AZ passed away on June 10, 2011. A first generation American, Helen was born in Vida, Montana, August 18, 1918, and married Walter Relfe in Salem, Oregon, on September 11, 1938. Helen's life was characterized by hard work, including employment with the City of Phoenix and the Arizona State House of Representatives. She also gave much time, energy, and resources to serve others throughout her life. She is survived by daughters Carole Lowery and Dorothy Colvin, six grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchild ren. Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at 9:30 AM at Greenwood Memory Lawn, 2300 W. Van Buren.

This is the last picture I took of Helen. 
She was always a lady and always had her lipstick on. 

Rest In Peace
Helen Relfe
August 1918 - June 2011

I miss you Helen, but I will always hold you in my heart.