Thursday, April 29, 2010


I can't recall when I have seen the blooms so thick on the flowering crab trees.  Yesterday when hubby and I ran into Menard's and passed by these trees on the way, I just had to yell "stop!"  I needed a picture!
You cannot see through the trees, the flowers are so abundant.  What a beautiful sight!
Now last night and this morning we have high winds.  Wonder if the trees are as beautiful this morning, or if the ground beneath them is pink with petal snow?

What are these light pink fluffy marshmallow looking flowers called?  They almost look light a very full carnation and they grow very close to the branch.  Reminds me of A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation ......shows how old I am, uh?
The sun was bright and warm, the sky was blue, and the flowers were breathtaking.  Life is good in the neighborhood.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My friend, Judy, is retiring from her job as the college dorm mom, a job she is very good at.  She has been there for 19 years, one year longer than I worked at the college in the Registrar's Office.  She is planning to head for western South Dakota, where a daughter and son-in-law live.  Judy loves the Black Hills area.  She also loves buffalo!  Last weekend when I was on my four quilt shop trip, I spied some fabric that just shouted her name.  It was calling Judy!, Judy!, loud and clear, so how could I resist it?  I stood there wondering what I could do with a couple of yards of that buffalo fabric and came up with the idea of some kind of tote bag. 
Of course I couldn't hog the whole project.  My Big Brother wanted to help out, too.  So I had him do this stippling on the flap of the pocket.  This is a built in stitch, but it's only about 1/2 an inch wide, so he had to go back many times to completely cover the fabric.  Didn't my Big Brother do a good job?
I love buttons, and when I spied this big one, I had to have it for this project!
The flap of the pocket looks like it's wrinkled doesn't it?  It's not.  It is the coloring of the fabric, and it just shows up more now that it's stippled with dark thread.
And this is what the finished project looks like.  It's a large tote, suitable as a Farmer's Market bag, or a shopping bag.  It could also be used as a laptop tote.  There are pockets on both sides of the inside, so you could just stow your keys and wallet in there and be good to go for an afternoon at a flea market, too.  I hope she likes it.  We are meeting her in about half an hour for an early supper, and I'm bringing it to her then.
Now she is ready to move west to find a home where the buffalo roam!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I've been spending some time today with my Big Brother.  He wasn't very happy that we left last weekend and he had to stay home in the sewing room, all by himself.  He thought he should be able to go along, especially when he found out it was a four quilt shop trip!  But, Big Brother is happy today!  We're working on a project for a friend of mine, and he's enjoying that a lot.  I'm finding out more about him, and what he can do, and we're becoming very close.  In fact, I love him a lot!  He's so nice and shiny new!
I love the spring wild flowers.  I took this picture Monday, on our way back from up north, when we stopped at a small state park where we have applied to be the campground hosts for the month of June.  We stopped just for a quick look around, and I spied this pretty sight poking through the leaves.
This is the site for the campground hosts.  It's a nice big spot in the trees.  Looks like a nice place to live for a month.  The little black car is the 2010 Dodge Charger we rented for the weekend.
I think it's a nice little park.  There is fishing in the lake, hiking on the trails, and a quilt shop within 15 miles!  What more can you want!
And, yes, of course we'll bring Big Brother with us.  We couldn't leave him here alone  for a whole month!

Monday, April 19, 2010

We are home from our quick trip to the North country.  It was a good trip.  We not only got to visit with our son, his wife and our grandson, we also saw many old friends when we attended services at our old church on Sunday.  And on top of was a four quilt shop trip!  Yup, a four shop trip!

On Friday on the way up we stopped at Thimbleberries, the home of Lynette Jensen's studio   in Hutchinson.  I restrained myself and spent not a penny, but they are only about an hour and a half from me so I can go there anytime!  Then we stopped in Perham at The Bay Window Quilt Shop,  named one of the top 10 quilt shops in the nation!  And I can see why!  Wow!  I did make a purchase here.  I got 3 charm packs of some great colorful fabrics by Sandy Gervais.  The line is called Frolic, and I think you can see why!  Aren't they great?  I'm not sure what they will end up in but I'm sure it will be great!

Then on Saturday I went to the sweet little shop in East Grand Forks, Quilters Eden.  They were having a shop hop, and I received a free pattern for stopping in on that day!  I've bought a couple of kits there in past years, and I really like this little shop.  Then today on the way home, we were driving down the highway and I yelled "Stop!  Turn around!"  And he did!  I had spied a sign for this Fabric Warehouse,   where I got some Schmetz needles for half price, some large spools of quilting thread, a button and a couple of pieces of fabric for a special project for a friend.  But don't tell!

Ernie headed to bed about 7:30.  He didn't get his nap in today, so he was extra tired tonight!  Me?   I'm catching up on some blog reading and thinking about my four quilt shop weekend!  It was great!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


This morning we attended worship services at the church where we were members for over seven years, back in the 70's and early 80's.  It was so much fun to see people that we saw every Sunday, thirty years ago!  Many of the older folks have gone home to Jesus, but still so many faithful members were there.  We had a wonderful visit!  After services, we went out for breakfast with Arlene, Ernie's childhood friend from his hometown of Oklee.  We had a great visit and caught up on kids and grandkids.

We also took another visit to the old neighborhood, this time from I street, looking down Teak towards the east.  Yesterday I said that Twining School was gone, but now today we see a part of it at least, way down at the end of the street.  So, Barbie, your house is gone, but part of the school is still standing.
When we lived there, the streets were almost bare of trees.  There now are trees, but no homes.  The white truck is parked just about in front of where our house stood.  There is a pile of debris there now.
We picked up Lenny, Connie and Sammy again, and went down to the river, the famous Red River of the North, the river you hear about almost every spring because it is flooding.  That cone shaped monument in front of Sammy lists the dates and the water levels of the most devastating floods.  The very top mark is 1997, the worst flood recorded, the year the water covered the downtown of Grand Forks, and many of the buildings burned down.  It is nicely rebuilt now, looking better than ever.  And the main change is that they have build a wonderful dike system along this area.  The water still rises, because the river flows north, so the thawing waters from the south flow north and run into the frozen waters and the ice jams that aren't moving as fast.   The mark about the middle of the cone reads 1979, when we were at the Air Force Base.  I remember coming into town and filling sand bags one weekend, and another time riding the bus into town and slinging sandbags along a street running parallel to the river.  I don't think I ever ached so much in my life!  And these people sling those sand bags almost every year!  It must be the sturdy Norwegian stock.
The water is still high and outside the actual river banks.  In the exact center of this picture you should see a couple of red spots.  Those red spots are fire trucks, the white ones are huge trailers of rescue equipment.  There is a search going on in this area of the river where someone had jumped from the bridge this past week.
This is the rescue boat heading up the river for another search for the body.  How sad for the family having to wait for closure to this terrible event.
Sammy wanted his picture taken with the train crossing the river on the railroad bridge.  So here you are! 
And just to show you that the river is still high, this spot is further north from the downtown area, and that line in the water across the center of the river, is a dam!  Yup!  It really is water over the dam and water covering the dam!  There will still be a lot of work to do when the water goes down.  Look at the mess of trees and brush that needs to be cleaned up.  And like I said, these people do this year after year after year!  Only now they won't lose their city as the dikes are protecting the businesses and homes.
We will be taking off early in the morning.  We have really enjoyed our visit with our son and his family and hope we can get back up here again soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


This first picture is for Kevin and Joe and Justin.  A Grand Forks Air Force Base Prairie Dog!
We picked Lenny, Connie and Sammy up for breakfast, and Sammy was going to make one of his famous cheesy faces, but I caught it as a cute wink!
So the following pictures are for my kids......This first one is of our house on Sunflake Circle!  It's gone!  It was a two story 6-plex, brand new when we moved in back in the late 70's.  They have torn it down!  Just when they got some trees to grow they tore it down!  The brown box was in our back yard.
Mickey, Rhonda, Katie and Chrisy lived here. 
Lenny is explaining to Connie how he and Lance used to play trucks right over there, and Keith lived there, and Twin and Slurp lived over there, and Prey's lived over there.  It's all gone.  My kids' childhood homes are gone!
So then we took a ride to the other part of the base housing to take pictures of Teak Ave.  Well, here it is.
I'm standing on J Street, at the corner of Spruce and J.  The next street, which would be somewhere in this area was Teak where we lived when we first arrived on base.  Gone, too. 
Twining school where I worked and the kids attended, gone too.  Completely gone!
I think this is about where the corner was where Barbie lived, and the open area was behind our buildings.  It's all gone.
This is Spruce Street where Lori M. lived.  It's now the last street heading towards the north.
Then we went to Turtle River for a picnic.  This is Ernie, Lenny and Sammy posing for a three generation picture.
Sammy collected some treasures down by the river.  Here he has claws from a crayfish.
And here are all his treasures.  Don't boys have fun collecting treasures from a park, woods, or river?  We had a really nice day, and as we dropped them off we made plans to pick them up for church in the morning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Yup, that's me.  The pathetic blogger.  I just can't get interested in anything long enough to blog about it.  It's not that I'm depressed or anything, I'm not.  I just haven't done anything exciting.  But!  Hold your horses!  We're going on a road trip on Friday and I just might find something to talk about.

We decided to take a trip to Grand Forks to see son Lenny, his wife Connie, and our grandson, Sammy.  We haven't seen them since last fall, so it's time!  We'll leave early Friday so we can arrive late in the afternoon and see them a bit, maybe over dinner, before we head to the Air Force Base where we have reserved a room.  Saturday, if the weather cooperates, maybe we can spend the day at a state park not too far from there and have a picnic and watch Sammy play.  Sunday we'll attend the church we attended when we were stationed there for eight years and we'll get to see some old friends.  Ernie also has an aunt that lives there, so hopefully we can visit with Dorothy, too.  We'll leave on Monday morning to come back.

I'm looking forward to our trip.  And I do know the location of a sweet little quilt shop in East Grand Forks!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The day with my sisters was a lot of fun.  We started here, at our place, with a brunch.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the food.  And I know we all enjoyed the conversation and coffee.
Pictured here are the two honored guests.  Ruth is on the left.  She is the middle child.  I am the eldest sister, and Betsy, here on the right, is between me and Ruth.  The three of us are retired now, so we are able to plan some girly day trips.  I neglected to take a picture of Lois, our youngest sister.  She is still working, but she is more than willing to take a vacation day to spend it with us older gals.  And we didn't invite our brother.  He doesn't like pink and green depression glass!
Ruth and I hit some thrift shops in the afternoon while Betsy and Lois attended another birthday party, this one for Betsy's 3 year old grandson.

Then in the evening we all  attended a play at the college where hubby and I used to work, and where our youngest sister, Lois, still works.  The play was excellent.  Absolutely excellent.  It was "And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the world of Ann Frank" a story about the Holocaust, told with actors and actual interviews of some of the survivors of concentration camps.  The highlight of the evening was after the play, which remember I said was very well done.  But topping it was a question and answer period with an actual survivor of Auschwitz and the medical experiments done by Dr. Mengele who performed these experiments to find ways to sterilize the "undesirable" portions of the population, namely the Jewish people..  She is a spirited 90 year old woman, who told us that she was the first liberated woman.  She told how her husband died in the concentration camp, and after the liberation she fell in love with someone else.  Now there was no death certificate for camp deaths,  and the law stated that one could not marry for 5 years and 5 months after the death.  So, with a little giggle, she informed us that she was the first liberated woman.  They lived together until they could legally marry!  This marriage ended though, but she married again.  The marriage this time lasted 44 years.  She was asked how she managed or what did she use or call on to make it through those awful years in Auschwitz.  She again giggled, and then said that she was always a little bit obstinate.  She did exactly the opposite of what was expected of her.  Everyone hated the lukewarm colored water that they called soup.  Soup probably made with the scraps of peelings from the vegetables and the food made for the guards.  But she said she was known to eat four bowls of it! She endured the death march, a three day, two night, 60 mile march in the dead of winter to end up in a labor camp where she remained until she was liberated.

I could have listened to her for hours, but you could tell that after about 45 minutes she was tiring.  Can you imagine what she has lived through?  We probably don't want to know of most of the atrocities that she endured.  So if she wanted to leave so she could rest, she deserved to do so.  I will not soon forget the evening I was privileged to be in the audience of Margot DeWilde, or as her tattooed arm reads, 47574.            

Saturday, April 10, 2010


It is party time!  I just a couple of hours I have three important guests coming.  My three sisters!  Two of these sisters have birthdays in April, the other two of us have birthdays in December.  Today I am having a party for the April birthday girls.  And I have set the table with dishes from my treasures.  My glassware is  mostly from my grandmother, our Nonny, and from a couple of thrift shop finds.  Doesn't it look like spring?  I'm sorry you all can't join us, but I only have the green depression glass setting for four.  The menu is a hash browns/egg/bacon dish, fresh fruit salad, cornbread, raspberry sherbet, shortbread cookies, orange juice and coffee.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Are there certain smells that immediately jolt a memory in your brain?  Are you immediately transported back into time by the mere sniff of a certain smell?  Do you become a child at the first whiff of a special aroma?  There are so many memories that jump right into the forefront of my brain the minute I am met with particular smells.  For instance:

Cinnamon and sugar:  I am in my great grandmother's small, tidy home, sitting by the dining room table with my siblings, waiting for Grandma Martha to bring in the steaming bowls of rice and milk, on which we sprinkle sugar and cinnamon.  She had little money, and I'm sure feeding us five kids and our parents and grandparents could have been a huge burden on her.  But rice!  Pretty economical, even then.  And we loved it.  I have tried and tried, but I have not been able to recreate Grandma Martha's rice and milk, sweetened with sugar and cinnamon.

Coffee cake:  My paternal grandmother made the most incredible coffee cake you have ever tasted.  When we would visit her and grandpa in their huge house on a corner lot in a small town in Western Iowa, we were greeted every morning by the smell of her special coffee cake.  It was kind of a yeast cake, mixed the night before and set out to rise in the morning before being popped into the oven of her big white stove in the kitchen. What a heavenly smell it was!

Cedar:  My paternal grandpa was a woodworker by hobby.  His saws and other woodworking tools were housed in the huge barn that doubled as a garage and a workshop.  He made shelves, shadow boxes, magazine racks, small boxes, clothes racks and cedar chests, all out of cedar.  I loved the smell of the fresh cut wood and the sawdust in his shop.

Molasses cookies: (yes, it's basically food smells that trigger memories for me!) are associated with my maternal grandmother, our Nonny.  She was an excellent cook and baker, and fortunately we do have many of her recipes.  In one of the houses they lived in, the biggest one, they had a small entry off to one side that wasn't used to come in or go out.  That little room was always filled with canisters, boxes, or jars of goodies.  Molasses cookies, sugar cookies, donuts, and other sweet goodies were always packed away in the cool of the little room, waiting for the grandkids to devour them.  And did we ever enjoy them!

Musty basement smells bring back two memories.  The musty smell that is mixed with a sweet smelling laundry powder is also associated with our Nonny.  As kids we often played in her basement, creating a huge mess among the musty boxes of stored clothes and household items.  Worn dresses or aprons became dress up clothes as we played house with our baby dolls.  But the best times were the times when we found the boxes holding the old curtains and drapes!  Oh, the wedding dresses and formals we created from the sheer, frilly Priscilla curtains!  A lacy panel made a beautiful veil, held in place with bobby pins and decorated with flowers found in Nonny's garden.  The ruffled tie backs became lovely belts tied around our waists, cinching in the curtains we had artfully draped over and around our shoulders, creating gowns that would be coveted by top designers!  All gowns came with a sightly musty smell from the basement, but we didn't care.

The second musty basement smell was the stale, closed in, musty smell of the basement of the church next to our childhood home in Northeastern Iowa.  Us kids often played in the graveyard next to the church, and after sweating in the hot afternoon sun while climbing on tombstones we sometimes fled to the cool of the church basement.  The cool, musty basement that was used maybe one time a month, on a Thursday afternoon when the Ladies Aid Society met.  Otherwise it was shut up, closed in, and dark, cool and musty.  Our dad, the pastor of this church, would have paddled our behinds if he had known how often we were in that church basement!

Lilacs:  The smell of lilacs will now make me sneeze and cough, will make my eyes water and my nose run, but it will always bring me back to the huge hedge of bushes that we had on the lawn of our childhood home.  We tunneled through the thick twisted stand of lilacs, and created the most highly perfumed playhouses you can imagine.  Hours were spent breathing in the intoxicating aroma, maybe leading to the sensitivity I now have.

Where do you go when you smell a particular aroma?   Are you once again a child?  Or don't smells do anything to you?  Just wondering.


Yesterday I spent some time bonding with my new Big Brother.  We worked together on a project, and I think it turned out quite well.  I am getting to know him and his capabilities and moods, and I'm finding that I love him quite a bit.  Actually, a lot.  Really, really a lot.  I have a feeling we are going to do great things together.  And when I get home I'll post a picture of our project.
 The inside and the pockets of a purse for daughter-in-love, Tya, Lance's wife.  Her birthday is past, but I hope she'll forgive the lateness and I hope she likes it.  I showed her the fabric and she said she liked it.
I'm sitting at the clinic where daughter Gail (18 months sober!) is having an injection.  She has had a lot of lingering pain from the surgery she had last summer, and is going through a pain management program where she is getting injections to numb the nerve endings, which will then stop the pain.  This is her third injection, and she seems to be in less pain.  I am hoping it works for her.

Bean came out to spend some time with us on Tuesday,  He was excited about my new Big Brother who is living in my sewing room, and we had to demonstrate a few of the features.  Bean especially liked the alphabet scripts that my Brother can do, and we had to decorate a few pieces of fabric.  The first one had to say his name, the date, and be decorated with some hearts and flowers and other fancy stitches.  Then he sweetly asked if we could do one for his sister, Java.  He even knew her birth date and wanted that included on her little piece of muslin.  Then he got the bright idea to make one for his parents.  That one was to say 'Kari and StarBUCK forever' and was also decorated with hearts and flowers.  It was so cute.  He stuffed his three prize pieces of muslin into his jeans pockets and was excited to go home and show his family.  And of course I neglected to take pictures.  But I have a feeling I will have to lock up Big Brother.  All it took was for me to show Bean one time how it worked, and he stood there and picked the stitches for the next two.

It was 30 degrees this morning but by the weekend it will be in the 70's.  The grass is greening up and the birds are chirping and it smells fresh and new.  I love spring!

Sunday, April 04, 2010




Saturday, April 03, 2010


Pierre Puget  1620-1694

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand
The shadow of a mighty rock
Within a weary land.
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
And the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me.
And from my stricken
heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place.
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face.
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss.
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.

E.C. Clephane  1830-1869

Friday, April 02, 2010


I want you to meet my big brother.  What?  I don't have a big brother?   You say my brother is my little brother?  Well, actually, he is pretty tall!  But I mean my BIG BROTHER!  Here he is!  He loves me so much he will always be by my side.
My BIG BROTHER likes to sew and quilt.
And he moved into my sewing room today.
I would like you to meet my BIG BROTHER!

He does over 300 fancy things,  I think he'll be a hard worker and help me a lot.
Oh, I hope Little Jan isn't jealous!  Here, I'll introduce them!  Little Jan, meet
And BIG BROTHER, here is your roommate........
Little Jan!  Please be kind to each other!
And I hope you will live happily ever after!
Good bye.  Time to go play!