• 11Jan
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Christmas Day – 2010

    Christmas Day was a Very Merry Christmas at our house.

    The mantle is filled with my Christmas village.

    Despite Bob’s concerns that all the heat will go up the chimney, we have a roaring fire!

    Here’s the tree…

    …with lots of blown glass ornaments collected over the years.  It’s so fun to think of the places I visited and who I was with when I got each of them–like New York, San Francisco, Colonial Williamsburg and the Hotel Del Coronado.

    For years I collected vintage looking boxes.  I hadn’t used them in over 15 years.

    But this year I dug them out and discovered I still love them!

    We did brunch here, with fresh Dungeness crab legs, barbecued pork, gruyere potatoes, my mom’s homemade potato salad and her homemade cheese–along with some Cougar Gold.

    I baked cardamom bread…

    and pecan sticky buns and orange rolls.  We love our carbs in this family!

    Sally, Ray, Dad, Mom and Cole.

    Cole (hey! how did he get in there again!?!), Melissa, Matt and Bob.

    A very Merry Christmas indeed!

  • 06Jan
    Categories: Everything! Comments Off on Christmas Eve 2010

    We always celebrate Christmas Eve at my mom and dad’s house.

    Mom has a penchant for poinsettias.

    She uses them liberally on her tree…

    …up her stairway…

    …and all her gift-wrap features them.  If you look outside the windows, you can see the ocean!

    We didn’t get a group family photo, so here we all are, individually.  My beautiful mom.

    My handsome dad.

    My skinny sister Sally.

    Her husband Ray.

    Our nephew  Cole.

    DH Bob.

    And me, obviously ready to get the opening of gifts underway!

  • 26Nov
    Categories: Everything! Comments Off on A Tasty Thanksgiving

    We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  The best part is being with family and friends, but the food wasn’t bad, either!

    The table was set…

    I splurged on new linens this year.

    The dough for the Parker House rolls was smooth and silky.

    My goal is always to have the rolls come out of the oven just as we sit down to eat, and I managed the time just right.

    The turkey was a beauty.

    22 pounds!

    My mom brought a pumpkin pie.  I baked an apple but it was camera shy!

    And Melinda brought a cherry pie.

    Doesn’t everyone have an orange gingham tablecloth for fall!?!

  • 05Oct
    Categories: Everything!, musings, travels here Comments Off on I’ve been camping!

    Yes, I actually did it.  Bob and I took Lola, our 1972 Airstream, on her first camping trip.  Well, her first camping trip with us and my first camping trip EVER!

    We went to Stub Stewart State Park in Oregon, only about two hours from home–perfect for a first outing.  And, a beautiful campground, I might add.

    Son Doug and his family met us there.  I’ve mentioned before that I have cute grandkids.  Well, here’s the proof!  This is Carson.

    And Peyton.

    Carson thought the gravel parking spots were perfect.

    And the play area was really neat!

    We had a beautiful day on Saturday.

    On Sunday it began to mist.  But, we decided to do a hike through the woods anyway.  I’m not sure this was the best trail to take!

    I love the forests here in the Northwest.  They’re so dense and lush.

    And I love the odd shaped trees.

    Or this one, that has dozens of “arms.”

    Multiple trunks are always interesting.

    Crooked AND moss covered!  What could be better?

    There were lots and lots…

    …and lots more ferns.

    And giant clover.

    I mean GIANT!

    I find old snags cool, too.

    As well as old stumps.

    Even rotting stumps!  Notice how dark it was in the woods.  My camera flash went off!

    “Grandma, look at me on this big stump!”

    Have you ever heard of “disk golf?”  It was a first for me.

    There’s a course and these baskets for catching Frisbees.  Who would want to throw a Frisbee in the woods?  Wouldn’t all those trees get in the way?

    From the highest part of our hike, we could see the campground.  See Lola there in the mist?  Doesn’t she look beautiful?

  • 02Aug
    Categories: Everything!, musings, quilting Comments Off on Fabric Stories

    Way back in 1974, when I was 20 and my Grandma Ikey was 90, I was getting married.  Grandma Ikey had two Nine-Patch quilt tops that she had made several years before and tucked away.  One was supposed to be for my brother when he got married, and the other for my cousin Jim when he got married–her two grandsons.  However, I was the first to get married, so Grandma gave one to me as a wedding gift.

    This quilt became very special to me, because my other grandma, my Grandma Kennedy, and the members of her Ladies Aid Society, did the quilting on it.  I slept under this quilt for years, had it dry cleaned a few time–I didn’t know any better–and have always treasured it.  My brother did get the other one, also finished by the Ladies Aid, and his is in pristine condition.

    I always said that someday I’d be a quilter.  About 1993, I got a free quilt pattern in the mail.  It was from Oxmoor House and was for a Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I thought, “I should make this.  And I should make it king sized so it will fit my bed!”  Ah, ignorance was bliss!  I also remembered that my mom had given me some old fabric and blocks from my Grandma Ikey after she passed away, and that among them were some Flower Garden blocks.  Amazingly, I opened a drawer in my storage room, and there they were–16 Flower Garden blocks, or at least the components to make them.  I knew I wanted to use them in my first quilt!  It took me 2-1/2 years, but I finished that king sized top.

    As I was working with the blocks that Grandma Ikey had made (I had to take them apart and re-cut them as they were a different size than my pattern) I began to think that some of the fabrics looked familiar.  I was pretty sure they were the same as some in my Nine-Patch.  So, I got it out and started to compare.  Sure enough, there were some duplicates!  Like this yellow and green flower print.

    There was also this cute little blue flower.

    You can see it’s more faded in the Nine-Patch.

    Sometimes there were only enough hexagons for a half block, but that worked great for the edges of the Flower Garden.

    Well yesterday, Bob and I and my parents visited our cousin Betty, whom we rarely see.

    She had two quilts that our Grandma Ikey had made!  This star quilt.

    And this fan quilt!

    I was thrilled to see them, but even more excited when I started recognizing some old friends among the prints!  The white daisies on this pink background really speaks to me–I’ve always loved daisies.  Here it is in Betty’s star quilt….

    …and in my Nine-Patch quilt…..

    …and in my Flower Garden quilt!

    This very abstract blue print was in one of the stars…

    …and in my Nine-Patch.

    The other print in this star was also familiar.

    It’s not only in my Nine-Patch….

    …Grandma Ikey made my baby doll a dress from this print!

    And here it appears with a blue paisley…

    …which is also in my Nine-Patch.

    This fan blade had lots of matches to my quilts.  The center blade with the little Lemoyne Stars print….

    …made its way into my Nine-Patch, although it’s much more faded here.

    And the dark brown with the aqua flowers….

    …is REALLY faded in my quilt.

    Did you notice the little tulip print in the above block?  It turns out Dolly has a dress made from that print, too!  I love her rick rack!

    INSERTED 8/3  My sister emailed me last night.  She had gotten her dolls out to check out their dresses, and here’s what she found–and said.

    Here are Chatty Baby and Chatty Cathy all decked out in their tulip dresses.  Please note that my dolls can stand up by themselves, because they are not missing any legs.  Chatty Baby is upset, because she can’t find her scarf.  (I suspect the reason Chatty Cathy is looking away from Baby is because Cathy lost her own scarf and stole Baby’s.)

    Then this morning Sally emailed me this….Chatty Cathy has a headache this morning from wearing the scarf too tight. Serves her right, I think.

    How do you like the blue gingham sundresses?

    I love the pink gingham — wide rick-rack for Cathy and narrow rick-rack for Baby.

    Does the white fabric with yellow roses look familiar, SW?

    As a matter of fact, it does.  It’s in my Flower Garden quilt!  Thanks, Sally, for sharing!

    The dainty blue flowers, next to the bottom blade…

    …make an appearance in the Flower Garden quilt.

    And the last blade, with it’s wild pink, red and black combination…

    …shows up in the Flower Garden quilt.  I think Dolly had a dress from this, too, but I don’t seem to have it.  Maybe my sister does.

    And one of my favorite prints, which I remember is in my brother’s quilt too, is the gray and red one.

    It’s in both of my quilts….

    …and Betty’s fan quilt.

    It’s amazing the connections among these four quilts–five if you count my brother’s.

    Yesterday my mom told me that Grandma Ikey once said that when she and her niece, Elsie (who was two years older, but that’s another story) would buy fabric for a project, before they even cut into it, they were planning what they’d make from the scraps!  Spoken like a true quilter.

    And I have one more quilt to show you that’s from Grandma Ikey.  This is the crib quilt she made when my brother was born, and that Mom used on all three of us kids.

  • 29Jun
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Midsummer 2010

    Of course, if I had my way, I’d have been in Sweden for midsummer.  But, not this year.  So, we had a midsummer celebration here in Long Beach.

    First, the Swedish cabin in our woods needed some attention.

    We’d been using a ladder to get up to the loft, but I wanted stairs that were carved out of one log like I’d seen at farm museums in Sweden.

    Josh Blewett, a local chain saw artist, did these for me.

    It took a lot of “oomph” to lift it up.

    And then it needed some tweaking.

    They had to take it down…….

    ….and put it back up a couple of times.

    In the end, it was a perfect fit.

    I took the inaugural climb, and Josh joined me in the loft.

    Last summer in Sweden I bought a wind vane that’s based on an historic design.  Note: It’s always good to buy heavy items made of metal to put in your suitcase–especially early in your trip.

    John Bahner made a beautiful mounting bracket for it–even duplicating the heart that’s on the vane–and got it done in time for the weekend festivities.

    The setting around the cabin is so beautiful this time of year.

    I love the delicate ground cover called miner’s lettuce.

    It even manages to find its way into the crotch of the trees.

    The log by the troll house had a nice crop of mushrooms.

    I think the trolls may be cultivating them.

    On the morning of the midsummer celebration, Bob had the maypole in place and ready to go.

    I spent the morning making garland.  I wish I had birch leaves, but alder had to do.  Bob and my cousin Susan help me bring everything to the maypole.

    Cole supervises as I wrap.

    The onlookers–my mom, my brother, my uncle, my dad, my uncle and my cousin.  Quite the family affair!

    The decorated maypole.

    The three guys get ready to lift.

    Can they do it?


    ….and higher……

    Yeah!  It’s finally in place.

    Locked in.

    By afternoon, we had sunshine and blue skies–perfect for picture taking.

    Midsummer means lots of flowers for decorations.  These are on the cabin.

    I especially love the wild fox gloves.

    This is probably my favorite bouquet.  These flowers grow wild behind my studio.

    A little something for the living room.

    It’s traditional to decorate the entrance to your home with birch trees.  Since none grow around here, I bought two at the nursery.  Now I’ll plant them by the cabin.  I figure if I do this every year, I should have a whole birch forest in about 80 years!

    My collection of Swedish horses came out for the occasion.

    Dinner’s nearly ready and Sally is pouring water.  We had the traditional meal–meatballs, dilled new potatoes, pickled herring, rye bread, lingonberry sauce and cucumber salad.

    And two desserts–strawberry whipped cream roll and princess cake.

    Later in the day we relaxed in the cabin.

    The weather was perfect for being out.

    Before the day was done, we had to have our picture take in the lupine.

    The lupine in Sweden grows wildly and abundantly.  I’m trying to get the lupine established in this area of our yard, but I have a long way to go.

    So you can see what I mean, here’s a picture taken two years ago in Sweden.  Can Cole really have grown so much in just two years!?!

    Glad midsommar!

  • 05Jun
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Las Vegas – The Entertainment

    My recent trip to Las Vegas with my mom, sister and daughter wasn’t about gambling, it was about eating, shopping and being entertained.

    The first night we were there, Melissa and Grandma went to see Donny and Marie.  Melissa grew up watching them and mom fell in love with them on Dancing with the Stars.

    That same night, Sally and I went to see Terry Fator.  He’s the ventriloquist that won America’s Got Talent a few years ago, and, boy, does he have talent!  Besides a ventriloquist, he’s an impersonator.  His act would be great even if his lips did move!

    I loved all his characters, but the funniest was when he got a big guy up from the audience, dressed his like Cher, and talked for him.  Then Terry donned a Sonny wig and they sang “together!”  Honestly, if you’re ever in Las Vegas, don’t miss this show.

    In our hotel we went to see the Cirque de Soleil show called “O.”  It’s done in the water.  Well, some of the time.  First the stage is a pool, then it’s a stage, an so on.  The guy taking the high dive really has to trust that the guy operating the stage mechanics doesn’t foul up!  It was amazing.

    Melissa provided some entertainment for us–and a gathered crowd–when she got up-close and personal with a mime!

    Good thing she’s young and cute!

    Shoe shopping…..

    This is the size Michael Jordan wears!

    We tried to get Melissa to buy some new evening wear.  Love how she tried it on, hanger and all!

    This was my favorite display.  It’s at Brighton and the dress is made from their tissue paper.  Amazing!

    The Brighton store at the airport had this mannequin dressed in newspaper!

    I wanted to buy this mannequin, but it wasn’t for sale.  It sure would have looked cute in the studio!

    Check out this window display.  Those are pantyhose!

    So, here’s what I had to pack when it was time to go home.

    And this is the size of my suitcase!  Believe it or not, I got it all in–well, a little of it had to go into my carry-on.

    Viva Las Vegas!

  • 30May
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Las Vegas – The Hotels

    We stayed at the Belagio while in Las Vegas.  The hotel is beautiful, starting with the glass installation in the lobby ceiling.  It’s by Washington glass artist Dale Chihuly.

    But the truly amazing thing is the garden at the end of the lobby.  I love the wild foxgloves that bloom near our woods, but these were pretty impressive.


    And orange tulips!

    I love this glass water feature.

    There was a lot of whimsy in the garden, like these giant ants and mushrooms.

    And I loved this pot spilling flowers out–and the giant trowel.

    Here’s another view of the trowel.

    In front of the Chihuly Studio, there was glass mixed in with the plants.  How perfect.

    I think this was my favorite water feature.  Next time it rains, I’ll picture giant watering cans pouring the water down on me.

    At Sally’s suggestion we also wandered through the Wynn and Encore.  It was decorated just for me–with butterflies!

    I loved the marble floors.

    And it was okay that they threw in some dragonflies.

    Not only were there butterflies in the marble floors, but the carpets, too.

    Isn’t the mosaic work incredible?

    I loved the whimsy of these lights.

    This atrium was fantastic with the umbrellas.  They just need the giant watering cans from the Bellagio!

    Sally and Melissa.

  • 24May
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Las Vegas – The Food!

    A few weeks ago, my mom, my sister, my daughter and I went to Las Vegas–not to gamble but to eat, shop and be entertained!

    Mom and Sally.

    Melissa and me.

    The afternoon we arrived, we had a late lunch in our hotel, the Belagio, at Olives.  Lunch was delicious, but dessert was even better.

    The chocolate cake with raspberries was yummy!

    As was the chocolate mousse.

    Sally had the creme brulee.

    And Melissa opted for a second Lemon Drop!

    Our very most favorite restaurant in NYC is Le Cirque.  How lucky that they have one at the Bellagio, too!

    We started off with a celebratory Cosmopolitan.  I’m always trying to help out the cranberry growers!

    The food is as delicious as the presentation.

    Sally’s “Risotro in Harmony with the Seasons.”

    The guy at the next table was having the shellfish appetizer, and I just had to have a photo!  Thank you, Mister.

    My lobster.  Mmmmm.

    Filet topped with foie gras


    But the best–chocolate souffle!  Four, please.

    Our last night, we ate at Circo, and their souffle was Grand Marnier.  It wasn’t chocolate, but it was a close second!

    Mom and Sally had fresh doughnuts with two dipping sauces.

    As you can see, we were well fed–especially in the dessert department!

  • 09Mar
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Bon Jovi – Part 1

    Flashback to the mid 80′s.  Melissa is in high school and I’m hooked on MTV!  Melissa’s favorite band–Bon Jovi!

    Fast forward to a few months ago when Melissa tells me Bon Jovi is touring and the number one thing on her Bucket List is to see them again before they’re too old–or she’s too old!  I tell her to buy us tickets and she does–fourth row.  FOURTH ROW!!!!

    Bon Jovi’s first stop–Seattle.  Melissa and I spent the weekend at my parents condo.  Here’s the view from First and Spring.

    Mount Rainier over Safeco Field and the Quest Center.

    The waterfront.

    Tall buildings.  Hey, I’m from a really small town.

    Of course we had to go to Pike’s Place Market.

    Aren’t the flowers on the rooftops beautiful?

    Years ago when the Market was being refurbished, they had a buy-a-tile fund raiser, and my mom and dad bought tiles for the whole family.  Here are ours!

    But, come late afternoon, we’re ready to go!

    The concert was at Seattle Center.  Here’s a view of the Space Needle over the top of Experience Music Project.

    Great public art on the way in.

    Past the International Fountain.

    Quick mother/daughter photo op.

    Now here’s the cool thing.  A semi-circle comes out from the stage–about four feet wide.  We’re in The Pit–the area inside the circle!  That’s VIP section, baby!

    Another peek at the Space Needle before we go inside.

    Of course everything is in Melissa’s name–and her name is on the list–BUT, she took her ID out at the airport and put it in her carryon.  It’s not in her purse!  Must be nice to be young and cute.  She just smiled, batted her eyelashes a few times and the guy said No Problem!

    We were escorted to a special reception room and the band was there to greet us–well, paper cut outs of them!

    The appetizers were waiting for us.

    As was the open bar–always high on my list!  As you can see, I did my part to support the cranberry industry.

    Soon dinner was served–the pasta bar was yummy!

    And who could argue with a Build Your Own Cupcake station!?!

    The band didn’t join us, but one guy I nicknamed Phony Bon Jovi was loving having his photo taken with all the cute girls!

    I know you want pictures of the real thing, but that will have to wait until Part 2!