Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We're stacking...

This is a picture of the quilt I have been trying to get the binding sewn on since Sunday afternoon. I am so close. I even started it, but other "duties" keep getting in the way. So here it sits, calling my name, but I'm not answering!

I have been planning/working/cooking ahead as much as I can. We have a busy weekend coming up with a number of houseguests, a Relay for Life meeting here on Saturday afternoon and a meal on Sunday for a 50-member choir from Springfield, Missouri who are coming to perform at our church. I'm "stacking" to use a phrase coined by a goof friend of ours who are pros at the "stacking" thing! When I was asked to cook the meal for the choir, I was all over it. I really enjoy serving in the hospitality capacity. All the while knowing as I was saying yes that I had a Relay for Life meeting here on Saturday and not seeing why that would be an issue. Now, let's add to that the fact that we are also hosting two of the students coming for Saturday night. This means, the guest rooms and extra bathroom have to be cleaned. They are in our upstairs which we've had closed off for the winter months. Can you say dead bugs on the window sills and dust bunnies running races with each other. Yuk! The stack is starting to get higher. Then, last night,our son and daughter-in-law called. They are going to be in the area with 3 friends on Saturday and Sunday for a horse show and will all be staying with us Saturday night as well(time to get out the air beds). The stack is getting gi-normous! We're happy to see Luke & Laurie though, even if it's only for a brief time. It should be a fast, furious and fun weekend. Of course, I will be enjoying every minute of it, but may need to go to work on Monday to rest!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

He's Here!

We're Grandpa & Grandma again to a beautiful big baby boy! Owen Thomas arrived Thursday afternoon weighing 9 lbs. 1 oz. and was 21-1/2" long. He has lots of dark hair like his sister did. Mom and baby came home late yesterday (Friday) and are doing well. My how things have changed, barely 24 hours later and they are coming home! 27 years ago, I was in 2-1/2 days and that seemed quick. I can't imagine when I was born and Mom was in the hospital for 5 days even without complications. The first picture is Owen 3 hours old and the second one is big sister, Ava, taking care of him last night. She's pretty fascinated by her baby brother!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Great day for a ride

What a great day we had riding. We headed for the Mississippi, had a really good BBQ pulled pork sandwich lunch at Poopy's(don't let the name fool you, the food is really good and lots of it-oh and ignore the fact that's it's also a tattoo parlor - it's a unique place) in Savanna and headed north. We took a hike back to an old abandoned Chicago Great-Western railroad tunnel. Of course, instead of following the path, Dan thought he could figure out a shortcut, never mind it was straight up and down a couple of hillsides. I'm hoping I'll be able to move and get out of bed in the morning. This tunnel was built in the 1880's sometime and closed in the 70's. It used to be on private property but is now owned by the Illinois DNR so it's open to the public. It was so nice and quiet walking back in there. It's a great little hike. If you happen to go, make sure you've got good walking shoes on. It's only about 1/2 - 3/4 mile (guess) back off the road, but it's alot of up and downs. The one picture is of the tunnel and Dan & Joe walking back from it and the other is of Joe with his bike. He bought a Kawasaki Vulcan last year and then decided he needed to paint it over the winter. No real reason, just because he can. This is the first picture we have with his "new, improved" bike.

Clutter BE-GONE!

Look how I spent my Saturday! My sewing room has been a disaster for a few months now but I had too many projects that had to be finished so I couldn't take the time to totally clean it up. Yesterday was finally the day dedicated for that project. I just couldn't take it anymore. Those of you who know me well, know clutter is not my friend! I don't function well in clutter and disorganization. Things have to be organized! It's an obsessive compulsive component of my being. Weirdly enough, it's kind of stress reliever for me to sort things out and after this past week I needed to do something like this. I sorted all my quilting fabrics by colors and types and put them in clear tubs, so now when I want to find something, it will be so much easier. I gathered materials together for future projects and labeled them as well. Plus, I sorted out sewing tools, etc that I don't use anymore and put them on eBay. And there are no longer things in the sewing room closet that don't pertain to quilting or crafting. I am so excited to start working on the next project now and actually be able to find the things I'm looking for.
So excited, in fact that we're going on a motorcycle ride today. Our son, Joe is home from Island Lake with his bike so off we go. Not sure where to, but that's what makes it fun. Happy Sunday!

Baby quilt done

I got the new Grandon's quilt back from Pat and finished the binding the other night. I just have to share how she quilted it. In going with the construction equipment theme, she quilted it using a bulldozer pattern! How fun is that?!? Hopefully you can see it clearly enough in the picture. If you find the track, then you should be able to figure out the rest of it. I'm also attaching a picture of quick quilt I made from a panel that coordinated with the fabric for his good quilt. Can't you just see a little boy running tractors and trucks along the roads on it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Oops - wrong web address

Sorry, but when I referred to Kay Capps Cross website in my post the other day, the web address is wrong. The word "cut" should have been plural. Here's the correct address.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Notecard giveaway

Click on over to Quite-Quilted and register for her notecard giveaway celebrating 2 years of blogging for her.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Strange coincidence

Our anniversary overnight was wonderful. We spent an enjoyable evening at the Circa 21 dinner theatre in Rock Island for "Smoke on the Mountain." The bluegrass musical was alot of fun and the food was great, especially the sugar free, fat free strawberry ripple "nice" cream.

Another fun part (other than having time away with Dan) of the weekend was finding two new "favorite" quilt shops. Country at Heart Quilts in Sterling is a cute little store with a gift shop combined. They aren't very big but had different patterns that I hadn't seen before.

On the way home, we stopped in Fulton at Susan's Calico Creations and Attic Woods. Dan even enjoyed this one. The first thing the shop owner did when we walked in was to offer Dan a big mug of coffee and some chocolate. Nothing like bribing the husband with treats. Hey, I say whatever works! Along with tons of fabric, they have an antique shop on the second floor and unfinished furniture on the third. Plus, we were the first people in the door for the day so I got 25% off of my biggest cut of fabric! Coffee for him and a sale for me. It doesn't get much better than that. While I was browsing, Dan asked why I couldn't make him a Case-IH colored quilt (black, white, grey, red)? He even wanted to help pick the fabrics out, so I wasn't about to turn that down. I had no idea what kind of pattern I would use, but knew it would be something "scrappy" as it's my favorite kind.

Now for the coincidence...

The shop owner showed me a pattern book called "Black & White Quilts by Design". I didn't look at it real close but saw a number of patterns I really liked. My rule is -- I won't buy a pattern book for only one design, but since there were a number of them, of course, I purchased the book. :) After we got home, Dan picked up the book, looked at the authors name and asked me if I didn't go to school with someone by that name. I recognized the name but what would the odds be that it was the same person who was a year behind me in high school. In reading the book further, I ran across a picture of the author. This person looked alot like the mom of the person I knew. I thought what the heck and shot off an email to the author. She responded today and it is! Kay Capps Cross. Her business is called . She designs patterns for black and white quilts. In not like we were close in high school but with Forreston being small, we definitely knew each other. It's just one of those odd twists in life. If the shop owner hadn't brought the book to my attention, I wouldn't have even looked at patterns since I already have plenty that I've not tried yet. It's just one of those weird, cool coincidences. Fun, huh?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

28 years!

Today is our anniversary! 28 years ago today we were married. It was a cool and sunny spring day (50's) but not as cold as today, nor was it snowing like today. However, the day after our wedding we received 6" of snow overnight.
The past 28 years have been quite a ride full of ups and downs, "for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health." In fact, if you would have told me at year 15 we would still be together I wouldn't have believed you, but we've hung in there and are ever the more blessed for doing so.

Looking back, we've been extremely blessed to be able to have done a number of things in the past 28 years, not the least of these being...
  • raised 3 wonderful sons
  • started a business
  • changed occupations a few times (me)
  • maintained lasting friendships
  • taken vacations to and through the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginias, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Canada by plane, train, truck, car and motorcycle.
  • taken a number of short-term mission trips to Cherokee, NC and New Orleans, LA together and Dan to Mexico, Honduras & Venezuela
  • maintained many more lasting relationships from across the country through these trips.
  • lost 85 pounds - gained 15 back but still trying. :(
  • camped too many weekends to count - one of our favorite spots being Yellow River State Forest in NE Iowa. We haven't been there for a number of years. I think it's time to go, lay on the road and look at the stars again!
  • sadly, buried my mom & dad and Dan's dad
  • had a motorcycle, bought a different motorcycle, kids came along, sold the motorcycle, kids grew up and moved out, 20 years later bought another motorcycle and ride, ride , ride remodeled portions of a house
  • weathered storms in the literal sense, as well as spiritually, physically and emotionally
  • built a house
  • dealt with health issues (mainly me) including thyroid cancer
  • changed churches a couple of times
  • watched two sons get married to wonderful young women and I (Lori) got to be best man for one of them. How cool is that?
  • became grandparents to a beautiful granddaughter and again in the next week or two to a grandson
  • researched property to purchase for a move to Tennessee
  • owned and sold numerous vehicles :) I can't even count them anymore. It's pretty crazy. Now it's motorcycles..we have 2 or 3 tore apart in the garage as I write.
  • praised the Lord for allowing adventures to take place in our lives, spiritually, physically, vocationally and recreationally.

Now, we're off in a hour or so to a dinner theatre at the Quad Cities and an overnight stay at a B&B to celebrate! Gotta go pack! Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Crockpot Monday

Did I ever mention how much I love the crockpot? It's so nice to come home from work at the end of the day, walk in the house and smell supper cooking. I use it at least twice a week if not more. Tonight I prepared a spaghetti sauce I cook in the crockpot for supper tomorrow night. The sauce will be ready, cook some noodles, have a little french bread, maybe a salad and wallah! supper! without much hassle.

Here's the recipe for sauce I found and then altered to suit our taste a few years ago..

Crockpot spaghetti sauce
75 ounces canned tomatoes & tomato sauce (approx 1/2 of each)
12 ounces tomato paste
1 1/2 cloves garlic
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons each of oregano, basil & parsley
1 - 2 bay leaves
a few shakes of ground red pepper
a shake of salt

Combine all in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 - 9 hours or high for 3 - 4 hours.

This is a good base sauce and you can add from there. Tonight, I browned some ground beef (only because Dan thinks it has to have meat in it - I prefer veggies myself), added some chopped up orange & green peppers & baby bella mushrooms. Spinach is really good too but I didn't have any.

Give it a try and enjoy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Spring is finally here in Northern Illinois! We went for our first motorcycle ride of the season this afternoon. Low 60's and sunny! A tad windy, so we were only out an hour and half but it was worth the wind roaing through the intercoms. We went to our son & daughter-in-laws house to drop off a tie quilt I finished yesterday. My daughter-in-law, Heidi, pieced the middle of the quilt. She did a great job with it! This is her first quilt bigger than crib size. The fabrics she picked out went so well together. She had no pattern and just kind of did a random thing. It turned out really cute! I added the borders and tied the quilt. It looks so cute on Ava's bed. They've moved her to a "big girl bed" to get ready for the new baby due in a few weeks. They bought a white sleigh style day bed, so the browns and pinks in the quilt stand out great against the bed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Waiting and reminiscing ...

These pictures are unfortunately not recent. :( They were taken last fall on a bike trip to East Tennessee with our son and his girlfriend. They make me even more anxious for warm, dry weather so we can get out and ride again. The picture with the road taking a sharp left curve is on what is called "The Tail of the Dragon" (US 129). 318 curves in 11 miles. Fun times! The other one is a backroad off the Cherohala Skyway. The Skyway runs between Tellico Plains, TN and Robbinsville, NC. It's 36 miles of nice, smooth and rarely congested roadway. The vistas are some of the best in the area. We came back across it as the sun was setting over the mountains one evening. It don't get much better than that! While there we camped at Indian Boundary which is a very nice, clean, quiet campground (with facilities) 14 miles up the Skyway from Tellico Plains. We'll definitely be going back. Thanks for indulging my reminiscing.