Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Now I can show you...

Ava turned TWO today! And now that she has received her gifts, I can show you what I've been working on.

Disclaimer -- I don't know what is going on with Blogger but when I loaded these pictures they were landscape and somehow or another they turned. I tried it twice and have given up. I don't know why and don't really care anymore at this point. It's bed time, so humor me and turn you head will ya? Thanks, I knew you'd help me out.

I saw the pattern for this little jacket at a local quilt shop last spring and knew right away it was going to be her birthday present.

Then for an extra something, I appliqued her a long sleeve tee-shirt for Halloween (and to not leave Owen out of the celebration, a long sleeve black onesie for him).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meeting blog friends..

After I left a comment on Stitchin by the Lake, Michele from Just Simple Joys followed the link to my blog. She read about our Labor Day weekend camping trip, realizing we probably didn't live very far apart. After a few emails back and forth, we discovered we both like quilting and motorcycling.

We met for lunch today at Poopy's in Savanna. We had some good food and better yet, great conversation.

Michele was even thoughtful enough to bring me a gift! Some fun coasters she made and a scrap bag for quilting. I guess this means I need to stop throwing all of my threads and scraps on the floor, huh? Dan is probably even more thankful. When I sew, I sew all over!

Plans are being made for at least one more ride this fall. I am so thankful that I've "found" blogging. A special thanks to Marlene at Stitchin by the Lake. If it wasn't for her blog we would likely have never met.

Michele & Louie

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday's projects

Here's a sneak peak of what I've been working on today.

Isn't he cute?

I can't show the entire thing until next week just in case that certain someone reads this before then. I'll post pictures of the rest of it after that.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's beginning to feel alot like fall around here

Fall is hands down my favorite season of the year and it's beginning to feel like it here in Northern Illinois.

My house is "falled up". I've never been big in to Halloween decorations, but love the pumpkins and dried berries.

I've been met with nasty fog the last few mornings on the way to work. Never mind it's foggy, but then this idiot driver is taking a picture as they're driving. I'm a safe driver, really I am!

The trees are starting to turn.

Some more than others.

The soybean fields are a ripe shade of gold and leaves are falling off the plants.
The corn is starting to dry and ready for harvest.

And of course, no Fall season is complete without the little "goose gifts" all over campus. We have a pond on campus and this time of year, the geese are very prevalent. When we go out for our walk we are constantly dodging the landmines they leave for us.

Hey, I could have taken a picture of the dead possum that was at the end of my driveway sticking his tongue out at me this morning. Carnage or poo, you decide...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sneak Peek

This is something I'm working on for a special someone.

Don't you just love the colors? I really like the pink fabric with the swirls.
In hind sight though, I probably should have cut the green fabric on the bias, but I think it will turn out okay anyway.

I'll post the finished product in a couple of weeks after the recipient has opened her gift.

Saint Louie

I've been in St Louis the last few days at a AEAP conference.
What is AEAP you ask? Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals. I've been a member of this national organization for a number of years but have never been able to attend one of their conferences until this year's in St Louis.
The theme of the conference was Managing Time in a Chaotic World. The speakers were great but what was more interesting and fun was networking with fellow members from across the country. I chatted with ladies from Michigan, Florida, the Carolinas, Oregon and even Bermuda.

After the "welcome reception" the first evening, we went to Kobe's Japanese restaurant for supper. What a fun place! It was a hoot watching the chef ...



and flaming. (I think I have eyebrows left)

The steak and chicken combo I had literally melted in my mouth. However, I can truthfully say I don't think I've ever spent that much on a meal in my life. The experience was worth it though, right?

Then Saturday morning before we left, Rhonda & I decided to treat ourselves to room service breakfast. Neither one of us had ever had room service before. I know, we lead a sheltered life. The tray even came with a vase and fresh flowers. It was wonderfully indulgent to sit back, put my feet up and enjoy my omelet.

Do you see those itty bitty baby bottles of ketchup and Tabasco sauce. Aren't those the most fun little things? I've never seen anything like it.

OK, so now I'm really showing my "hick-dom" but hey, I am what I am!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A "pumped up" group of guys

Highland Community College, where I work, is the first community college in the state to offer training for Wind Turbine Technicians. We are actually one of only a handful of programs throughout the US.

We accepted 16 students into the program for this first semester of the program. The students range in age from 18 - 48. This particular class is all guys. Yesterday was their first tower climb all 240 ladder rungs of it! Click here for a quick slideshow of the climb.

Pictures are courtesy of Nancy Barker. She does a great job with the different shots and putting a fun "spin" on things. I especially like the shot of my boss and the reflection of the turbines in his sunglasses. If you want to see some of her other work, drop on over to her website.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Look what I received in the mail, I'm so excited! I won the 100th post prize from Marilyn over at Piece by Piece. It's a great little quilt made from 30's reproduction fabrics.
It's so intricately pieced. Someday maybe I'll have the patience to work with that small of pieces. Doubtful, but I can always hope, can't I?
Anyway, it's beautiful!
Thanks Marilyn!

Hat Party

I was invited to a Hat Party last week. This wasn't just any ole hat party. Of course, I don't know what an ole hat party would be anyway as I've never been to one. This hat party was for my good friend, Judy, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and is due to start chemotherapy next week. Judy's friend, Jill, thought it would be fun to throw her a hat party so she could be prepared if/when her hair falls out. The reason to have to have this kind of party isn't good but a what a fun idea!

Twelve of us gathered at a beautiful old country estate for a dinner party and to present our hat gifts to Judy. The evening was not without a few tears but Judy is determined to find Joy in this Journey and this was a great start.

Judy showing some "hat-titude"

Judy & I modeling our hats.

Friday, September 12, 2008

3 words for the day...

Head colds stink!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life markers

There are certain markers in my life that I refer to as my life's timeline.

Markers such as when we were married, when our sons were born, during the summer when we went to ______________ on vacation, when Luke was HS senior, when my mom passed away, when I received a cancer diagnosis, etc.
These markers are referred to as in “I remember that happened when the boys were 2” or “remember that was before mom died” or “that was before thyroid cancer”.

We, who live in this our great country have common timeline markers as well…the revolutionary war, the civil war, when Presidents Kennedy & Reagan were shot, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded and today now marks the anniversary of yet another timeline marker, September 11th when terrorist attacked on home soil in New York City, Pennsylvania & Washington, DC.

I imagine most people can tell you where they were and what they were doing as they first received word of those attacks. I was sitting here at the same desk I sit at today and received a call from our friend, Mike telling me to get online and see what was happening. It didn’t take long for the news to spread throughout the campus, a campus that was already reeling from the death of our college President in an automobile accident the day before.

Most classrooms that had a television were watching the news broadcasts. I can still see the stunned faces of the auto body students when I walked in their classroom. Here was a room full of fresh out of high school young men with their first real glimpse of a national crisis. I knew the thoughts going through their heads were “Will we go to war?” “Should I enlist and serve my country?” “Will there be a draft?” I know these were their thoughts as I had three draft age sons at the time and those were the questions that came up in conversations as well as thoughts that were going through my mind.

Where you and what were you doing?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected personally by the tragic events of 9-11.

photo courtesy of Flickr

“Heavens, raise the roof! Mountains, send up cheers! God has comforted his people. He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people.”
Isaiah 49:13

Monday, September 8, 2008

Apples and more

In a previous post, I mentioned Tanner's Apple Orchard in Speer, IL. We made our first trek of the season yesterday.

After playing with the goats, eating an apple cider brat, sampling dips and preserves, feasting on fresh apple fritters, drinking fresh cider and chowing on kettle corn, we did do what we went there for - BUY APPLES!
Isn't this morning's sunrise gorgeous?

It was supposed to be raining when I got up this morning and by the looks of the clouds it could, but the sun is still coming up beautiful.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And the wind comes whippin' down the plains

"Illl-lii-nooiis, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain."
Ok, ok, so I took a little creative liberty with the lyrics but I'm sure Rodgers & Hammerstein don't mind.

Seriously, these things are starting to pop up all over around here. This particular wind farm is about an hour south of where we live.

There is another farm with 67 turbines just starting to go up not far from us. We watch the components go by our house almost every day now. These blades are 155 feet long!

Controversy aside, they're neat to look at and are very calming to sit and watch.
Hey, it beats watching the corn grow!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A few more weekend pictures

Last Saturday we went for a hike (with Kristen's prodding and some puppy dog eyes - it was hot Saturday!) at Maquoketa Caves State Park near Maquoketa, Iowa.
We've made many trips out here over the years from the time the boys were young. It's a very "hike-able" park even for small children.

The largest cave is the Dancehall which has a sidewalk and light. You do have to stoop over to go through it but have the ability to stand at a few spots.

Bats and snakes you may ask? Not in a cave - uh uh, no way. Really? OK, I'm just not going to think about that!

Most of the other caves at the park you have to hands and knees or belly crawl through which is why I have personally never been in most of them as true spelunking is definitely not my thing. Can you say claustrophobic? Can you say slimy and wet? Nope, not me.

Stooping to dance with Dancehall cave

Please don't make me leave - it's so nice and cool in here!
and look at all of those steps! **sigh**

"Hey wait a minute while I put this rock back!"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Old Depot

One of the places we visited while camping last weekend was the old Savanna Army Depot. It was decommissioned about ten years ago and has since become office space, warehousing, etc. so parts of it are now open to the public. There are many abandoned buildings and bunkers on the property. It's strange driving through it as it almost felt like we were treading on a burial ground. You can read more about the Depot here if you are interested.

About five miles back into the Depot, a portion of the land has been turned into a fish and wildlife refuge. Although the only wildlife we saw was a squirrel. At the Black Oak Dune overlook, a boy scout, as his eagle project built a great observation deck that sits on the sand dunes along the Mississippi River.

It's such a nice peaceful spot to sit and watch the river roll by.

Not especially happy when he saw I was taking his picture.

This picture has very little to do with anything, other than the name on the door. It was at the end of the bridge I don't like (see previous post) and it's JoJon's Pot business. It was funny to us as our sons' names are Joe & Jon and Joe just happened to be with us and told me to take the picture. Let me tell you, I got some strange looks from the car behind us as I was taking a picture of a porta-pot!