Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Two Weeks and Counting

Two weeks from today I will become a grandmother again.  Or Grammie as I'm known by my grandson.  My daughter Holly and her husband Mike are expecting a baby girl on July 1st.  We've been waiting for this for a couple of years as Holly had back-to-back miscarriages within 8 months.  My grandson, who is most definitely the smartest and cutest grandson ever, is looking forward to the arrival of his baby sister.  In the mean time he is busy being the only child.

We had a wonderful time at Uncle Kevin's company outing at the local fair:

He really makes my day.  Seriously.  Makes my day.  Love him so much.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Dread

This Father's Day has been a sad one for our family.  I lost my father nearly five years ago and usually that's enough to make me feel melancholy but this year is so much worse because of my nephew Paul's sudden death nearly two weeks ago.  I feel really bad for my brother-in-law Tim -- it is his first Father's Day without his oldest son. 

It is also the first Father's Day for my great-nephew Austin to be missing his father.  Paul was a wonderful father, not only to Austin but to his three step-children, too.  I know everyone is missing Paul today.

Firsts are always the worst and today is no exception.  I haven't got the right words to say to Tim or Austin so I've taken the cowardly approach and avoided contacting either of them.  Wish I could have put my Big Girl Panties on but it didn't happen today.

Instead here's a favorite picture of mine of my Dad and my son Kevin.  Happier times for sure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kitchen Re-Org

Do you have a kitchen cabinet that resembles this (or even worse!)?

Well I was tired of things looking dangerously precarious and decided to take action.  While dilly-dallying at IKEA I found a couple of little shelves, perfect for tidying things up and making it just a bit safer in there.

I got rid of these silly plastic cup holders that I had stuck to the underneath part of the shelves:
I know!  What was I thinking???

I used the little shelves on the left-hand side, putting my shot glasses and delicate tea mugs from my grandmother on the top of the shelves for protection.  Much better and now my roommate's mugs, etc. are on the right side and mine are on the left, for the most part!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Returning Slowly

This past week has been beyond sad.  Visitation and the funeral service for my nephew Paul was gut-wrenching.  My brother-in-law Tim looked lost.  My sister Renee was much stronger than I would have been in her shoes.  Grown men sobbed - I'm just not used to seeing that at funerals.  Men are always so stoic but not this time.

I don't think we'll ever be certain why Paul made the choice he did rather than working through his problems with the help of all of us who loved him so much.  For now, I'm done asking 'why' -- I can just be sure that he did what he felt he had to do.  None of us could have changed his mind and that is tough to accept, but we must and we must be there for his family.

I am grateful that I quilt.  That may sound odd, but I was able to channel my sadness into something good and with the assistance of Hazel, my fabulous Juki sewing machine, I put together a quilt for Shawn and her children.  I'm calling it 'Better Than Flowers', as I chose to make them a quilt instead of sending flowers to the funeral home.  After all, flowers are already dead, will be thrown out, and forgotten.  

I planned with Shawn to deliver the quilt to them at her daughter Sophia's soccer game.  I really didn't want to go to their house.  Not there, not yet.  But Sophia had been having a terrible time and did not make it to her game.  Instead, I had to drive to their home and as I approached their door each of their four children greeted me with hugs, kisses, and 'how are you doing?'.  I was so impressed.  Sophia led me inside and Shawn said she knew I had something special for them since I insisted on delivering it in person.

Close up of the piecing:

The pattern is called Syncopated Rhythm from Karen Montgomery.  It's not a new pattern but it was new to me.  I used 12" squares to cut the pieces and trimmed the resulting squares to 10 1/2", making a 60" x 70" throw quilt.  I picked up the batik fabric and the pattern at Cristina's Quilt Shop in Rochester, which recently re-opened.  The border fabric is from Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry. I used Fusi-boo batting and Aurifil thread color #2310, a go-to color for me.  I bound it using the two-fabric method, with orange batik on the front and the green batik used for the backing on the back of the binding.  I'm loving this binding technique -- when you can't decide on what binding fabric to use this settles the dilemma!

I'm actually looking forward to returning to work tomorrow.  I'm hoping that I will have LOADS of work to do to keep me busy.  This week is also our last guild meeting of the year for GLHQ.  It will be a super busy meeting and I will have show 'n tell as I finished the binding for my Perfect Balance wall hanging.  

Maggie can be seen poking her head out behind the quilt -- isn't she cute?  I know, she NEEDS a haircut!

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Very Sad Day

Today has been the saddest day I have ever known.  I hope I never know this kind of sadness again.  Even the loss of my father did not bring this level of profound sorrow.

My sister's beloved son committed suicide this morning in his home with his wife and three of his four children there.  Suicide brings with it so many unanswered questions and a grief so deep as you keep asking over and over and over - why? -- but there's no one to answer you.

No signs.  No warnings.  A seemingly wonderful life.  A husband and wife who adored each other and succeeded in blending a family in a seamless way.  What could possibly be so bad as to take your life?

Even as a young child I was always asking why, why, why about this and that.  I will never be able to understand the tragedy that occurred today.

Please join me in praying for God's healing touch for his family, my sister and her family, and all those who knew and loved Paul.  Our family will never be the same.