the weather is here, wish you were fine

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”   Terry Pratchett said that.

I adore and find a deep connection to how Terry explained travel.  The line, “so that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors” gives me the chills.   I also love what Anita Desai says, “Wherever you go becomes a part of you.”

When we travel, one of the first and foremost things I make sure and remember are postcard stamps.  On the back of the sheet of stamps, I write five or six addresses of folks I want to intentionally share my trip with.  I always slip the stamps into an outside pocket of my carry on or suitcase.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have been waiting for a rental car or a plane .  More than enough time to jot down a few lines to a loved one.  I don’t have to go digging through bags to find the addresses.  I can easily find them each and every time.

We have been fortunate enough to travel and send postcards from Paris and Poland, The Netherlands and Austria.  We have been lucky enough to visit Quebec and explore Washington D.C.   We have also visited the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon and Gator land in Florida. DSCN4074 As a family, we have dipped our toes into glacier feed streams in Alaska and eaten fresh roasted peanuts at a flee market in Texas.  We have climbed over 400+ steps at Mount St. Michelle in Northern France.  A pilgrimage for many, there was a line to buy postcards.  People were bathed in Grace by being there and were bound and determined to share that experience with their loved ones.

When our boys were little, we traveled extensively.  Every single gift shop we went in, they chose a postcard for their scrap books.

We live in the Pacific Northwest.  Yes, it is home, however, sometimes, while visiting a local museum, we send out postcard to family and friends far away.  Just to share, part of our weekend.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. “ Augustine of Hippo

Here is the BEAUTIFUL part of my story.  Because we send out postcards.  We receive them.

DSCN5013This past week alone, we received some great post card souvenirs.  I have never traveled to Lake George.  However, I now can see the river boat in which my brother and sister-in-law relaxed upon.  I have not been to the Museum of Art at the University of Florida.  However, because my friend Miss Florida shared her visit, I too, got to experience one of the displays this season.

This coming week, we are headed to Mt. St. Helen’s (yes, the volcano),  Mt. Rainier (actually another volcano which hasn’t danced yet), our state capital, Olympia and the new major exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s in downtown Seattle.

You can be assured that I will indeed be buying postcards and share my adventures with friends and family.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

The very next time you head out to explore, near your home or far away, I would LOVE a post card. Cross my heart, I promise to share one with you.  Do you send and share postcards?  Do you think it is old fashion?  Would you rather just post a quick picture on face book?

Just for a moment, close your eyes, and remember that little thrill you get, when you go to your mail box and there is a post card from Ireland, or Sri Lanka?  That small cardboard picture has come a very long way, just for you.

This past weekend we traveled 4 hours north of our home, to the Bellingham Ferry Terminal.  20140719_154508The view was stunning.  Through the glorious dome window and between raindrops and clouds, I could see majestic water and mountains  and Mr. Right standing right smack in the middle of all that goodness.  (Geesh, that man still gives me goosebumps.  Jeepers, I love that man with my whole spirit and soul.)

Yes, I purchased a post card in the gift shop.

Our aunt used to travel quite a bit.  She had a wicked sense of humor.  She always signed her cards, the weather is here, wish you were fine, Love Aunt Pat & Uncle Bob.

Please, please, please buy and send a postcard.  You will double the joy to get from visiting a new or old place.  Summer isn’t over yet, get out there and explore and don’t forget to send a postcard or two.  Happy Trails, friend, Happy Trails.

jingle, jingle, jingle

DSCN4994You know every single time I sew a little dress or jumper, I stitch a jingle bell inside.  Those grands love to swirl and twirl and make that bell jingle.

While making three, (yes, by Christmas we will have THREE GRANDS) elephants…I had to figure out the jingle.  The most important secret step.  While filling the elephant bodies out with lavender and stuffing, I tossed in a jingle bell.

What happened?  not much. sad face.  The stuffing actually muffles the jingle.

Put on thinking cap.  (read that as search the internet for ideas)

Came up with a terrific solution.

20140716_172438Steal 3 practice plastic golf balls from someone.  Oh, thanks Papa Bruce.

Cut open, insert jingle bell.  Stuff into elephant.

It worked!!!

Three elephants, with a little sassy jingle.  Three books to go with.  Book written by Grandma, illustrated by Papa.

“everyone knows, elephants don’t eat peanuts”

Love how this Christmas in July thing is shaping up.  I adore the polka dots.  I swoon over the red tails.

Certainly puts a jingle in my step.  This is pure and simple, HAPPY.

What are you making for Christmas in July?  Won’t it be fun to open up that box in mid November and have a few things already to go?

new again

33 years ago, I needed a changing table.  The tables we found seemed rather shaky.  No, there was not a Babies R Us around the corner.

Then we discovered an unfinished furniture store.  I found the solution.  I found a dresser with a little edge that I could paint and put a padded (later learned water-resistant fabric) cushion on.   So for a few years, I changed babies on that “changing table”.

It started out white with baby decals.  Dang.  No picture.  You see kids, 33 years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone with a fancy schmancy camera built-in.  I actually didn’t give one thought about , HEY, I should take pictures of where I change this fussy, crying, upset, not happy, I mean passionate baby.

Then baby number two arrived on the scene.  Before he made his debut, I painted the changing table yellow.  You see kids, back 30 some years ago, most of us didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl.  So yellow paint it was.    Yellow paint with stenciled hot air balloons painted on each drawer.

Somewhere along the way, my “babies” are both now well over 6 feet tall.  I am pretty sure, I could not lift them up on top of said changing table.  Nor do I think they would fit up there.

20140705_100253That changing table morphed into a dresser.  Seven moves later and multiple coats of paint…………I will admit it was looking rather sad.  Somehow what I thought was a beautiful raspberry color, really wasn’t that beautiful after all.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?20140706_173107

The time had come to either say good-bye or get a face lift.  The dresser not me.  ha

So I give you the before and the after.  Oh, I love a good before and after.  I wish I could remember to take a “before” shot , sigh.  The before all sad, dinged up, dull, not gussied up with accessories. Old Lamp, just before she went to Goodwill.    The new & improved ( I know you can’t have both.  Did you hear that product marketers?  You can not have new AND improved.), after version.    New hardware, better lighting, new lamp, Golly Molly, looks to me like we can live together in harmony for at least another 30 years.

Every barn can use a little paint now and then.

Nest up, the guest room chair.  Fingers crossed I can remember to take a “before” picture.

DSCN4969

 

 

to love and to cherish, over and over and over

lavender bundlesMarriage is choosing someone again and again to love and to cherish with each new dawn. 

 Last night before licking the envelope shut,  I  wrote that quote on a first year Anniversary card.

We all know the amount of work, time, energy, money, stress, choices and planning that goes into a wedding day.  For Pete sakes, I meant to say we all understand the ENORMOUS amount of thought and planning and effort that goes into making one day of celebration happen.  The money spent on some of these parties is breath-taking.  The people involved and invited count in the hundreds per event.  Not only do the bride and groom take a honeymoon, I have heard of Mothers and Fathers of the happy couples taking a holiday after, to rest and recover.

What if? 

What if, all the people who actually attended the celebration were called upon to lift up the couple each year ever after?  Oh wait, in some ceremonies they are.  Will you support, lift up, pray for and encourage this couple for all the days of their lives?  We will!

What if that meant, each of us who had a part in the wedding, either by cutting cake or sewing a dress or sitting in the congregation or sending a simple card were expected, yes expected, to hold the newly wed couple up and honor their commitment?

What if every single couple celebrating their anniversary, got as many cards on their anniversary as they did on their wedding day?  Today, July 15th would have been my grandparents 77th wedding anniversary.  Will we place so much importance on our anniversary that others will remember the date, long after we are gone?

What would happen, if you looked up their bridal registry and purchased a small plate or dish, brought it home, cooked a really thoughtful meal, invited the young couple and served cookies on their “pattern”.  A surprising and thoughtful take home gift.

Now, I am not saying that if we all gave out that much good karma and energy that there would be fewer divorces and happier couples………..but on the other hand………..there is power in numbers and the positive energy certainly couldn’t hurt.

On the flip side of this conversation, I am having with myself….. What if the couple placed as much value on the 1st, 3rd, 22nd or 32nd anniversary as they did on the wedding day?

What if each couple, saved up vacation time and took a half a day off of work, early on their anniversary?  What if for that one day a year, each polished the apple a bit?  She has her nails done, he gets a fresh haircut.  What if they planned an overnight somewhere new and refreshing?   What if they made their own cards for each other?  What if they came up with sincere and heartfelt small gifts for one another?  What if for just that one day out of the year, they made the celebration of pure importance?  To the exclusion of all other invitations.  Sorry, we can’t come to your BBQ, it is our anniversary and we will be celebrating.  AND the others, would nod understanding the importance and value that the couple has placed on their union.

I am not saying that every couple should rent a tuxedo & shoes or put on an ivory dress and invite 200 people to their first anniversary dinner.  I was just toying with some thoughtful and planned out ideas.  Say for instance while talking and test tasting food with the caterer, how kind and thoughtful would it be to plan that first anniversary dinner?  Maybe if they enjoyed huge, sumptuous steak sandwiches in their hotel room after the big day, every year to follow they enjoyed steak sandwiches?   What if the couple wrote down the name and address of the wedding planner and sent her/him a thank you note a year later?  What if they had a copy of their wedding ceremony and re-read it each year?

I find it interesting, that young couples are willing to spend hours planning for one single day and then somehow in the “busy” and hustle and bustle of everyday LIFE, they fail to celebrate and place value on their commitment to one another, on “their” special day.  NO, not two weeks from now, when we have time.  THE DAY!  Remember they had several and I am sure some heated discussions about what day they should get married.  Apparently, they chose that date for a reason.

Now, I know, there are some that say, we don’t exchange gifts.  We don’t do cards.  We don’t make a big deal out of it.  WHY NOT? 

You expected me to buy a shower gift & give it, plan to take your special day off,  pull on undergarments that take an enormous amount of effort, have my nails painted, buy a pretty dress, find matching earrings to go with said pretty dress, slap on some make up, fluff up or calm down my hair, lay out cuff links & matching socks for my better half, buy a gift, buy or make a card, drive hours or fly, find parking, walk in very high heels,  sit like a lady in 95* weather or freeze under a beautiful but useless pink wrap, raise my glass to your “special” union, wait 2 hours to see you cut into that delicious smelling cake, drive home, fill up the car with gas, take off before mentioned undergarments…………………..and YOU DON”T WANT TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT?

WHY NOT?  Why was it so important for you to pay thousands, yes, thousands for a photographer, pay for an event planner, research & sample food, look for the perfect shoes to get married in, view and judge florist after florist and yet, 364 days later……………you DON”T DO GIFTS!

Big news flash, IT IS A BIG DEAL.  I used to say to young couples you are of value and your marriage is worth the effort.  Or is it?  Maybe I see it as a sacred and sincere celebration of two people.  Maybe you do not. Maybe it was all just an illusion.  Maybe you just wanted a party and you really didn’t place as much value on the union as I did.

Was it just a big party?  Was it just for show?  Was the food important for your guests or for you?  Were the wedding favors you gave away, thoughtful, kind and charming or did you see them in a bride magazine and thought they would go with your “theme”?  Yes, I was once a 12-year-old girl, who brought home grooms cake tied in tulle and tucked it under my pillow for sweet dreams and wishes for my Prince Charming.

With all that said, I for one love the celebration year after year.  It feeds our souls.  By celebrating with Mr. Right, we add layers and layers and layers to something that is already grace filled and good.  Really good.

I am truly happy to plan out anniversary gifts or cards to help others celebrate.  I get a giddy feeling in my stomach when I wish another couple, warmest congratulations on year, fill in the blank.

It is not the love that sustains the marriage; it is the marriage that sustains the love.  bonhoeffer

In a few days, a wonderful young couple will be celebrating their first anniversary.  We lift up our glass to you K & S.  May you celebrate with reckless abandon!  You have many, many people lifting you up and standing in your corner.  (They may not have read my blog yet today and don’t know they NEED to join with you in celebration.)  May you have a million more good days than bad in your fresh young marriage.

Here’s to you both and your celebration of love.  May you continue to cherish each other for all of time. May your anniversary celebration be worthy of your love.   We are in your corner.  We are waving our sticks with ribbons and jingle bells on them, celebrating you!  lavender 2

 

 

 

Sweet Home Alabama

DSCN1027In the beginning there was color.  I was drawn to the oranges and patterns printed on those inspiring swatches of fabric.  I found jelly fish, hedgehogs, paper clips, numbers and commas.  I over use the comma.  I fell in love when I spied commas printed on fabric.

Then I had to find a way to line them up and give them some type of order and somehow pleasing to the eye.  I found some aqua that would give my eye a rest from all that juicy orange.

The more I danced with the colors, the more I wanted to button it all together with buttons of course. DSCN1026

One afternoon, a quick, off the cuff comment “oh, I love those colors” directed my path.

That afternoon, the quilt name was born.  Sweet Home Alabama was to become a house-warming gift for part of our family.  I sewed and ironed and re-arranged over and over.

Ah, thanks  Lynyrd Skynyrd……………….Sweet Home Alabama, Where the skies are so blue, Sweet Home Alabama, Lord, I’m coming home to you.   Now that is a welcome to Alabama song for sure.

I found a new to me, machine quilter.  Connie who does amazing and wonderful work, was originally from Alabama.  She moved to Washington.  The quilt was born here, machine quilted in her studio,  then sent back to her home state. Our collaboration was meant to be.

I drew a beautiful Magnolia flower on the label.

No, I was not thrilled that part of our family moved to Alabama.  However, when you hear them talk about their new home, you know it was a gift.  I wanted to send them with love and pure goodness.  I wanted a splash of color to warm their hearts and souls and new home.

DSCN4789D,G,Z and A ……..may your sweet home be filled with laughter (belly laughs), great food, prosperity and may you bathe in the Grace of  pure family goodness.

No matter where you roam, you are loved and of value.  I hope the wall hanging reminds you of that every single day.

Love, Mom

ps.  in the beginning, there was color and it was good.

 

Scrub a dub, dub

brown sugar scrub 2Summer skin needs extra pampering.  Who among us doesn’t need/want/crave extra pampering?

Let’s get to it.   You can change your life, well at least your attitude and the texture of your skin in a couple of quick steps.

Find a glass jar and eat all the pickles.  Clean out the jar.   We are ready to make Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub. 

Into a bowl mix together 1 cup of brown sugar.  Then add 1/2 cup almond oil (or olive oil).  Add 3 perfect drops of Rosemary Essential oil (for preservative) and then add the magic touch.  Scrap out those aromatic little dark brown specks of pure goodness from the center of a vanilla bean.

Mix.  Smell that intoxicating aroma.  Oh my stars.

Put the mixture into the clean jar.

Tomorrow morning, scoop out a little and scrub those elbows.  Scrub your face.  Rinse.  Pat dry.  Smile.

Every once in a while, pampering does the soul and spirit a world of good.

We are in this together.  Here’s to our health and wellness!

elephants don’t wear pants

I try, oh I give it the old college try.  I try and forget the day and numbers.  Some days I am successful.  Other days and weeks, I am like an elephant, I can’t forget. It has been 1 year, 6 months and 17 days since I was told the dreaded words.  You are very sick.  Yuck, no one wants to hear those words.

Rally the kids and Mr. Right, let’s do this thing.  I have the best cheer leading family around.  I have a couple of friends who will talk me through medicine at lunch and listen when I send my daily email about the latest health nugget I have discovered.  I indeed have a couple of friends who will let me vent and chatter on and on about this or that.  Mr. Right keeps making juice even when I whine about it tasting more like medicine, less like cheerful juice.  My kids are experts at sending daily laughs and giggles.

Seems like lately, I have lost some mojo.  I have lost my motivation and get up and go.  I have to dust myself off and jump back on the bike and get back in the spirit of things.   It all seems to weigh heavy on my shoulders.  Finding I am waking up at night again, worrying about this or that.   Sometimes it is rather lonely telling the dog my troubles.  I find myself choosing who I whine to.  The dog is the best choice ever.  She never rolls her eyes, she never laughs at what I am having to do, she listens until I can’t whine anymore.

Writing makes me happy.  When I write, I can be anyone I wish.  I don’t have to have my feelings too close to the surface.  I don’t have to take medicine or drink juice.  I can use all different colored pens and doodle and write and make huge smiley faces.  I can underline the parts that I like best.  I can use a red pen to cross out the goofy parts.

However, when it all gets to be a bit too much, too heavy, too dramatic,   I write.  I write for me.  I write on my blog or I find myself in a world all my own, writing a children’s book.

“Flossy eats 300-400 pounds of food a day.  She doesn’t eat peanuts.  Everyone knows elephants don’t eat peanuts”.

Yes, I wrote a children’s book!   I am tickled to even say that.  Once before, I wrote a children’s book.    I learned quite a bit.  I poured my heart and soul into that book and then sent it (the only copy) to the illustrator in Minnesota.  Never to be heard from again.  Some where out in the world  is “A Very Busy Dragonfly”.  

20140708_205517 (1)I penned this story to go along with the polka dot elephants I am making for Christmas gifts.  Each a different color polka dot, each for a very special kiddo,  each with a red tail (the elephants, not the kiddos).

I really like elephants.  I love that with each stuffed toy comes with a bed time story.  I love that toy elephant has a jingle bell inside their belly.

“Flossy walked as fast as she could to a nearby herd of elephants.  Everyone knows elephants can’t run”. 

It is one of my Christmas in July projects.  I swoon at the idea of opening a sealed box, around November 15th and realizing that I have four elephants and books to go with them.  Oh look,  there are our Christmas return labels that I ordered back in July, too!

“Elephants are very intelligent, which is another word for smarty pants.  Everyone knows elephants don’t wear pants”.

When you fall into story land, you can forget the world.  You can forget your troubles.

Just like I want the kids to do, when they fall into my story about Flossy and her swishy red tail.

 Smiling they fell asleep and think about elephants……

The End.