Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weather and the night life

Hello friends! I have missed you these past few days. I was sick as a dog, couldn't even sit up. But I am feeling much better...the world at my finger tips! And a huge thunder storm looming, woo hoo. But look at the frizz factor! Frizz Emergency! Good thing I plan on staying in today. I do love the storms when I don't have to be out in them and I can watch the skies open up from the safety of my house or porch. When I think about people thousands of years ago, and what they must have thought about crazy weather, stars, the sun and moon. They had no scientific understanding for any of it. No wonder Gods and religious explanations were developed. Imagine if you just cheated on your wife and the next thing you know there is a huge lightening storm or tornado. That would make me think twice I tell ya! (check out this 1967 storm in Boston, amazing)
Ok, maybe thats not the best example but you get what I mean. Different points of view and the amount/or lack of knowledge of things have caused wars and misunderstandings that are hard to imagine. The only fights husband and I ever have always stem from not understanding each other. You add human emotion, values, and pride to that and it can be messy. We usually end up laughing about it though. The moral for today...empathy, knowledge and communication. The more you know about someones "story" and where they are coming from, the more you will understand their actions. It is something I have been thinking about. Memorial Day started it I think, trying to understand what those soldiers must go through. They have to deal with horrible situations, often based on misunderstandings, then come home and try to live a normal life. Man that can't be easy. I have so much respect for them. I just know that recently I have been trying to put myself in other peoples shoes, and my life has gotten much better. Ok ok, enough life lessons for today .

Though I am still behind with my Dear Jane, I am slowly plugging along. Here are my two latest. I learned a lot with both of these. I really need to get on the "slight" 1/4 seam allowance thing. I keep forgetting about it, and my blocks come out a little askew. I am happy with them though. Little by little right?

I-8 Pete's Paintbox

B-11 Melissa's Cross

Remember when I told you about my Aunt Janet's night blooming cactus. Unfortunately I missed it. There were 14 blooms just before I got there. I didn't realize that each bloom only blooms once. And only at night. Crazy eh. A lot of flowers close up at night and only open when the sun shines, but desert life is so strange. It is at night that the desert comes to life, which reminds me of myself actually, lol. Unfortunately it is dark at night, so you can see the desert exploring difficulties. But, my mom was able to get some great shots of the flowers. They are beautiful. Take a gander. Maybe next year I will have better luck and get my own photos!

It has been wonderful reading all of your comments and blogs. My bloglines since the giveaway has grown quickly.
I finally was able to sneak up on the husband playing some tunes and made him pick the next winner. Isn't he adorable. Again, the shot of the little paper came out pure white (I should have used a big black marker instead of pencil obviously). The winner is Collectincat! Congrats! This is a surprise and will take a little longer, but if you email me your address I promise that sometime in June you will receive a sweet parcel in the mail! Jacquie and Lil, yours will be out this week! The 3 sick days slowed me down a bit I'm afraid. Again, thank you all so much for the comments. I will get to all of you soon. Now I am off to work on my patriotic apron for the Flirty Apron Swap. I got this fantastic fabric for it. I will post pics as soon as I can. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Results of Chaos

Today was one of "those" days. You all know what I am talking about. The one day you have plans for yourself or you couldn't sleep and are needing rest in order to keep your head straight, is the one day the forces of the universe decide they have a different plan in mind. I think I actually get off easy. I can imagine those of you with little and big kidlets have them a bit more often. So please forgive my tardiness on revealing the big winners today as promised.

My little brother Preston(27) and littlest sister Tessa(17) came to visit this weekend, and we took them to the island. For those of you who asked, Cow island is in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. The weather was perfect, but there were a large number of gnats that were driving people inside. Either they didn't like my scent or I am just too out of it to notice, but they didn't bother me which is a first in my life.
Coming from the 100 degree heat that AZ was offering last week, Tessa and Preston were determined to go swimming no matter what. The rest of us have had enough of 45 degree temps so we just watched as they belly flopped, flipped and "suicided" off the dock THREE times! Even though it was freezing, they said that they will think back to that freezing moment when it hits the 110-120 degree range this summer in Phoenix. All good times must find an ending however, so we returned to Boston last night. This was only the first part of the kids journey though so today they got up early to head to NYC then D.C.. Nine years ago Preston had to have a heart transplant. He looks great though, doesn't he? He does fine as long as he takes care of himself and takes his medication that helps his body not reject the heart, and keeps his blood pressure low. Due to a sunburn and probably a little too much excitement, I only slept an hour last night. I did get to see them off at 7:30 am though which I wasn't expecting. Even after I had everyone safely on their way I still couldn't sleep, so I puttered around in a stupor for a few hours when I discovered the big bottle of Preston's medications sitting on the counter. My heart sunk. They were the one thing he cannot do without. I hurriedly called him but sure enough they were already half way to NYC. My exhausted body and mind started to panic. Where to send it? How to get to Post Office? How much? Good thing Preston is a lot cooler than me, and my mom is the Queen of Calm, or my tired, irrational mind might have split right open like a cantaloupe. --My mumsy

We figured out question 1 and 3 but how to get me to the P.O. was still a worry. The sun was shining for the moment but the heavily rising humidity and severe thunder storm warning still loomed on my mind. Just at the right moment, George came to the rescue! George is our 70 going on 45 year old building super. After a few very cold mornings shoveling snow and me bringing him coffee out in the elements, I became his favorite tenant. Thank Heavens. He agreed to take me to the P.O. immediately and I was able to overnight Preston's meds. You never know who you may become friends with, and sometimes the most unexpected become the most dear.

Before we went, George also agreed to pick the two winners of my giveaway. Once he realized I was taking pictures of him...he he he...he started to duck and moan, plus my batteries died so I didn't get shots of the paper slips. Luckily he read them aloud to me before the chaos ensued. Drum Roll.....

Lil from Addicted
Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio

Congratulations you two! Please email me with your address and I will get these off. I really hope you enjoy. And a BIG Thank You to every one who participated. In fact I am so pleased with the response that I would like to give you all one more chance to receive a special something (possibly favorite movie involved). Out of all those who comment on this post by tomorrow (Wednesday) night at midnight, I will pick at least 1 more person. This is for those of you that come back and didn't pop in just for the giveaway never to come back. I am not sure exactly what this one will consist of, it will depend on the response, but I promise to make it worth you while! Thank you all again, and thanks for sticking with me through my stressful morning. Luckily I had already been home 20 min. before the skies opened up, like a monsoon or a storm in the topics. Don't forget to leave a comment by Midnight tomorrow! Maybe now I can get some sleep. Have a great week everyone!
--The bench George made for me out of a futon he found in the trash.

--The little birds trying to hide from the torrential down pour.

--The weird fake owl George put in the tree to scare away the squirrels so they don't eat the bird food.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Where I will be...

This is where my husband spent his summers growing up. Where he and his family find peace and solitude amongst their busy lives. The cabin built by his parents,little by little through the years by their own hands. The view that is only part of the experience, mixed with the sounds of birds and crickets. Of the waves gently lapping the rocky shore while the breeze brings a brisk and welcome chill. Where the busy hum of technology and commitments are left on the mainland, scarcely remembered. Where the wave of a neighbor is welcomed with delight, because you know they feel the same about the place as you. Where every sunset makes you swear you have never seen anything more beautiful, until the next one. This is the place that makes every unbearable moment in life bearable, because you know you can return. This is Cow Island. See you all on Tuesday.

Don't forget to leave a comment on the giveaway post by Monday night. Make sure you check back Tuesday for winners and a chance for a little something special. Thanks so much for all your comments and kindness. Have a great Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This and That

Hello Everyone. Wow, thank you so much for the wonderful response to my giveaway. You still have a few more days. I am loving your movie picks. I seem to be short on movie ideas lately, or more likely not in the mood so I thought some fresh ideas would help spark my interest, and it has. I love looking at all the new sites. I will get to every one and try to comment, but if I miss commenting know that I have probably scoured for hours. In fact I have been so engrossed in all the new blogs that I have forgot to post! I am also four days into that horrible horrible "time of the month". I have lots of thoughts and feelings on that part of a womens life, but I will try to hold it back for your sake. I will just say that in any other human or animal, if they spent a few days losing blood they would be in the hospital being looked after and sent flowers. That's all I'm sayin! And all I feel like wearing is my pajamas, if only I had a stunning silk night gown like these ladies, I would be wearing that
I was going to do my post on my Great Grandma Olsen today but there are a few more pictures I need my mumsy to get for me. So I will just do a little "what I have been up to" post instead.

1. Dear Baby Jane

I have 3 more blocks almost done but I did manage to finally finish B-10, and what a dagger that was! Jane must have had a serious amount of time to kill. That center with like 13 pieces is only about an inch and a half. Wow. Any piecing I have done since has seemed like a breeze.

2. Coasters

Mumsy gave me all her scraps while I was home, many cut into 5" squares, perfect for coasters. I have been playing around so I will be ready to make some for the giveaway, and myself!

3. Leader/Ender squares

I got this idea from Bonnie at Quiltville, that women is one big quilt encyclopedia of ideas! So, when doing any kind of piecing(especially chain piecing) where you have tons of string hanging off every 20 stitches, you get 2 fabric squares and put them in between, so there is always something in the machine. I just cut up all my scraps into squares and matched them randomly, then sew them at 1/4 seam allowance. At first I didn't have them a certain size, but I got some 2 1/2" squares in an e-bay sale which work perfect, so now I am cutting them that size, or close. You should see all the quilts she has made using this method. Once I get enough I will start making 4 patches and figure out a design. I love not wasting thread and making something while actually doing something else!

4. Remembering
That mumsy of mine is full of surprises! She sent me a box today containing old curtains and fabric she had used to hang around windows etc. Tucked inside were a few pieces of fabric that had belonged to me.
This was one of the first pillows I ever made, in 7th grade home-ec I think. I made dozens of pillows. I never got past that level of sewing, but boy did I take advantage of my pillow skills. Apparently I no longer needed this as a pillow because I cut out the corner for some reason, lol. My pillow fondness followed me to high school where I made tons of these little like 6"-8" pillows, with a little potpourri added and gave them to all my friends. I actually took mine around with me to classes and slept on them. I seriously slept through most of high school, and no one ever said a word to me. Maybe because I was asleep! Out of this fabric I made a little pillow for my friend who died. I will never forget it. This will be good to use on mini quilts and for fussy cutting.

One quick change to the giveaway! My brother and sister are coming to visit this weekend and we are taking them up to the lake until Monday night. Soooo, the sign up will be extended to Monday night at midnight. I will pick winners on Tuesday. Make sure you check back then because out of those who leave me a comment on Tuesdays post, another prize or two will be chosen! Thanks again for visiting everyone! Have a great night.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Giveaway Gathering

Look at all the pretty ladies gathered around, awaiting news on my Giveaway! It's Time!

Hopefully you all know by now that when I say I will do something in the morning I mean any time before dark right? Before we get to it, I need to tell you about one last adventure which 2 lucky winners will receive purchases from. About a month ago I was browsing the internet, as I do, and was checking out different kinds of sock yarn because all the socks you ladies are making make me almost want to knit. I found this neat site that had tons of cotton and bamboo, intriguing. When I got to the bottom of the page it had a little icon where it posted the location of the shop and the weather etc. At first I thought I was going crazy. It said "Safford, AZ", and I was wondering how this site knew to tell me the weather of the place I was about to visit, magic. But no, it was in Safford which was a shock to me because I had never heard of it. The thing about Safford is, it is even more isolated than the mission we were at. When you leave Phoenix you drive for 3 hours on the same road, no turns until you get their and have to make a few turns to my house. You do pass through 2 towns half way but still no turns. So to think this place was located in Safford and I had never heard of it was crazy. When I got home, I e-mailed the owner and asked if we could come by. It makes more sense now, because she mostly does mail-order, but still, having a place like this in close proximity to my mom is great. She said we could come by and she would show us around. Sweet! The shop, Cotton Clouds, is out a few miles with a beautiful view of the mountain, which is partly why they live there apparently. Irene welcomed us in to the trailer where there were rows of head to toe yarn. She explained every one to us. It really was something, since I am so new to yarn and all. Then she let us free, scary. We managed to leave without too much damage but there were some must haves. These two are my favorite. They are both so soft, but each in a different way. Can you guess what they are made of? I couldn't have so I will show you. Milk and Corn! Isn't that nuts. The milk one is made from the milk proteins somehow, that must stick to the bit of cotton. I am keeping the milk one and the corn one is going to another special knitter. (click to enlarge)

Anyway, I had to have yarn for the giveaway, that was my whole reason for going. So, that is where the yarn in the package comes from. If you don't knit, I am sure you know someone who does. Thanks for hanging with me for the long winded explanation, I was just so excited.

Two winners will receive...

The colors of yarn are different for each one, as is the fragrances. The fabric is 2 fat quarters of desert motif batiks. There will also be a homemade ditty and possibly some vintage scraps from Great Grandma Olsen's collection. Sound fair?

In order to enter please leave a comment on this post along with a few of your favorite colors and/or color combos and your favorite movie. I will do my best to customize the homemade ditty to those colors, but no guarantees ok.

Tell all your bloggy friends. If I do happen to notice (or you tell me and link to it) that you have posted about it on your blog I will enter you twice!
Contest ends this Sunday night at midnight, Eastern time. I will announce winners Monday morning. Have a great week everyone. EDIT***Ending time has changed to Monday Night and winner Picked Tuesday

*For this giveaway, you do have to have a blog to enter, since that is where I have recieved my love. If you don't have one maybe now is the time!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Middle of Nowhere

Sometimes when I get up I am chilly, especially my legs, so I turn on the little space heater I have. Well, apparently the husband has an issue with me using the heater when the windows are open and it is almost 70 degrees out because I got one of those looks that says "it is beautiful outside you crazy lady, and you are using up un needed energy". I always feel guilty when he gives me those looks but also a bit defiant. I want to say "come live in my faulty body for a day, then give me a look! Ha. He was right about it being beautiful outside though, the sun was even shining. But before I could get myself together enough to go outside and take pictures of my block, the sun was gone! So fickle that sun. My legs are still chilly but I won't turn that heater on! (unless he runs out for something or I can hear him snoring) he he
You know where the sun isn't fickle? Thats right, Arizona. I just have a few more things to show you and I'll shut up about it. Plus, it is almost "lake" time. I am sure by the end of the summer and all my postings of Lake pictures and stories you will be begging for more desert photos. Starting next weekend in fact. Woo Hoo! Ok, back to business.
A month or so ago I read on Kelli's blog about a day trip she took to Mexico where she stopped at this old Spanish mission just South of Tuscon. It was first visited in 1693 then deemed a special site to build a mission in 1700 by a Jesuit friar, Father Eusebio Fransisco Kino. Apparently there is a trail of missions all through Central America and up to California that Father Kino founded. At the time the only people living in the area was an Indian tribe, the same tribe the mission still serves today. I couldn't believe that in all my time living in AZ and traveling to Tuscon and Nogales that I had never heard of such a place. So on my dad's last day off we decided to take our own little day trip to San Xavier del Bac.

The web site is really great. It gives a full history of the mission and discoveries/renovations going on around it. But best of all, it has a tool where you enter your address and it gives you directions. I love functional! Exactly as promised, after a 2 1/2 hour drive, there arose out of the desert floor this amazing set of buildings. I mean really out of nowhere. They are doing renovations on the exterior of the main chapel, but it was still breathtaking. What amazes me is that even right now it is isolated. I mean Tuscon isn't far but it is really in the middle of nowhere. So in 1700, it really in the middle of nowhere, and these priests show up and decide it would be a great place for a chapel that can stand up to any beautiful Catholic chapel anywhere in the world. Amazing! So before I bore you any longer, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.I am just glad we went and saw this amazing piece of history. They are open to the public every day and it is all free, unless you want to buy and burn a candle. But they give away the burnt candle holders with a picture of the mission on it for free. Well you do get a scornful look from the nun if you don't buy a candle but take the freebies, but I think I am over it. It was a piercing stare though!

I have lots of fun planned for this week blog wise. I will have a tutorial of one of my favorite AZ foods, that I had to learn how to make for myself for survival reasons, some favorite blog highlights, and lots of sewing and crafts. Best of all though is my GIVEAWAY. I will post the official giveaway post in the morning, with pictures, so be ready! Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone. Love Stacy

Friday, May 16, 2008


Remember my birthday a few weeks ago? How Doug wasn't feeling well so I was left to my own devices? Well, as a little pressie to myself, I started poking around eBay. I decided I needed to get an old crewel kit. Crewel uses a lot of stitches I would like to learn, better for embellishing and what not. As I was bidding on some crewel, I remembered a post on this awesome new site, True Up. It is about all things fabric. She gave a few tips for finding good fabric deals on eBay, using different search words etc. Sooo I tried a few out and next thing you know I'm an eBay bidding fool. Thank goodness it was my birthday or I may have gotten some scornful looks. I was mostly looking for yardage, since I didn't really have any. I think I made out well. I got 4 pieces of fabric 3 yards or more, a package of scraps (with some yard pieces) and a cute little crewel owl. Two of the larger pieces are vintage, nice bold designs and my big score...4+ yards of red with white polkadots from Andover for 8$ (plus shipping). All the packages came while I was gone and I think Doug about died but hey I got 14 + yards of fabric plus some extras for 40$. I better do something with them though if I want more : ). Just look at all that beautiful fabric though. And of course Bertha wants in on the action. When I first started reading crafty blogs, I couldn't help but notice how many cats there were. I thought, man these ladies sure love their cats. Then I started trying to take pictures of things around the house and it all made sense. She was right there trying to sabotage every shot, so eventually you just go with it.

I have been trying so hard to keep up with my dear Jane that I needed a little break, so I did a little sewing for myself, well for the giveaway anyway. Every giveaway needs a little something homemade right? So as soon as they are done, we can get it started. I am thinking Monday so keep your eyes peeled. I also decided to join the summer Flirty Apron Swap. It looked like so much fun...of course now I have to make a patriotic apron lol, but I have some good ideas floating around up there so I think I will be ok. Check out the link to see the gallery from the last swap.

The first Friday I was home was a day off for my dad. He and my mom bought some inflatable kayaks a few years ago, and he really wanted me to go down the river with him. He has tried every time I've been home the last few years to no avail. But, all I would have to do is sit there and lean when he said lean. Years ago I would have jumped at the chance but these days, that is usually something I avoid. I could tell it was important to him though so I got up, got my suit and sun screen on and off we went.
Now the Gila river is seasonal. Late summer til fall, it basically doesn't exist and is just a dry river bed. But in early spring the snow on the mountains melts and creates a full and forceful river. It had gone down quite a bit when we got there but was still high enough to maneuver. Unfortunately we didn't dare take our camera, but it was stunning. Everything was so peaceful. My dad showed me how to "read" the river so you know where to go to avoid rocks. And I leaned the right way every time, so we didn't tip over.
An amazing thing, was that all the ocotillo (a cactus plant that looks like lots of sticks sticking up out of the ground) were in full bloom. I had never seen this. The tips get this bright orange blooms on the top. It looked like the whole desert had a blanket of orange over it. I was so glad I put myself out there to try something more difficult, and to spend time "reading the river" with my dad. What are some things you all have tried that you were reluctant to do, but ended up loving? Maybe I can give them a shot as well. Have a great night everyone!