Wednesday, April 29, 2015

m is for matthew!

My daughter Jenny text me and said she was coming over to work on her wedding stuff. I told her "better bring that baby!". And she did. :) My older grandson was sickly (poor guy) didn't really feel up to it - but he came anyways. Even gave me a hug (and he's not a hugger).

I bought this cute little tot sized baseball hat and I wanted to see if my machine (a Brother PR600II) would allow me to embroider it. It did. It was a tight fit - but it did. The hat is a little big for him - but it's so darn cute!

I was trying to do a 3D effect with puffy foam. I couldn't find the puffy foam at Joann's so I bought normal craft foam. It worked fine - it's a little raised, but not much. Researching it more I found that the digitized image had to be specifically formulated for 3D and my software is not capable. (super sad face) Also, the puffy foam should be at least 2 mm, better at 3 mm and the craft foam is about 1 mm.

It still looks super cute though. I took him outside to get a few more photos. He loved being on his blanket. Got a little upset when he ended up a tad off the blanket into the grass.

I gave him the tag from his hat to keep him occupied for a few mins so I could take his picture. Just wasn't finding the best angle for light to eliminate shadows and dark spots.

But then .... he discovered this leaf. Bless his tiny lovable heart. Just wanna smooch his whole face!

My magnolia bushes are in full bloom. Gosh, I love those bushes. Yay  Spring!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

ann arbor derby dimes, derby dash

My daughter Jackie is currently "fresh meat" for a new hobby - roller derby. She asked me to sign up for their derby dash - a 5K around Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, MI. It was a breezy, cloudy day on April 25th.

We were one of the few walkers, but I was too out of shape to run. Holly was relatively easy to talk into signing up, but Julia ...... really loves to sleep in on Saturday. With the threat of crossing Jackie - she finally consented.

It was well organized and they even had this guy running around. I tried to get the girls to take a picture with it - but ... well .... 

It was cold enough for this dog to be wrapped up inside the girls jacket. :)

We started lining up for the race that was to begin at 11:30. And so it began ...

 There were some rowing teams out on the lake that day. It actually was pretty busy with lots of activity.

Still protesting and grumbling, we finally got under way. Julia decided on a strategy to sprint from park bench to park bench so she could sit and wait for Holly and I to catch up.

After one mile she was ready to quit, but she didn't. And we made our way around the lake.

Every quarter mile they had lots of derby girls and family cheering us on. It made me smile.

At two miles Julia told me the race was hurting her soul. When the finish line was in sight, we sprinted to finish the race. Julia was determined to come in first and she did.

Holly was a trooper the whole time and did really well. The last 5K we did, I had to pull her most of the way. We walked this one and she did great! They gave us medals for completing the race.

We totally did it! William and Jackie ran the race, the they were there probably 10 mins before we finished. But hey ... we finished. I think our time was about 50 mins.

We went out to lunch afterwards and Julia told us this was her first award ever. She wore this medallion all day and was very pleased with herself.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

heart quilt

My sister Donna will soon be a grandmother, so I got busy on this cute little quilt I found through Pinterest. I started out with a 45 x 60 inch piece of white cotton and starting appliqueing hearts on it.

I tried to keep the colors together (pinks, greens, blues) and found I have plenty to choice from in my scrap collection.

I embroidered her name in the middle.

Then did a cute pink 1 1/2 inch border. The multicolor fabric I though was super cute! I made that 5 inches wide and added it.

I quilted it this swirly pattern. And as always, I marked the back with my name and date created. Since the front was a white, I did the back in a light gray trying to keep it on the contemporary side.

I got the idea from here. I modified her design - but looking back, I do like her's better. Next time, I'll do the squares and put them together instead of using one big sheet.

It looks ok - but the hearts needed to be bigger.

I bound it with a bright yellow fabric and hand stitched it down.

I sent it off to Kentucky with a few other goodies. My sister and niece were delighted to receive it in time for the shower.

They actually hung it on the wall behind the new mom as decoration during the shower.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

my ohio family

On our way back from our southern excursion, we stopped in Dayton to pick mom up and bring her to Michigan for a few days. When I got there, I had a couple nice surprise visits from my two siblings and their family.

As soon as we arrived, this little cutie came running and jumped right into my arms and yelled, "Hi Aunt T!" When I asked her if I could take her picture - she sat down in the chair for me. She is just a little ball of energy darting here and there.

My baby brother Sam doesn't look so baby with his mass of gray hair in his massive beard. But .... I got him to pose for me, so I'm happy. I was 18 when he was born.

He's a good dad. An Eagle scout, he also did a tour of duty in Iraq and is now a part-time park ranger hoping to get full time.

You can tell they love each other.

Then my baby sister, Tiffany showed up.  These two are the youngest of my mother's children. They share the same father. Of course, while they were together, he punched her in the nose and drew blood. Yep ...

Tiffany married this handsome guy, Nick. Nick was starting a new job after the weekend. They both work real hard for their family. Nick did two tours of duty in Iraq .... or maybe 1 in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan. Is that bad that I don't know? It's bad, isn't it? Tiffy sure is pretty....

And these are the young'ems. That Natalie, Nathaniel, and Noah (from left to right). All getting so big. Noah brought a whole pocket full of hot wheel cars. Goodness time flies.

Here's another picture. I need to do a better job of watching for shadows in my pictures.

I grabbed the tripod out of my vehicle and set up the timer so we could all get into the picture. Everyone's smiling pretty except for mother ..... who's flapping her lips.

This one turned out pretty good after Tiffany yelled at mom. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

southern journey of 2015

I couldn't let Julia (our Swedish foreign exchange student) leave without having her see the southern half of the US, so I plotted a course through 3 states, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Day 1 - We drove to Cincinnati, OH which is roughly 4 hours from here and stayed overnight at a brand new Homewood Suites, which was slightly hidden. The room and service was awesome and the breakfast was probably the best we had all trip. We walked down to Fountain Square and walked the bridge towards Kentucky.

The Great American Ball Park where the Cincinnati Reds play.

Day 2 - we set off to Nashville. Once we arrived and settled into our hotel at the Gaylord Inn, which was an adequate hotel. I only booked us there because everything else was sold out during spring break. We walked the street of Broadway and had dinner at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. There was a nice waiter who told us some of the sites to see around town.

Julia and Holly sitting outside the Johnny Cash Museum. We did not go through the museum as it was about to close for the night.

Walking down Broadway.

Not sure who this woman is but she was a cut out located in the Grand Ole Opry gift shop downtown Nashville.

This kid standing at a corner outside playing his guitar and singing. He was really good. He played the whole time we were there - several hours.

Day 3 - we went to Radnor Lake State Park and walked the trail around the lake. These are some of the sites.

A giant turkey just gobbling away.

Beavers chewing away on this tree.

I took this one with my Tiffen Filter. It didn't turn out very well but it's still a learning process for me.

There were turtles sunning themselves on fallen trees or rocks in the lake.

Holly, Me, and Julia standing on a bridge at the park.

Burke and Holly.

Thought this old tree stump was cool.

Later that night we had tickets to the Grand Ole Opry classic show hosted by Larry Gatlin at Ryman Auditorium. The show was great - not only was their great singing, but there was comedy and lots of audience participation. The place itself was great with church pews for seating. The Opry shows are still being broadcasting on the radio.

Both Julia and Holly was feeling ill that night, so only Burke and I went to see the show. I think they were dehydrated from our hike in the morning as they felt better the next day.

Day 4 - we set out for Lexington, Kentucky and stopped by Mammoth Caves on the way. It was spectacular and definitely worth the stop. 

All the tours were sold out - so we purchased a self discovery tour for $5. Holly on the path to the caves.

Holly, Burke, and Julia right outside the caves.

Inside the caves. I have to say, I was immediately stricken with a feeling of claustrophobia, but it soon passed as we entered the center part of the caves. The ceiling depth was enormous in the center were tourists and rangers were.

Burke's mom and dad stayed at Mammoth Caves for their honeymoon some 50+ years ago - timeless. After the revolutionary war, the caves were minded for gunpowder and also used it as an experiment for curing tuberculosis. The experiment obviously was not successful.

We climbed a mountain outside the caves.

The sun was beautiful that day going up the side of the mountain.

Day 5 - We got up early to be a part of the first tour at Mary Todd Lincolns house in downtown Lexington. The tour and house was amazing and if you get a chance - you should see it. We saw things that belonged to the first lady and even seen the room where her and the President stayed on their visits to see the family.

We passed by Keeneland Horse Track on our way into Lexington and after the Mary Todd Lincoln house tour, so we decided to hit the races. We got there right when the gates opened and it was backed up - but not bad. We followed the masses in and got a parking spot. We noticed lots of tailgating going up.

We also didn't get the memo about the dress. Most girls were in their summer dresses and hats and the men wore their suits. We bet on three races - we won the first one, lost it all the second, and won some of it back the third. Time to quit. 

On our way out, I believe we saw the whole State of Kentucky coming into the races. The mass people trying to get it was unbelievable - it impacted our ability to leave. Everyone was coming in as we were leaving. It was a wall of people that had been tailgating - so the atmosphere was very jubilant. Definitely something to experience.

We left after the third race to get ready for a dinner hosted by a long time friend - Vicki. She made the most delicious dinner of chicken and dumplings, sweet potatoes, and a sweet cake for desert. Then we set out to see members of the family I haven't seen in nearly 35 years. We reconnected with Vicki, Tina and Loma and met their families. My grandfather had married their mother and we hadn't seen each other since the passing of my grandfather. It was very memorable and I hope to see them again.

Day 6 - Headed back to Michigan. Exhausted from the trip, but glad to make the new memories.