February Photos

Monday, June 26, 2017

Journal: Baby Visits, Quilting, and Embroidering

On the Yahoo quilting group I co-own, I change the header each week, so it regularly features a different member’s quilt.  A week ago, I posted a picture of the vintage quilt that was my mother’s.  The quilt top was given to her as a wedding gift in March of 1936.  She had it hand-quilted many years later (maybe in the mid-to-late 50s or early 60s) by a Quilting Bee in western Kansas.
She gave it to me a few months before she passed away in December of 2003.  Amazingly, it’s the same pattern – 3D Dahlia – as the very first quilt I made using actual templates, back in the early 80s.  The curved petals are gathered onto the center circles.
I learned that the practice of giving the quilt top only (as opposed to a completed, sandwiched, quilted, and bound quilt) was common.  Sometimes, it may have been because the quilters had no batting or backing, being poor people... and the rest would just have to wait.  More often, it was because it would be easier for newlyweds to pack a top only, as opposed to an entire batting-filled quilt, and carry it to their new place of abode, especially if they were moving cross-country.  And then there would be the added benefit of making new friends when one arrived at one’s destination, rounding up a quilting bee and finishing the quilt.  I don’t know the reason my mother’s quilt was given as a top only.  I don’t think she did, as she laughed about it when I asked, and said, “Well, since I didn’t have it quilted for so many years, it stayed nice and new all that time!” 
Upon hearing of the birth of our little granddaughter, Baby Malinda, last Monday evening (who, by the way, is Jeremy’s father Tim’s first granddaughter, after nine grandsons), a couple of friends asked if I had a stock of baby quilts already made, or if I would have to hurry and make one.
I haven’t been in the habit of making baby quilts for the grandchildren, since when they started coming along some sixteen years ago, I was busy making clothes for my own younger children – and every now and then for the grandchildren, too.  Besides, my daughters and daughters-in-law make baby blankets – both fabric and crocheted or knitted – as do grandparents on the other side of the family, and various aunts and great-aunts.  Lydia made one of her little boys a crocheted blanket of soft blue yarn with big 3D crocheted cabbage roses in each crocheted square, and she attached it to a backing of soft blue minky.  Even with those cabbage roses, that blanket definitely looked like a baby boy’s blanket.
Every now and then, one of the children winds up with a quilt, just because.  For instance, the purple quilt I recently made for granddaughter Emma came about because it was a kit my sister-in-law had given me, and it was high time I got in gear and put it together, so she wouldn’t keep wondering if I liked it. 
Grandson Ethan wound up with that gray and black minky/fleece blanket just because I found those remnants somewhere for a smashing bargain and knew I could put it together, along with the covered neckroll pillow, in a couple of hours or so.
But what I really want to spend my time on are quilts and things the kids (and grandkids) won’t get from just any ol’ place.  The bag I made Joanna for Christmas is one example; the Buoyant Blossoms quilt I gave my mother-in-law is another.  Oh, and the coffeepot cozy for my sister. 
Sooo... baby quilts aren’t on my list of things to do, and if I make one, it’s almost by accident.  But... I’m remembering... I have some soft, delicate fabrics (and a grand plenty of pretty lace) that sure would work up into a pretty baby girl’s dress.  (Somebody stop me!  Must make quilts!  Must make quilts!)
I have a friend whose email address is ‘oneoldgoat@...com’.  😃  I remarked that it always makes me laugh... and reminds me of the Old Goat spray I got from Vermont Country Store.
She asked, “Does that pain reliever spray work?”
Yes, it’s good stuff.  I like it so well, I ordered some Old Goat spray for each of my sons, my brother, brother-in-law, and father-in-law – and then, for the fun of it, I ordered Spring Chicken oil gel muscle rub for each of my daughters, daughters-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law.   I got both products from Vermont Country Store.
The Spring Chicken stuff is nice, too, though not strong enough for me unless I mix it with Capzasin.  It has a nice fragrance to it.  Both are natural, topical pain-relieving analgesics.
I’ve tried most of the rubs and patches one can find at the store.  Absorbine, Jr., is good.  Pain-A-Trate from Melaleuca is pretty good... quite good, actually, when I mix it with Capzasin.  My sister gave me a bottle of Soothanol drops; those are the best I’ve found – but they’re much too strong for everyone else around these parts.  Hot stuff!!!
Oh.. haha ----- there’s actually a muscle rub by that name:  Hot Stuff
I once put some Icy Hot and Capzasin on my back, then climbed into bed with a book.  Larry was asleep, lying on his side with his back toward me, so I scooted up against him and used him for a backrest prop.
I was deeply engrossed in my book by the time my muscle rub traversed from my back to his.
He squirmed.  He wiggled.  He lifted his head, opened his eyes – and then shot straight up saying, “Hot, hot, hot!”
Like I said, I use hotter muscle rub than most do.  😁
Tuesday, I started the laundry washing... did a little cleaning in bathroom and kitchen... and then headed for town to pay a bill and do some baby shopping.  Uh, that is, shopping for baby things.
I stopped on the way and helped my brother with his computer.  His son who lives in Texas had sent him pictures of his little granddaughter – my brother’s great-granddaughter – and he doesn’t know how to use his computer well enough to pull them up on his own.  Since I was going to do that, I sent a bunch of my grandbabies’ pictures to him too, so we could look at them also. 
He was delighted with all of his pictures, and already dialing his son on the phone as I was heading out the door on my way to Wal-Mart.
I got a bit carried away in the baby girl department, what with all the cute sleepers and dresses and onesies and socks.  So I decided upon arriving home and looking through everything that I’d better divide them up and save half of the lot for the next baby granddaughter.  I sorted:  this for Lydia’s baby, that for Victoria’s baby; this for Lydia’s baby, that for Victoria’s baby.  I think I got things pretty evenly divvied up. 
After years of nothing but grandsons with just two exceptions (Joanna and Emma), funny that we’re going to have three little granddaughters who will be almost the same age.  Won’t they have fun together!  Babies are such precious little miracles from heaven.
I rummaged up a baby card, then worked on my customer’s quilt until Larry came home from work and got ready to go to David City to see Lydia and the new baby.
The ladies on an online quilting group were having a discussion about sassafras tea.  Someone said it was illegal now.  I didn’t know that.  Other ladies began asking questions, so I did a bit of research.  Here are the first articles I found:
And here’s another article that explains things pretty well:
It’s the oil that’s toxic.  Sassafras oil and safrole have been banned for use as flavors and food additives by the FDA because of their carcinogenic potential.
The oils available on Amazon are labeled ‘not for internal use’, and are listed for use in the following:  Hair Shampoo & Conditioners Base, Hand Soap Base, Body Lotion Base, Room Spray Base, Moisturizing Body Gel Base, Reed Diffuser Base, Melt & Pour or Cold Press Soap-Making.
More from Amazon:
There’s sassafras root bark extract (not the essential oil, but made with grain alcohol)... not many uses listed, though the seller says they use it on insect bites.  There’s a debate in the comments section about whether or not it’s legal, and there’s an explanation of how they have to ship it because of legal issues... and they can’t ship internationally.
There are sassafras candy drops... also not available for international shipping.  There are candles and cleaners and soap... and sure enough, Pappy's Sassafras Instant Tea Concentrate.
And there is Sassafras bark loose herb – with the following disclaimer:
For many centuries, people from all over the globe have found fresh herbs to be a gentle yet effective health-enhancing blessing. These are our own hand packed loose herbs, packaged in old world apothecary style, air tight brown paper canisters to keep light and moisture out, and freshness in. 
Sassafras bark is not to be used while pregnant. When used as a tea it is should only be administered by someone familiar with the appropriate use of this substance and only for brief periods of time. The FDA strictly prohibits the use of Sassafras bark and oil in food products. Its internal use is not recommended.

So it seems...  It’s good for you, and it’s not recommended!  Ha!
“Okay,” I told my quilting friends after issuing the above report, “I’m done researching the matter.  I’m done, I tell you, done!  I will now have a cup of steaming hazelnut coffee made from freshly ground beans, and tonight I’ll drink some Legends of China Organic White Tea, and I’ll hurry up and do it before someone decides there’s something about either of those that is detrimental to my well-being, because I just took a sip of this hazelnut coffee, and I can tell you for an honest-to-goodness fact, it’s really, really good for my well-being!”
I keep wondering why I have this desire to read all the Sugar Creek Gang books again --- and then I remember, Oh, yes.  Kindly Old Man Paddler in his cabin way up in the hills, and the sassafras tea he always offered the boys when they went to visit him.  I loved those stories.
I asked my mother-in-law Norma if she would like to go with us to see the new baby.  She would, so as soon as Larry was ready, we picked her up.  She’d just made a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls, and took some to Lydia. 
We stopped at Dollar General to get a gift bag, then off we went to David City.
Jeremy told us that before deciding on the baby’s name, he called his grandmother – his late mother’s mother – and asked her if it would be okay with her and his grandpa if he and Lydia named their baby, should it be a girl, ‘Malinda’ – their late daughter’s name.  Yes, she told him, it was okay.  I think they were quite thrilled over it.  Jeremy is a thoughtful and kindhearted young man.  We are blessed to have him as a son-in-law, a husband to our daughter, and a father to our grandchildren.

We didn’t stay long, as the baby was a bit stressed with the traumas of life, bright lights, and multitudes of strangers, most of whom wanted to hold her.
We ate a late supper at the Subway in David City and then headed back to Columbus.  Norma sent us home with some of her big, soft, yummy cinnamon rolls.  She must’ve noticed us drooling over the ones she took to Lydia, all the way to David City.
When we got home, I did a little more work on my customer’s quilt before calling it a night.
Wednesday, I worked long and hard on that quilt, and got it done, taking a welcome break for church that evening.  Jeremy, Lydia, and all the children made it to church that night. 
When we got home, Larry went for a bike ride.  North of Monroe on the bridge over Lost Creek, he noticed that the guard rail had been demolished, and figured there must’ve been an accident.  I learned the next day from an article in the Telegram that a 36-year-old man from a nearby town had indeed crashed his car into the railing Wednesday afternoon, rolled the vehicle, and been killed.
Victoria asked for pictures of Lydia when she was a baby, to compare to Baby Malinda.  Yep, they sho’ ’nuff look a little bit alike.  🙂
A friend who has arthritis told me she uses an electric blanket even in the summer, to keep her joints from stiffening up.  She and her husband have a queen-sized blanket with dual controls, so he doesn’t roast.
There’s a problem with electric blankets for queen- or king-sized beds, and I speak from experience:
Larry’s side gets too hot, my side gets too cold.  I turn the temperature on my side up; Larry turns his down.  I’m still cold; he’s still hot.
(Yeah, you know where this is going, don’t you?)
After an hour of both of us getting progressively more miserable and doing a considerable amount of griping, it finally dawned on me.
We got out of bed, flipped the blanket (the control cords went down through holes in the headboard; it would’ve been a lot harder to switch controls), got back in – and were suddenly comfortable.
I’d put it on wrong when I washed it that day.  😏
Thursday, I removed the markings from the batik quilt, then trimmed and removed it from the frame.  I took some pictures of it, and then packaged it and put an address label on it.  I also packaged the machine-embroidered tea towels for Dorcas, whose birthday is July 4th, then off I went to town to ship everything off.

As I walked through the post office lobby, a man came in, stopped, looked at me, and then said, “Sarah!”  I turned around and looked at him... didn’t know him from Adam. 
Turns out, he worked at Nebraska Public Power District at the same time I did, back when I was 16-19 years old, from ’76-’79.  That was forty years ago.
“How in the world did you recognize me?” I asked, and tugged off the sunglasses I’d forgotten to remove when I came in.  “I even had shades on!”
“You still look exactly the same!” he told me, “except you’ve changed your hair color.”
“Yeah, I sure have!” I laughed.  It used to be dark brown; now it’s silvery-white.
He remembered Jeremy’s late mother Malinda, too, who worked there a couple of years after I did.  Funny... people used to think we were sisters, because we looked a bit alike.  I told him Malinda had died in childbirth... her son had married my daughter... and they just had a baby girl whom they named Malinda.
He told me his name, and said he’d worked in the engineering department.  I’d worked in the Word Processing Center.  I don’t recall ever hearing his name before, and I don’t remember anyone in particular who looked like this man.  But he knew me, and knows a number of my friends.
I sure don’t think I look like I did 40 years ago, but this is not the first time someone has recognized me from way back when.  About 5 years ago, someone whom I hadn’t seen since 6th grade knew me, and greeted me like a long-lost best friend.
Maybe it’s the big wart on the end of my nose.
((snerk)) (No, I don’t have a wart on my nose.)
After the post office, I went to Hobby Lobby for some batting for a quilt for my next customer, Hannah’s children’s piano teacher.  She has cancer, and it’s at least the fourth time she’s had it.  She’s the lady who has given me so many quilting magazines.  She’s trying hard to leave all her grandchildren with quilts she’s made.
Jacob (8) and Jonathan (3) are plumb thrilled to pieces with their baby sister.  Little Ian, too was pleased as punch with the baby.  Jeremy put him up on the bed in the crook of his Mama’s arm, and baby Malinda was in her other arm... and Ian kept leaning over to see her, tipping his head and smiling at her ever so sweetly.
Thursday evening, I texted Larry and asked him if he could bring home some eggs.  He texted back, “Yes, if I can find some chickens.”  (In other words, I was too late.  He was already at Teddy’s, cutting hay.  He didn’t get home until after 10:30 p.m.)
I washed the dishes and headed downstairs to my quilting studio to load my customer’s quilt.  I was tired.  Hadn’t slept much the night before.  I was still lying there awake when the garbage truck came rumbling down the lane a little after 7 a.m.  I finally dropped off to sleep some time after that, but woke up again too soon after not sleeping nearly fast enough.  heh
I thought I’d get that quilt all ready to go, and then take a nap before I tried quilting, or the customer and I might both be sorry.
But I got it loaded quickly, and the right color of thread was already on the machine... and before I knew it, I’d quilted three rows.  Things were going so well I just couldn’t get stopped!  And then it was bedtime, rather than naptime.
The next afternoon, I finished the quilting, and trimmed the quilt.  I used a pantograph called Tumblin’ Teddy Bears.  Ohh!—now when I looked it up, I see there is another panto available:  Teddy Bear ParadeThat’s pretty cute.  I’ll have to use that one of these days.
On the lady’s last Toy Quilt, I did a train pantograph.  It was all a bunch of straight lines – but they were on the diagonal.  I should have been smarter than to choose that; my machine does not like to make straight diagonal lines during free-motion (on account of wheels and tracks running horizontally and perpendicularly).  But I’d been doing ruler work on recent quilts, and there’s no problem with straight lines then... so it didn’t even occur to me, I don’t use rulers when doing pantos.
Sooo... the lady had a funky train pantograph on her quilt, and she was just as happy as if she didn’t know better.  (rolling eyes)  This time, I did the teddy bear panto, with nothing but curves.  Much easier.
I’ve tried out new machines at a quilt show or two, and at the store in Fremont where they sell HandiQuilters – and two of the things I look for in a good longarm are, 1) Does it make a nice big round circle, or just a curve-cornered square? And 2) Will it go nice and straight on the diagonal?  And most of the new machines on the new track-and-wheel systems will do just that.  Even though I wasn’t accustomed to the machines, I could quilt much better on those wonderful new things!  Someday... I hope...
Meanwhile, I am thankful for what I have.  So much better than trying to quilt on my DSM.
Dorcas sent a picture of Trevor, writing, “We had our first batch of peas from the garden and he can't get enough of them.”
It was cute as could be – he had his spoon in one hand... and was picking up peas with the other to put them on the spoon.  😊
That night, I put wires on 20 of the 24 'Monthly Hang-Ups' I completed in February.  Somebody had already put eight wires on the ones that had been completed – and done a rather bad job of it.  (You’ll recall, Amy found them at a garage sale somewhere, with just a few already done.)  I replaced four of the worst-looking wires, and ran out of new wire.  But at least one full set has the better-looking wire; I’ll enter it in the County Fair next week.  These will be for Emma and Joanna for Christmas.
I found some tieback hooks on eBay that will coordinate nicely with these little quilt blocks:
Amy sent pictures of Elsie in a cute little pin-tucked pink dress – playing with a toy gun.  She wrote, “She has brothers.”    The baby probably thought that gun was a nifty teether.  She’s such a funny little dear.  She gives us those intense stares... eyebrows lowered... but if you work at it just a bit, you get rewarded with a sunshiny grin.  She’s definitely a serious thinker.  Maybe she’s wondering, Why do I have seven brothers and only one sister?
Larry came home that afternoon from working in the hayfield at Teddy’s house – and he brought me one of Amy’s scrumptious blueberry streusel muffins.  Mmmm.
He grabbed a few things he needed for one of his tractors and headed back.  Not long later, he posted a video clip on Instagram of himself bouncing along on the little red gasoline-powered tractor, singing “Old McDaddy had a farm, EIEIO!!  And on that farm, he had some hay, EIEIO!”  His voice was wavering and cracking as he jounced and bounced along.  Sounded hilarious.  His grandsons are going to be well entertained, for sure.  The little guys regularly ask their Mamas to look for Grandpa’s videos; they don’t want to miss anything!
That afternoon, I wrapped and bagged some gifts, then went off to deliver them.  June 24th was Jacob’s 8th birthday, and June 25th was Lydia’s 26th birthday and Bobby and Hannah’s 17th anniversary.
We gave Jacob a large hardback book with all the Thomas the Tank stories in it, an egg with one of those animals that grow when you put it in water (a reptile of some sort, in this one), a little canister with a set of miniature Tinker Toys, a ceramic cup shaped like a soccer ball, with three granola bars inside, and a half-dome multi-colored light that beams the time on the ceiling when it’s pressed.
For Lydia, I had a large hardback book of Martha Pullen’s, Heirloom Sewing for Children, with a lot of patterns that include smocking.  About three years ago we gave her a Pullen pleater, and she’s made some beautiful things with it, including some cute little outfits for her boys when they were small.  Also, a silk scarf in lavender and purple with orchids printed on it, the two lavender and purple Folded Star potholders, and a lacy-card die for her Sizzix Big Shot.
Bobby and Hannah’s anniversary gift was a large bag of chicken breasts from Schwan’s.  We gave Jeremy and Lydia some frozen bagel dogs from Schwan’s and a jug of Martinelli’s not-from-concentrate unfiltered apple juice, because families with new babies in the house need easy food. 
By the time I got home, the last load of clothes had dried on the line, so I took them in and put them away, and then made supper:  corn on the cob, quesadillas, cheese-stuffed bread sticks, bing cherries, and Tropicana orange juice to wash it all down.
And then, finally, I had time to do a little machine embroidery.  I got two tea towels done that night.  I’ll save them for a wedding gift.  It takes about an hour and a half to embroider each tea towel. 
I was quite surprised to find that I have 18 tea towels to embroider, instead of the mere 6 I thought I had.  I considered putting the towels away without embroidering them ... but there will be upcoming weddings, and it will be nice to have a gift all ready for them. 
Besides, the embroidery module was on my machine... the tea towels are washed, ironed, and on my table... the embroidery thread and stabilizers are right there beside it... so it just makes good sense to finish them.  Right? 

As we headed off to church Sunday morning, we saw three little raccoon kits dead on the road, right at the bottom of the hill.  It was just last week that those other three baby raccoons got killed on the highway, only a few yards to the east.    Why don’t their mothers teach them not to play in traffic???  😭
We went to Wal-Mart after church last night and got some items from the dairy department, a bunch of fresh vegetables, and a package of socks for Jacob, since that was one of the things Lydia said he needed when I asked for ideas for his birthday.  We dropped them off at their house on the way home. 
Jeremy answered the door holding baby Malinda.  She was all swaddled in a towel, and looking around brightly – she’d just had a bath.  Such a beautiful baby.
I said as much, and then Jonathon told me quite seriously, “When I was a baby, I cried a lot.”  😅
We hurried off again so they could Keep Karing for Kiddos – especially the brand-new kiddo in the towel.
It was a nice night, so Larry went off on a bike ride.  One of these days, I’m going to get him a little device to wear that will alert me if he has a spill.  I do worry about him, riding alone.  He’s coordinated and careful, but he rides fasssst, and it’s dark out there (though he has an excellent strobe light, with front and rear flashers that you can see a good three miles away).  He hasn’t had to take blood pressure medicine since he started riding, over a year and a half ago.
He saw a couple of big raccoons and a couple of deer.  One was watching him come, not paying any attention to a car coming from the other way, and Larry thought, Any minute, that deer will dash right in front of that car.  So he shouted at it, and it whirled and loped back the way it had come.
Late this morning, I got my chops all polished up to have one of the cute, yummy-looking little butterfly flake rolls we got at Wal-Mart last night – and found a big ol’ spot of green fuzzy stuff on one.  😝
Another quilt arrived this afternoon, from the same lady for whom I quilted the batik quilt.  I just sent her a bunch of pantograph pictures, and she has chosen one she likes.  I’ll get started on it tomorrow.  My quilting friends have totally changed my original opinion about ‘scrappy quilts.’  I’ve discovered, so long as they have a pattern to them, and background fabric to give the eye a rest between blocks, I do like scrappy quilts.
Aaauuuggghhh, Tabby – the Gummy Cat – that is, the partially-toothless cat – just brought in a tiny baby bird!  A starling, most likely.  Its eyes weren’t even open yet, and it only had a few straggly feathers sprouting from the top of its head.  And it was still alive, opening and shutting its little yellow beak, in silent plea for its mother.  But I believe its neck was broken.  I picked it up with a paper towel... walked outside... and it expired in my hands.  At least I didn’t have to dispatch of the poor thing, since I certainly had no idea where to put it.  😕  I hate cats.
Loren called to tell me he was home again; he’d driven his pickup to the dealership in Louisville, where he purchased it, to have the oil changed and get the three gallons of free DEF they promised him.  That in itself was worth the trip.  This will be the last time for a free oil change.
Oh!  A catbird just swooped down at Teensy as he lay sprawled on the front porch in the evening sun, then landed in the lilac bush and set up a fuss.  He went to enough effort to roll over so he could better look at the pretty little bird.
I made a chef salad for supper tonight, using the fresh vegetables we got at Wal-Mart last night, hard-boiled eggs, and Carving Board turkey (thick-sliced turkey).
Whew!  It smells like skunk around these parts.  I hope one of the cats didn’t have an entanglement with it.  They never have, in all the years we’ve lived out here.  The neighbors’ dog did once, though.  You should have heard all the screaming and yelling (from his owners).

Actually, no, you shouldn’t have.  😱😯😲

,,,>^..^<,,,        Sarah Lynn         ,,,>^..^<,,,

Photos: A Thrasher, a Swallow, a Cat, and a Bunny

Brown thrasher

Barn swallow


Stargazer lilies


Ah, those lazy, hazy days of summer!

Who needs anything but a sun-warmed sidewalk?

Cottontail on the cattleguard