Tuesday, November 12, 2019

starter quilt

I could hear the yellow double wedding ring quilt top pleading to get out of the musty cardboard box. I finally responded and released it from captivity. Ahhh fresh air! Sunshine!  But wait, it was still an unfinished quilt top, a vintage UFO made by Buddy's grandmother. I had just finished 4 quilts left from Ms. Thomas when she passed, is there a pattern here? Sewing for ghosts? I see dead people…

Anyway, my idea for the yellow DWR was to give it to Michelle, great-granddaughter of the quilt maker. I ran the idea by family members (do not assume, always ask) and everyone was fine with it. I showed it to Michelle to see if she wanted it and she said that yellow was her favorite color. So the process had started, but who will quilt it? Me?  I don't know, the size of 102 x 90 was overwhelming to me.

If only my favorite quilter lady was still here. But I have just retired and there is really no excuse for me not to JustDoIt. I was still agonizing over how to attempt such a big project, when overnight I had a light bulb moment - cut the quilt in half or quarters and quilt the smaller pieces then sew them back together. I ran this by Buddy, explaining that it is an acceptable way of making quilts, called 'quilt as you go' which means you could quilt a block at a time then sew them together, albeit may not encompass cutting up a perfectly fine large vintage hand stitched quilt top… but it would turn out fine I am sure.  Buddy also had an overnight idea - why not take off a row or two, making a smaller quilt and one easier to handle, incorporating the other 'rings' into another quilt or more than one, like using something old to make something new. He said kind of like that recipe that was going around for a while, something about a starter? Sour dough starter? Yes like that.

I really liked that idea! I asked Michelle what size her bed is - full size - so that helped my decision to cut it down. It started out 5 rings wide x 6 rings long, I cut off 2 rows, now it is 4 rings wide x 5 rings long, 72 x 90. I had some poly batting 72 x 90, and had a sheet for the backing (frugal quilter = use what you have).  The DWR top was so puckered, I tried to stretch and pull, but never did get it to lie flat. So I just did some straight lines through the rings and let the curved pieces be free to fall where they may. Maybe I should have taken it to a professional?  But it is out of the cardboard box and will soon be into the hands of family, for Michelle made by her great-grandmother, Two Mama.

"Better finished than perfect."

When we first showed the unfinished quilt top to Michelle, it was mentioned that it was a double wedding ring pattern, and Michelle said, "Well, I will never have a wedding ring :)" So I decided to name it something else. Just because it started out in Two Mama's mind as a DWR doesn’t mean it has to stay that. (I also did this for Jenny's lavender one  - called it the Circle of Life.)

Anyway this one is The Yellow Quilt Road with this for a label (Michelle recently moved back to the old homeplace to help care for her dad):

It just came out of the wash and it doesn't look too bad! The puckers look more puffy now, and puffy is good for a quilt! Whew! Check that one off the list. One more thing out of my sewing room and into the hands of family. And hopefully I will stop hearing voices...

Thursday, October 31, 2019

going out of business

Going Out Of Business

I don't need a set of rules for style, I have my own style.

The only foot pedal I need now is the one in my car to go places, see things, visit family and friends.

The earphones can be put to use listening to pod casts, TED talks, audio books.

I can program my word expander for fun words like NP for National Parks or GK for grandkids, instead of the ever popular WNL 'within normal limits' or SOB 'shortness of breath'.

I can finally can get out of this chair, get moving, hiking. My eyes can finally tear away from this screen, see landscapes and mountains and friendly faces. My hands can leave this keyboard and create fun quilts and hold babies and bake cookies.

Things I won't miss:
doctors mumbling
doctors dictating while eating
doctors rattling the pages of a chart into the mic
STAT reports
carpal tunnel
neck stiffness
doctors dictating while driving
background noise…a liquid dropping from a high place into a pool of liquid… (fingers crossed he is just getting a glass of water)

The first day of the rest of my life. The end of an era, the working era, the paycheck era.


For as long as I have been a transcriptionist, there have been predictions of our jobs being obsolete, being out-sourced or replaced by VR (voice recognition) software. Well it finally happened, the docs we type for just transitioned to VR… YAY!  I was planning to retire at the end of the year anyway, so a few weeks early is not a problem.

What is VR? On your phone have you ever tried the talk-to-text mode (talking and your phone types what you say), and it sometimes types the weirdest things? Yep that's about it. So instead of personal typists for all these docs, now they have their computer and are saving so much $$, but in return are getting things like in a recent report 'CAN ASSAULT'  instead of KENNESAW. Oh well you get what you pay for, not my problem anymore!


Tuesday, October 15, 2019



a mellow soul
she took time
to smell the roses

words not in her vocabulary
rush hour
jumping to conclusions

but I only met her at 30
settled in her little abode
in her favorite mountains
a lifetime goal already met

perhaps as a teenager or in college
she would hurry more
be on time
complete assignments by deadlines

sure she had strong opinions
was a vocal advocate
for the downtrodden
children and animals

but at a snail's pace
why the hurry
might miss something
along the way

we talk about slowing down
enjoying our surroundings
but she lived it
an example for all

no worries
all you need is a mountain to climb
and a dog to pet
life is good

Just thinking of you Kay, missing you,  a year since 'piglet went home,' this sentiment seen penned on your kitchen calendar recently. After a year of grieving, things are getting some better at your house. Michelle has moved in with her kids to look after Kennon. The house is probably cleaner than it has been in a long time, well except when Cecilia comes to visit :)

Everyone seems happy to be there, Kennon is not so lonely anymore, Michelle is not so worried about him being alone, Jacob is loving fishing in the pond, Mickayla is doting on grandpa, tucking him into bed every night. Jack was there all summer and helped with the never-ending mowing and helping out around the farm. 

A yearlong transition that was unexpected and very hard at times, but coming out on this side of it, there are once again smiling faces at your house. I hope you can see all of this from your perch and are smiling along with them. I cherish our time together, love and miss you bunches.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

making points

Love keeping up with the family on social media. Especially love it when I see some of my handiwork in their posts... how to make points with granma :)

Like the Mickey Mouse toddler dress, quilts on the beds, crocheting by Madison. She is weathering the storm in Orlando, "we hurricane party with yarn lol"

Thursday, August 29, 2019


I love to knit these little dishcloths, to start out at one corner and end up at the opposite one. To watch it be all askew looking and then magically turn into a square when finished.

I love to use up the little bits of yarn left from a roll, piecing them together, it reminds me of patchwork quilting :)

I still use the pattern from Exuberant Color in 2013, thanks Wanda!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

where are we going

Retirement planning/camper decor...

Pulled this map/sticker out of the closet, it is perfect for our next chapter. Where have we been and where are we going? 

We have been to more states than these marked, but we decided to just put the states where we have actually camped. 

So now our future is mapped out, literally. The Pacific Northwest and the Atlantic Northeast are definitely on the list, and we want to revisit some of our favorite places also. 

The countdown is on, 12/31/2019!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

old friends

Yesterday I drove back in time, down Harpertown Hill into the little town of McCaysville, out the other side to visit Wilma and Dwayne.

Wilma has been cleaning out her mom's house since she passed away and discovered some quilt tops in need of finishing, hence one of the reasons for my visit. We spread them out on the guest room bed and matched up colored sheets to use for the backing. I have a stash of quilt batting bought on sale years ago, to use in retirement. I recently checked my stock and had 4 twin size batts. I told Wilma that apparently I bought these 4 to be used in the future when she called me about these 4 quilt tops…stranger things at work here.

We got out and drove around, passed by some places where Wilma lived over the years, she moved a lot! The one I remember most was in Kingtown, we would walk from there down the hill to the Tastee Freeze on Saturdays, oftentimes with curlers in our hair preparing for a night dancing at the canteen. What a sight we must have been, oh for a picture of that!

She wanted to visit to our old homeplace out on Galloway Road. I can hear my mom's voice now, "I want 50 acres in the country with a house in the middle so I can't see any neighbors!" (this after living in Army housing most of her adult life). So we followed the now paved road (wow!) and to the house that my dad built on top of the hill in the late 60s. Since then, other houses have popped up, in our old pasture, garden, one up where the shop used to be, one where the old radiator shop was, it was surreal driving through there. Although the main road is paved now, the driveway is no better, still narrow and gravel and prone to washout. Some things change, some things stay the same.

We strolled around town, McCaysville and Copperhill, drove by the old YMCA building where the dances were on Saturday night, now the City Hall. The shopping places of our childhood are gone, we could spend hours in Williamson's 5 and 10 for school supplies or toys, then for school shoes to Jabaleys next door. Shopping for clothes meant a trip to the fabric store over in Copperhill. There was the jewelry store that sold 45 records for $1 back in the day, the A and P grocery store is still there, just with a different name. The stores now are more touristy, catering to the 'train people'. The scenic train from Blue Ridge arrives while we are eating lunch and aforementioned 'train people' file by the window to see the quaint little town.

Back at their house, we pulled out the old yearbooks and even some report cards. Looking at the old faces, trying to remember them in school, who were they dating then, did they stay together, which ones are gone too soon.

Dwayne is enjoying his retirement, working some when he wants to, fishing at least once a week, hunting during season, I heard fishing and hunting stories and there were even pictures!  Wilma is still working, she loves her job and will continue to work for now, even though (as Dwayne pointed out) she is having a birthday next week - 66!!!

I left with home canned green beans and fresh tomatoes and a good feeling of connecting with old friends.


Oh and we of course reminisced about that night we picked up those 2 guys from Atlanta and took them home with us…

AND almost forgot, on the way out (with my green beans) Wilma asked if I knew how to cook these?  Well duh but you tell me anyway Wilma.

Wilma: You get some bacon grease. Do you have bacon grease?

Dwayne: We were almost out and I had to go buy some the other day.

Me: You buy bacon grease? Where?

Dwayne: Up at the biscuit place, I bought a gallon for $1.

Me (thinking): OMG your arteries!

Wilma: Anyway, you heat the bacon grease and then open the beans, pour off water and rinse 2 times. Add dry beans to bacon grease (do not add any water) and heat.

Me:  Thanks y'all!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

summer '19

running through a sprinkler on a summer day 

we did it in the old days, literally a hose sprinkler in the yard, now Lili has a fancy waterfall poolside, but the feeling is the same, the excitement, the freedom of being a child with no worries

new baby Maverick taking it all in, watching his cousin running around granma's house

watching the trees blowing in the wind on the walk to his new house, they say it is a house but it looks like a flat dirt track longing for matchbox cars and tonka trucks, with neat rocks begging to be stacked and strewn

there's a new puppy rescued from the pound, bound to be an instagram story with a coat and a name like a shiny new penny!

there is the not quite grownup aunt who gets to live at Disney and works at neat jobs and sometimes goes to college :)

some JOHO going on next door, the house where all these folks were raised and grew up and moved away, and moved back, granma and granpa are working on fixing up the house for its ever growing cast of characters coming to visit

there is a lot of planning and anticipation for the big adventure elopement in a month - dress, suit, plane tix, photographer, hiking boots! 

and finally great granma and great grandpa counting the days to retirement with a future filled with travel and family and watching all the kids

running through a sprinkler on a summer day