Tuesday, August 28, 2018


The joys of home ownership (JOHO) means that there will always be work to be done on the house. If you own a house, you know this very well. Some things are small and are taken care of as time goes on, like the recent replacement of all light bulbs in our house to LED ones. The bigger things require planning for time and money and have to be worked into a schedule. In the retirement planning process we met with an advisor and one of the tasks was to come up with a retirement budget, which prompted the spinoff of a list of home maintenance projects/renovations which we wanted to accomplish, along with an estimate for the budget.

replace cedar siding on the back wall of the house (the Southern exposure has taken its toll, all the other sides are fine)
replace 3 wooden windows on back wall of house
remove old paneling from master bedroom, replace with ?sheetrock
replace all carpet on upper level of house
new metal roof for shop
move AC outside unit to other side of house (away from screen porch for noise purposes)

These projects were slated to start after retirement (12/2019). But Buddy can't wait until retirement. The fact that we are working closer to home and can come home every weekend makes it harder to wait. First on the list is replacing the cedar siding. We bought new windows a few weeks ago to replace the old wooden ones, the new vinyl ones are sitting in the shop.

This weekend, the weather was nice, "I'll just start pulling off the cedar siding, a little at a time, it won't hurt anything, as the old 1976 siding is underneath."

I am working on a baby quilt with my sewing machine under the window, and the next thing I know, here come Buddy - "Uh you are going to have to move your sewing machine, I am taking going to replace this window… right now!"  It seems the old siding did not extend all the way around the windows and by pulling off the cedar planks there was no protection from weather. So the schedule was suddenly escalated.

By Saturday evening, we had 2 new windows on the main level, the cedar is removed from half the back wall, just one more window to go. A very productive weekend. I wonder if all of the projects on the list will be done before retirement?

Monday, April 23, 2018

greatgrandbaby quilt

We are excited to welcome our first greatgrandchild soon. 
A quilt needs to be made to mark the occasion. Young mothers have very specific ideas as to what they want, nursery design, theme, colors, etc. So when I asked Racheal, what kind of baby quilt she wanted, she said, "Woodland theme, a tree and a fox and leaves, a geometric look..."

so this soon to be GREAT granma gathered ideas from the internet :)

found this shared graph drawing of a tree and leaves, using triangles and squares and decided it was time I learned to make half-square triangles

and gathered fabrics from different stores, Joanns, Walmart, Fabric.com

played around with ideas, found a cute fox peeping from behind the tree - picture found online also 

added a little hand embroidery

sewed together in vertical strips, adjusting the strips up or down so the leaves would not be in straight rows - to look more natural, but really so I wouldn't have to line up all those seams :)

after I was pleased with the alignment, trimmed the strips to length, then added fox to go behind the tree trunk, and added a few borders to bring it all together

used my machine large zig-zag for quilting, another first, it went fast, just did vertical rows of stitching lining up with the vertical strips of fabric

and the requisite quilt label - another baby quilt done!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

an evening with...

An evening with Rory Feek... reminds me of another concert years ago - An Evening with John Denver. Two great songwriters connected in time, brought to mind when I first heard Rory sing John's Back Home Again.

We have followed Rory's career for a few years. Buddy told me about this country duo, Joey and Rory, he liked their music and started following them on Facebook. We started watching their TV show and loved watching their story unfold. Rory was also documenting everything in his blog, This Life I Live. They were touring and performing and living the life of rising country stars, when their journey suddenly took a few unexpected turns. They decided to start a family, along came little Indiana and soon after a cancer diagnosis for Joey. All this time Rory was still documenting everything about their lives in words and film, and fans across the world were following their story and hanging on every word, waiting for the next update. Two years later Joey was gone, Rory was once again a single dad.

Hardison Mill Farm

When I saw on Rory's blog that he was going to start performing again, I immediately got tickets. The show was going to be at his farm in 'some barn' (named after the song that paid for it - Some Beach) a small venue holding about 200 people, very small and personal.

Some Barn

We arrived early and parked in the gravel lot between the barn and the new schoolhouse, watching the rain and waiting for the venue doors to open. Buddy asked if I had some tissues to take in. "Yes, I have a couple in my jeans pocket." He said, "I guess I should take some, too, my allergies have been acting up."  Allergies uh huh.

Way back before the baby and cancer, Joey and Rory recorded a song written by a good friend about the death of her mother, When I'm Gone. Joey sang the song in the video as if she was gone, talking to Rory and telling him he will be okay when she is gone.

We were sitting in the audience, chatting with folks when the lights dimmed right at 7 p.m. and the video screen lit up with Joey singing When I'm Gone. Whoa, this is not going to be easy. But then Rory came out and started telling their story, and he is going to be okay, as okay as he can be (he said).

Rory Feek

Heidi was singing backup just like on the TV show, and little Indiana made an appearance, she is 4 years old now, so sweet. There are new books in the future, plans for the schoolhouse opening, lots of stories and songs. It was a great evening spent with old friends (we felt like). Is it weird that millions of people feel like they know this man personally when he doesn't know any of us? (facebook followers = 2.3 million). Look there's Julie (Joey's best friend/fan club prez), and Gabe - filmmaker and neighbor, and oh it's Russ the bus driver (they called him Russ Driver). All these folks we met through the show and blog.

Stories from way back in younger days to stories of 'how we met' and daughters and farm life all the way up to a story from just the day before. A couple flew up from Florida to see the show, were eating at MarcyJos and talked to Rory - they wanted to give $10,000 for a trust fund for Indiana. Rory took them over and showed them the schoolhouse and talked about the future plans there, the man wrote out a check for $150,000. The schoolhouse was started with the over $95,000 in small donations that came in when Joey died, in lieu of flowers. The school will be for local children, several with special needs.

Hardison Mill School

After the show Rory wanted to meet everyone so we waited our turn, got to meet him, give him a hug, Russ Driver took our picture in the lobby, where sweets from MarcyJos were being sold alongside lots of CDs and books.

Rory expressed his gratitude for all of his support team of friends and neighbors who encouraged him to get out and do this, said if it was up to him he would be sitting in his house. And if he did get up on stage he would just tell stories, but he was encouraged to sing and play and he did so, beautifully entertwining the songs with the stories.

An evening with Rory Feek, time well spent.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Sewing Machine

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

A extraordinary story about an ordinary object, a sewing machine. What can be said about a sewing machine that would make a good story? Natalie Fergie answers this question overwhelmingly with her story of the little Singer machine, from the time it was being made in the factory, through 100 years of use, and handed down through generations. This is the story of the women and men that used this machine, the way they are all connected and intertwined seemingly by the threads of the machine.

My favorite part was the journals kept by the people sewing/mending/creating projects, one page in a small book dedicated to each project, a line of sewing on the page with a small scrap of the fabric and notes as to what was made, for who, etc.  I actually got choked up visualizing this, notes in little books going back 100 years.

2016 - Fred is cleaning out his grandparents house, opens up the old Singer case, discovering a bundle stuffed inside containing 16 small notebooks which he discovers go back 100 years.

"Some have homemade covers cut from scrap paper. Fred can see that one has been made from a road atlas, and another has a picture of sweet peas on a page from a seed catalogue. There is a school jotter and an old cash book. At the bottom of the pile, the final notebook is covered with a familiar wallpaper with cars on it. ‘My bedroom,’ he says softly.
He opens one of the books. Each page has a line of stitching running vertically near the outer edge. Yellow stitches on the first page, then white, blue, black. And caught in the seam every time is a scrap of cloth, maybe two inches by one. The pages have writing on them too and he catches his breath; it’s the same as the handwriting on the first six of the birthday cards in his treasure box, and on the jam jars in the larder."

I thought what a wonderful idea, a good idea for the history of one sewing machine, but also a good idea for the documentation of one person's sewing history even on different machines. What if I had done this? The school dresses, mini skirts from the 70s, baby clothes, bridesmaid dresses, prom dresses, quilts, my wedding dress c.1973… what a history…

The Sewing Machine is a new favorite book of mine, a reminder of the importance of family, of passing down through generations the tools and skills and stories that make up each family's history. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Old Shawneetown, Illinois

The Shawneetown Bank State Historic Site is a historic bank building is a Greek Revival structure build in 1839-1841 in Old Shawneetown, Illinois.

Old Shawneetown is on the banks of the Ohio River at the Illinois state line. As of the 2010 census, the village had a population of 193. Shawneetown served as an important United States government administrative center for the Northwest Territory. The village was devastated by the Ohio River flood of 1937. The village's population was moved several miles inland to New Shawneetown. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018