Monday, February 27, 2017

The Smallest Elements

"By concentrating on the smallest elements of our lives we see that we are part of a greater wholeness.  When we try to take care of the smallest things, the deepening process begins." 
Alexandra Stoddard in Grace Notes

A sunny Monday morning in late February finds me concentrating on small elements. but first the big... My daughter Kristen will have sinus surgery early in the morning on Tuesday.  Kris is  much more guarded in expressing her feelings, than I am. I was surprised that she posted about her anxiety about tomorrow on face book. We are very much alike, even though I hear a lot of ...Oh Mom.  She's my first, my only daughter and I love her so much. I am very anxious myself, but my kids all know that. If you are so inclined, please remember Kris in your prayers. My job is taking care of a certain small girl, so I won't be with Kris tomorrow, but my heart will, with my prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.     

Later today I'll be cooking for my son Jon.  We have already celebrated his birthday together, but I have to mark the day by making one of his favorites.  Happy Birthday dear Jon Jon.  Wishing you good health, happiness and love always.

Now for the smaller elements...
 We did a little thrifting, and I found this lovely plate.  So soft and lovely,  Reminds me of Christie Repasy's work but is signed by Mary Ruffing
 This is the score of scores, Eleven yards of this beautiful flower print fabric for $5.00.  The first thing I will make is an apron. Designer Matthew Mead posted a photo of a hanging shoe type bag filled with treasures.  Dear Dawn from A Feathered Nest has made some shoe bags dripping with lace, buttons and trim.  I will just let the flowers do the talking as I attempt making one myself.
 Playing with the pedestal that I received for my birthday from my dear SIL Elizabeth.  The little Raggedy Andy makes  me smile.  Many years ago my dearest and I dressed as Ann and Andy for a Halloween party, except he was Ann, and I was Andy. We had so much fun.  This Andy was .25 at the thrift, and I walked away form it.  The next time we visited I looked for him but he was not in the toys.  Someone had picked him up and put him down in another section of the store.  Made me giddy to find him again and pop him in my cart.
 This pic from Saturday afternoon does not do the beautiful effect of the sun streaming through the breaks in the clouds justice, but it was amazing.
 I mentioned that I had ordered a couple of things from Pottery Barn with my birthday gift cards.  This is the coolest, a drying rack.  I have very little wall space in my kitchen, so honey mounted it on a door.  I am using it just for display, but it still can serve it's purpose.
 It's all galvanized and beautiful wood.  A very vintage combo.  Thanks to the kids and my sweetheart for your generous gifts.
 Already changing things up.  Feeling a litle springish.
 Shopped with Penny for a crafty project...
 and a few beautiful things.  These are paper plates!  Saving these for Ravinia this summer.
 I wasn't sure if my vision for the fireplace would translate to the spring, but I really like it.  It looks fresh and clean.
A few real plants are making me itch to get outside and plant.

Adding all these elements, makes my house a home for my sweetheart, our family and friends.  It also becomes the home I always dreamed of, with all it's imperfections...just like me...a work in progress.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for all your kind comments. 
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A February for the Record Books

A gift from my pal Kathy.
 Usually we freeze and shovel snow in February.  Actually I prefer a cold wintry month to the month we've had.  Temperatures in the 60's all the way up to the 70's.  It seems to make everyone in Chicagoland a little giddy.
 Not one to miss a beautiful day in the great outdoors, we headed to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for a late afternoon walk before picking up our babygrand.
 Moat people were leaving as we arrived, a perfect time to have these amazing gardens all to ourselves.
 Well, not completely...
 This promenade is one of my favorites in summer.  It's cool and green and shady, even on the hottest day.
 It's been quite a few years since we spent much time at the gardens and it's almost unrecognizable.
 Never a serious photo with this one.  My Guy!
That water must be very cold, as there were still patches of ice floating in places.
 I am happy that the cold temps will return this week.  Hate to loose all the bulbs and buds of real springtime with this freak warm spell.
 The path we used to take is still there, just so many distractions on the way.
 There is not a bad view...
 From the paths, bridges or overlooks,
 It was hard to think it was the middle of winter,
 and at least 5 or six weeks till Spring.
 They know.
 The carillon plays on the hour and there are concerts by guest artists through the summer.
 Snowdrops, the only flowers we saw.
From a small man made body of water to...

 Our beautiful Lake Michigan.  She was in a mood on Monday, and it was at least 20 degrees cooler up in Wisconsin.
 Got to spend the President's holiday together, a great long weekend.
 We've been watching this tree lean for years now.  One day it will take the long fall down this bluff onto the shore below.
The Sun was not cooperating, but we still had fun.

We spent Friday evening and all day Saturday with Penny.  Lot's of walks, some thrift shopping and her favorite pizza place for dinner. She has a knack for picking a great bag.  You know the ones hanging on the wall with all kinds of stuff inside.  She found a "Real Pet"parakeet toy.
  She knew exactly how it worked and that it needed new batteries.  Grandpa and his tiny screwdriver fixed it and she loved playing with that bird she named Hydrangea.  I found a box with chicken wire I had in my stash, so that was her cage.  It sings and can be taught to talk.  There were several other birds in the bag all for .99.  She also found a small doll, that had two pair of shoes and a couple of outfits, again .99!  I think she's hooked on bargain hunting.

On Sunday night we had dinner with the kids.  All of them.  I was in my glory with all our family around us as we celebrated our February Birthdays.  Jon, Doug and I all share this as our birthday month.  We ate at a restaurant that we frequented when we were dating many moons ago.  So much fun when we are all together.  We are all very much alike.  At times when our server brought another drink or pitcher of water ,we would all say thank you, almost on cue.  Especially Kristen and I have the same tone in our voices and it sounds like stereo. We sang happy birthday to each other and had cupcakes before we headed for the cars and took some photos outside.  Mike and Amanda rode home with us.  It was so sweet to hear them laugh and talk from the back of the truck.  I asked Mike if he ever imagined( back when he was the one who had to go to the third row of seats) sitting in that seat with the woman who will be his wife... He said no, but that it was really great that he was. 
These are the moments that make me truly happy.

Sometimes the photos are not chronological, and sometimes I use my phone for photos and have not figured out where the heck they go after I download them. Oh well.

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your friendship.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunny Monday

Feels so good to wake up to a sunny day.  We had a busy week and weekend.  A bake sale at Church, a visit to our grand daughter to deliver some Valentine gifts, a quiet sunny Sunday, capped off with watching the Grammy's.  (Oh Adele...She is so talented, wonderful and confident.  Imagine, stopping a live performance, to get it right.  I just admire her so.)
 First off, we stopped at a thrift I haven't visited in a while.  There on the fabric rack was this quilt top.  Neatly folded with a tag that said $4.99.  I asked my dearest to help me unfold and inspect it...
 OM Goodness...One hundred and thirty two hand pieced blocks!
Someone, somewhere, toiled hours and hours...maybe weeks, maybe months, hand sewing each block.  How did it end up at the thrift?  It makes me so sad to find some one's labor of love sold for pennies.  I can't tell you how often I find handmade baby quilts, crochet and knitted afghans, sometimes with a tag...made by grandma... Sometimes I sadly walk away.  I can't save them all. (Though my daughter might say I've tried.;-) This time I am thrilled to have this treasure.
See how each block is hand sewn, then machine sewn to the gingham.  My friend Maureen has a quilting business.  She uses a long arm machine to quilt, and this orphan quilt top will have a new life. Sending out thanks to the person who made this quilt. Your work is beautiful, fabric choices wonderful.  I will cherish it.
 I have no success making a cake in a mold like this, but boy, isn't it cute?  Can't help thinking about spring.
 Found these little ornaments for a Springtime Easter branch.
 This is the second bunny planter I've found.  They will be so sweet planted with wheat grass.
 Pink Peonies.  I actually planted a pot with pink peonies last year.  Not sure how they will do this spring.  This pot is from Home Goods.  Of course I found it at the thrift.  These blooms with end up in a vase, and for the cost of one bloom at the Hob Lob.
Here's a few photos from our bake sale.  The tables were beautifully decorated by a sweet and talented woman named Lydia. This was before the last Mass.  The tables were packed for Saturday night and Sunday morning. I made four cakes and heart shaped brownies. I think we all did well. All proceeds go to making our service projects in the community possible.
 Isn't this beautiful?
 Lydia went all out to make the tables lovely for our sale.
 A few of my dear Guild sisters.
I am posting some photos from a guest photographer.  She is new at photography, but has a promising career ahead of her. This is her bear, Elsa.
 A close up of her doll.
She has big blue eyes just like the photographer, Penny, my grand daughter.

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your friendship.
Happy Valentine's Day to you with love from me!
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny