Monday, February 24, 2020

On the Cusp

 Here I sit with spring on the screen and a winter snowstorm in my future.  

Flowers from my dear pals Jean and Tom
 A winter storm watch is in effect with the forecast of 8 to 12 inches of snow.  The house is stocked with just about everything I might need until I feel brave enough to venture out.  In the mean time, I have many things needing my attention.  I have the aches and pains of the morning after playing with and taking care of my baby grands.  They are changing by the hour, now signing (baby sign language) food, more, blowing kisses and toothy smiles as big as the sun.  We were able to take walks with the weather being very mild this weekend.  We heard birds and I signed bird while making the sign. touching your index finger to your thumb in an action like a bird's beak.  I know by the next time they visit it will be in their little vocabularies. 

The beautiful heart with the key was a gift from my
sister of the heart, Carmella.
 Our plans, by our, I mean Penny and myself, had to be cancelled when Penny's bad cold kept her home with Mom and Dad.  We missed the owls and raptors we have been seeing every year since Penny moved back from New York. Penny assured me it was OK, that we will go next year.

 I spent a little time taking down all the Valentine touches around the house and getting out some greenery.  It's all the green I'll be seeing for a while if the forecast is correct.

 Sunrises and 

Sunsets fly by.  

This is how things work for me, can you relate?  I saw an advertisement about a local venue and a appearance of A.J. Croce.  The show is called Croce Plays Croce.  If you are a person of a certain age, I just turned 65, Jim Croce was a top artist in my day.  So this lead me to find out about A.J., Jim's son and lead me to his music and in turn his Dad's music and then a book about Jim Croce written by his wife Ingrid.  On iTunes I got to read the first few pages, 
with the Foreword by Arlo Guthrie.

"There is no one I'd trust more to tell my story than my long-time love, wife and partner.  Ingrid has not--and never will--give death an ounce of sympathy or retreat one little bit from the full acknowledgement of what love truly is: a part of herself in the form of Jim Croce.  The details of this book are about Jim and Ingrid, but the story is about anyone who has had the good fortune and unbelievable luck to find someone who will tell it with love."

This story now ultimately leads me to Tyke, and how I was never able to put into words how I felt...
The full acknowledgement of what love truly is: a part of myself in the form of Tyke Willoughby.
It was good fortune and unbelievable luck to find Tyke.
So, all the stories I write with or without mentioning Tyke by name, includes him.

"If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you"

-Lyrics by Jim Croce

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments and just plain kindness and love.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, February 17, 2020


"I need some way to prove that this was real
A memory is not enough
I'm scared that I'll forget the way it feels to be young and in love."

I've had my first Valentine's Day and first birthday without my sweet husband and it was hard.  I heard a song that struck my heart. It's called Photograph, by Cody Fry. Photograph Cody Fry 
I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden on a cold Valentine's Day.  It was really a perfect winter day, crisp with vibrant blue skies. I took photos of the places we loved and quite accidentally, this post came to be.

The song is beautiful, the sentiments so relatable.  Life goes by so quickly, and I am so grateful to have so many photographs to help me remember the amazing life Tyke and I had together.

"If I wished myself a superpower
I would make this moment last for hours
If I had my way
Time would just stand still
Wait for me until
I find some magic film
To take a photograph and live inside."

"Let me stay right here
Just a moment longer
The picture is so clear
Please let this last forever"

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Do Everything With Love

The January craft wave was late this year.  February has found me crafting and sewing, and I have to say, it feels good to create again.

 It was this wreath that started it...This one kit that I found at the thrift turned out so well, that I got some supplies together and made three more.  One for each of my girls, Kristen, Charlotte and Amanda. Penny and I never got the chance to work on it together, so I had time to play with it.
I sent the Paper Source hearts through the Big Shot (die cutting system) with a embossing folder.
It was just the something extra it needed.

This heart has seen many Valentine Days.  Bought from Abbey Press.  I just looked it up and it is out of business now.  It was where we Catholic girls found faith based objet d'art back in the day.  One of my very favorite decorations for 'tines day.

 I've made dozens of pillow cases but none for my little girls Stevie and Irene.  Now we can have pillow fights, and we did.  Stevie swings a mean pillow.  

The pillows are small and easy to carry.  I also used then under their heads while changing diapers, now done on the floor because they are just too wiggly and strong for Grandma.  Of course I made a full sized one for big cousin Penny. 

 This fabric is so pretty and not too Valentiny.

My first Moon shot!  I am not of steady hand, so it was very difficult to keep it in the frame.
I'll keep learning about my camera and Jon's going to set me up with a tripod for shots like this one. 
Pretty cool! 

These two move at the speed of sound.  
Hard to get a photo when they are not in motion.  
Such little loves.    

A few hearts with charms from Tim Holtz.  

He's got the best stuff for stamping and crafting.

I wasn't kidding when I called this a wave.  Here are eight pillowcases, almost finished.  They were made with a King sized sheet I found brand new at the thrift for $4.00!

Shout out again to Tim Holtz who designed this fabric.  I've been keeping it for a something special.  I guess that being creative again is reason enough.

Laura Ashley!  Just so pretty and simple.

There's those hearts again.

When I was finished with the wreaths I had some hearts left over, thus a garland. Sewn on the machine.

"We need love and creative imagination to do constructive work."
-Paula Ollendorf

 We still have snow on the ground.  In fact, it snowed like crazy Sunday.  Had a house full this weekend including a brother's old fashioned sleep over.  Jon and Mike ordered food and watched movies like the old days.  It was great having them both home.  Amanda came for breakfast and the rest of the gang came for dinner.   
Grateful they love each other so much and love and care for me so well. 

 I have a a few more pillowcases to sew for my nieces in St. Louis.  Daddy Tyler and Mom Tracy have a food truck and when I saw this fabric, I had to get some for the girls.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.
"Be good to yourself, be excellent to others and do everything with love,"
-John Wolf

My Love
"If ever two were one, surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, 
then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women,
if you can."
-Anne Bradstreet

Thank you for stopping by and for your kindness always.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, February 3, 2020

February, So Far

 My darling daughter purchased a few things from the fictitious Rose Apothecary, actually from our friends at Beekman 1802.  It's a tie in with the show I recently talked about, Schitt's Creek. If you watch the show you'll appreciate the similarities between the real life Brent and Josh to Dan and  Patrick on the show.  It is just fun, and that's why my kids encouraged me to watch.  This is the last season of the show and I am loving it. 

 My little ones have run of the house.  Here Stevie stops at Grandpa's chair. 

 Here they have taken over the TV controller.  Anything with a screen is so attractive to them.  
Watch your phone or other electronic device.  They are so cuddly, sweet and funny.  I got a workout for a couple of days with them.  Ever try to dress an anaconda?  That's what it's like to change them, times two! Oh the love I get, and the bliss of holding a sleeping baby.  Playing on the floor with them, singing them songs.  The best medicine for this old grandma.

My sweet Penny, fashionista she is...

My girl was crazy about the sweater I found.  Big and baggy and the black heart made it extra cool. 
Penny is the coolest. We worked on a school project  before the babies came.  It's Black History month and Penny is doing a report on Whoopi Goldberg.  We went to the library and found some books Whoopi authored for children.  It was fun to get out the poster board and markers, cutting and pasting.   I was shocked that there was also a report due, with all sources, at least three to be noted, and not the Internet. (Books or periodicals)  She's in second grade!  Sounds like parents have the homework.  It's great having her close enough that we can spent so much time together. She had a tooth that was hanging by a thread.  With my own kids I would tell them I was just gonna "Feel" how loose it was then take it out.  My grandchild, never!  It didn't come out till the next day and with Dad's help.  Tooth count, Penny is missing three, Stevie now has four, all on the bottom and Irene has three, two on the bottom one on the top.

 With a windy and relatively warm day on Sunday, out we went for a walk.  
These girls are very serious on a walk, and quiet. 
 Some of the sidewalks are still ice covered, and there were puddles everywhere.  That didn't stop Grandma from walking proudly with her girls.

 It was so good to see the Sun.  Helped my mood immensely.

 I posted this photo a little while back...My cousin Diana, my cousin Mark and me...

 Imagine my surprise when cousin Mark walked up to me at the local thrift in my town last week.  We haven't seen each other in ages and it was a happy and sweet reunion.  We were very close as young adults, and our Mothers close sisters.  We decided that our Moms probably had a hand in our reunion.  Mark called it a God wink.  
Today we are celebrating Irene Day!

Remembering my Mom with love today, her 101st Birthday. Let’s commemorate with a new holiday, IRENE DAY!  Celebrating all the remarkable girls in our family who bear her name. Honoring  Irene, a beautiful woman with a big heart, and a name that has a special meaning, PEACE.  Mom, your legacy is your family, and these girls who will carry on, with hook in hand.

(Mom was an avid crocheter, as is Kristen, Emma and soon little Irene.)

 After a busy weekend baby wrangling, I took the morning to drive to Wisconsin, ALONE!
If you know me, that statement is amazing.  Since I lost my dearest, I so miss him and miss all the things we did together.  Each year we looked forward to certain events.  Seeing the snow sculptures in Lake Geneva each winter was one of them. I knew with the fifty degree Sunday we had, that I might find puddles instead of sculptures.  I mostly found rubble.

 Some sculptures were still standing, but the features were all melted down.

 Most had just toppled.

You could at least see that this was a person.

It was good to go and reminisce and listen to music and to be honest, cry.
A hundred memories, of a hundred rides up to Wisconsin together.
I always thought it was heaven to be with Tyke, wherever we were.
 I have survived these last eight months, but I will never get used to being without him.

I have been sewing...hemming pants for son Jon and mending for SIL Doug.  They saw the sewing machine up and took action.  I have been sewing but not accomplishing much.  If you notice my attention span is short.  I jump from project to project, thought to thought, but I have ideas.  There are things I want to accomplish, so that in itself is a good sign, right?

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny