A Joyful Tuesday

A Joyful Tuesday

Month One of joy is almost over, so how is my Joy Meter doing? What sparked joy in January?

Well, there were so many things!

The joy started with “virtual cheers” shared with Honore´ (okay, maybe this happened for me before midnight, but I am counting it!)

Joy continued with Mary’s help on this bit of hat knitting.

Joy overflowed in the books I read this month I finished 6 books this month! Best of the bunch: The Nix, The Secret History, Moonglow, and The Cruelest Month.

There was joy in the unity of the Woman’s March on Pittsburgh.

There has been so much joy in daily stitching – I just must add today’s stitches and the first month is done! I am so happy with this new outlet for creativity!

And, there was all kinds of joy inspired by all of you. Joy from your comments – joy from your posts – and most importantly, joy from the community we share!

What brought you joy in January?



Today’s Think Write Thursday is to write about Thanksgiving.

I am most thankful to have discovered Michelle recently and I participated in both Gratitude Week as well as Just Five Things.

So, today – I am going to challenge you all to spend some time today thinking about what or who you are thankful for.

It can be things – we are indeed a rich country with an abundance of things! Things like running water, heat, transportation, a multitude of shopping choices, with a multitude of items to choose from. Or things like a table full of food today – perhaps celebrating with friends and family.

But, what about being thankful for the intangible things. Things like kindness, good will, open-minds, open-hearts, love, and peace.

I will share my thankful list, but I will be thinking about this numerous times today – and as I learned with Michelle – in the course of a day, the things you think about can change dramatically. Powerfully. Exponentially. But, here is my start:

  • Food that is so abundant and has been prepared with love
  • Steve – who will share this quiet day with me
  • Family – who while they might be far away, they are always close in my heart
  • Quiet morning meditations that help me center my day and myself
  • Pandora’s timely email yesterday with a list of Thanksgiving stations which will keep me from driving Steve crazy with Christmas music (rather now I can do that with Thanksgiving music instead!)

Today, whether you are with family and friends or are celebrating alone – I will be thinking about all of you, with deep thanks in my heart for our paths crossing – even if it is only here on the internet.

If you would like to join us on Think Write Thursdays, Carole and I would love to have you! You can sign up here.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. May your day be overflowing with thankfulness.

Once I was a Quilter

Once I was a Quilter

I have been watching with great interest some hand stitching in my Instagram feed, particularly from David of Southern Cross Fibre and Vicki knitorious. They are each hand stitching on different projects that are equally beautiful. Vicki’s Alabama Chanin inspired stitching is incredibly gorgeous and I am very intrigued by this method of slow stitching. David, however, has taken to a field that I have some experience with, although I did not do any hand piecing as he is doing, and his results are absolutely stunning.

Why does this all interest me so much? Well, early in the 1990’s I was an avid quilter. Okay, maybe not avid, perhaps it is better to say that I was a member of a Quilting Group of avid quilters who had been quilting together for years before they invited me (the novice) to join them. The group met weekly throughout the year, working on one large quilt that they would enter into the Tulip Time Quilt Show. The most challenging quilt that I worked on with them was this hand appliqued flower quilt. Each block was hand appliqued and then the blocks were machine assembled. However, the best part, for me, happened once the quilt was carefully stitched into the quilting frame. Then the quilting could begin! Those were quite simply the best times, with all of us sitting around the quilt, carefully stitching the fabric in front of us. The key was to never be able to tell where one quilter’s stitches began and another ended. I look at this quilt today and to my eye there is no difference in any of the quilting at all. And if these stitches could talk, what stories they could tell about the joys, the heartaches, the struggles, and the lives of the quilters. This quilt took a good number of months to complete with the end goal being to sell it and start the process all over again. My then husband surprised me and bought it at the quilt show, which might have been one of the nicest things he ever did. The quilt won a ribbon at the quilt show, but it holds far greater meaning for me in the memories of all the stitches it contains, worked by the women I grew to love dearly. It is a vivid reminder of all we shared together.

PicMonkey CollageI just loved sitting around the quilt with those ladies, stitching and talking every week but, all too soon my house was filled with children and getting to quilting became a challenge, especially with a spouse who traveled most of the time. Sadly, I soon became far too busy to quilt and working on a large quilt at home was not very “child friendly”. I did continue quilting for a couple of years at home in the evenings when the kids were tucked away in bed and I managed to make several miniature quilts, some of which even won some awards as well!

I love the basket quilt, pictured above, that hangs over the back of a tiny,  hand-made wooden chair with the well-loved Raggedy Ann of my youth.

But, my favorite is this Autumn Leaves quilt that I made (and subsequently had framed to hang on my wall.)

I think often of those ladies that I quilted with and learned from, and while many of them are no longer here; the things I learned from them have not left me.

There are days that I really miss quilting, but then I am reminded of the lack of space we have, and, more importantly – my lack of time. It is nice though, that the slow stitch movement is shining light on the forgotten art of hand quilting and sewing. And, I hope they are never forgotten!

My weekend in 75 pictures or less…

My weekend in 75 pictures or less…

On Friday, we headed off early with the thought of stopping along the way to do a little sightseeing. It was not raining in Pittsburgh, however the closer we got to Maryland the darker and more ominous it got!

And, before we crossed the Pennsylvania state line, the rain started.

Hard rain.

Sheets of rain.

Yeah. Stopping along the way was not an option. However, the hotel was fantastic and we were glad to have a dry place to stay for the night.


It did not rain on Saturday even though it looked like it could at any moment. However, the mud.

Oh, man, the mud! Neither one of us planned for the mud! This kept us out of some of the vending areas. Lesson learned, be prepared for anything!


However, we got there bright and early to get in line for a Jenny the Potter mug! And we were successful – not one, but two mugs were obtained! And it was so nice to talk with Decibelle Doughnut and Janie Sparkles Dad, Stephen Houghton, we talked bread. My bread book list has grown by one and I am going to hopefully have some seedy rye guys in my future! Jenny the Potter’s booth was the best place to start the festival!


We went from there to Amy King’s booth. A huge fan girl moment for me – having been a Spunky Club member, and having taken her Craftsy class on spinning. Can I just say that she is more lovely and generous in person!


The line at Miss Babs was legendary.festival collageThe crowds were not at all daunted by the weather or the mud. It was so nice to be surrounded by people who love fiber, sheep, and wool!

However, I heard that there was a Flat Iron present and I really wanted to see it! It did not disappoint. Oh, man. Want! The footprint of the wheel is so manageable if you live with limited space! I am eagerly awaiting them to be on the market soon!


We saw sheep. So. Many. Sheep!

sheep collageAlmost the best part of the trip was seeing so many different breeds. I even saw some of the Roclans Farms sheep – they won some nice awards with their fleeces at the festival this year and their sheep are really beautiful!

janelle collageI met up with the group from Sheepspot. Janelle even had freshly spun and plied Perendale yarn from the latest Breed Club shipment! Gorgeous yarn, Janelle!

We headed off to the Fleece Sale and I turned around and before my eyes was Clara Parkes. My mouth engaged before my brain and I said her name perhaps a bit loud. Her manners were far better than mine as she asked me if I was enjoying the festival. Clara, thank you for your being so gracious in light of my star-struck-stupidity! But, really. Clara Parkes, people!

I looked at a good number of fleeces but did not succumb to the temptation. I actually was fairly moderate in my purchases! Outside of the Jenny the Potter Mugs, I only left with a skein of Briar Rose Fiber’s Stella, a batt from ITW, and a very unique skein from Wool out of Wales!

sheep haul collage

By late afternoon on Saturday Steve was ready to go, so we got in the car and headed back towards Pittsburgh. The drive home seemed to go much quicker than the drive there. I even managed to get a few pictures of the trees in various stages of new leaf growth – a beautiful tapestry of green covering the mountains around us.


On Sunday, the sun was shining brilliantly here and while my Mother’s Day was quiet with all my kids scattered about the country! I did spend some time in the garden in the sun. The temperatures were moderate and the sun felt so wonderful. My herb garden is planted and I also got some eggplant in.

garden collageThere was even a bit of knitting time later on in the day. The perfect ending to a wonderful weekend!

Those Replay Moments

Those Replay Moments

This week, in honor of Ground Hog Day (the movie?? the holiday??), Carole has set us an interesting task:

10 Moments/Events/Days In Your Life You’d Like To Repeat

Well, I can assure you that even though there are PLENTY of days that I wish never happened, there are some that I would relive every. single. day.

  1. The “Younger Kids Days” – though I am sure that the reality was more hectic but my memories tell me these were truly simpler days. Now we are scattered all over but, oh to be back here with the replay button.
  2. Though she has been gone almost 23 years – not a day goes by that I do not think about my Nana. I miss her terribly and wish I had written down more things she talked about.
  3. The days of “Good Night’s Sleep” before insomnia rudely arrived on the scene. Which goes hand in hand with…
  4. …Those days of boundless energy when the task list was much longer but could get done much quicker!
  5. The days of younger eyes – although I do so love reading on my Kindle or iPad where I can make the font larger. It was much nicer to be able to pick up any book, regardless of font size, and read it!
  6. My first trip to Scotland, I will never forget the first view of Edinburgh Castle. I have been back only once, but it remains one of my favorite places ever.
  7. Canoeing the Big Two Hearted River – yes that Big Two Hearted River.

  8. Reading Charlotte’s Web to my children – a chapter or two at night, just before bed. Exactly like my mother did so many years before, and experiencing it all over through their eyes.
  9. The very first “Sleep Over at a Fiber Shop” at the shop Beth owned in Howell, MI. So much fun! I was fortunate to have this experience twice, but would jump at another opportunity!
  10. Lunch with Jillian last Saturday. However, if this was a weekly occurrence, life would be so very good!

There you have it, Gentle Reader, my list of replay days!

Have a great Ground Hog Day!


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