Welcome Anticipation

Welcome Anticipation

I am taking part in sprite writes virtual Advent tour and today I am sharing Anticipation.

My favorite part of Christmas is the anticipation that Advent brings.

I love the twinkling lights, the decorations, the candles, and the music. They all add to the anticipation of the season – that feeling of getting ready for something special.

It was not always this way – I grew up in a house where we did not put up a tree until Christmas Eve – and most years we took it down on the day after Christmas.

Perhaps because of that, the minute I had my own place – Christmas anticipation started early! Most years, decorating began the day after Thanksgiving – and I kept the decorations up until Twelfth Night. And, trees – I put up more than one. There was a “fancy” living room tree, a Santa Tree in the den, Kitchen Tree, and small trees in the bedrooms. But the best tree was the “kids tree” that they could decorate or undecorate as often as they wanted!

Christmas now is a more relaxed affair – there are not trees everywhere but, the anticipation of getting ready for something special is the part of Christmas that I hope to never let go.

A Tale of Two Teachers and an Aide

A Tale of Two Teachers and an Aide

Think Write Thursday this week is all about teachers – especially a favorite teacher that most influenced you and how.

Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges. Joyce Meyer

And thus, began the great internal debate – which teacher to use…

I suppose I am fortunate that I had so many great teachers over the years. However, there are two teachers and one very special aide who had tremendous impact on my life as a student and their influence stayed with me far beyond the classroom to my daily life.


To start out – I moved midway through first grade and that meant a new school – Lakewood Elementary on the “north side” of Holland, Michigan. Not much fun at all when you are a child of any age, but it was especially difficult because it was obvious that I was woefully behind my classmates in so many things. The worst of which was reading. I was not reading at all, yet my classmates were. Luckily, I spent time every single day with Mrs. Hayward and it was with her help that I began to read. She opened new doors for me and with her help I became a voracious reader. She helped me get caught up to my classmates and I then just blew past them. It might have been a slow start, but once I got going there was no stopping me! Thank you so much Mrs. Hayward!



The first teacher I want to share with you was my second-grade teacher, Miss Vanden Belt. Until I began to work on this post, I never realized that my second-grade year was her first year of teaching! Miss Vanden Belt was extra-special! She was the first teacher that truly made me excited about learning. I thought she was magical – she dressed just so perfectly, her enthusiasm was catching, and simply put – I just wanted to make her happy so I eagerly did whatever she asked! Now, I went to pre-historic grade school and there was never any homework. But, she kept the fire burning in me for reading and I devoured books – in class, from the school library, and even those great wonders – Scholastic Books! But, perhaps the best thing about Miss Vanden Belt was that she never forgot her students.


I could run into her in Meijer’s and she would be as excited to see you as she was when you walked into class each morning. And, when you saw her again, she remembered your last conversation and asked how things were. And, you knew she sincerely wanted to know. I have not seen Miss Vanden Belt in years, but I think of her often.



The last teacher that had a tremendous impact on my life was Mr. Berghorst – he was my high school English teacher. I really loved him and took as many classes with his as I could. He was a very popular teacher with the students. Honestly, I can confidently say that he was everyone’s favorite teacher. As you can see, he was such a snappy dresser and was so different from every other teacher I ever had. He was a bit theatrical and his room was not your typical class room in very conservative Holland, Michigan. Encircling the room were hundreds of New Yorker magazine covers. I had never heard of the New Yorker magazine before Mr. Berghorst and that was just one of many things that he opened my eyes to during the classes I had with him. He taught the importance of critical thinking. His class room was a place that fostered lively discussion and how crucial listening is. He shared that there was a big huge world outside of West Michigan and he encouraged us to discover it with open minds. In his class I learned to overcome my fear of speaking in public, I learned how to write a paper that someone would want to read, and I learned that an open mind is the best thing you could possibly possess.

These very special people all had a wonderful influence on what and who I am today. I am so very grateful for all they imparted to my life.

If you would like to join Carole and I on our Thursday writing journey, you can sign up here.


When Konmari Sparks Saudade

When Konmari Sparks Saudade

I had been so filled with joy in emptying out boxes and sorting through things from my move to Pittsburgh.


Overflowing with joy!

There were things that were easy to either move on to a new home or get rid of because if you have not used something in 3 years, you probably don’t need it right?

However, I moved here with LOTS of things from/for my kids. Things they made. Things I made for them. Things I loved dearly and that sparked such amazing joy.

If something sparks joy, Marie says it’s a keeper and this stuff sparks joy and then some! However, would they spark more joy in my children’s homes now?

Heidi Quilt

Two Year Old Hands carefully stitched.

I had to take a step back and reassess my Konmari process. There are things that Marie Kondo had left out of her amazing little book. She forgot about the Saudade items – those things that bring deep, nostalgic, and melancholic longing for a time that will never return.

So, I have begun a box or two that will go with us when we visit my kids at the end of the month. The sorting process has gone rather slowly as I have worked through the challenging task, and it has been filled with bittersweet memories and a wistful longing for days gone by.

I am going to need more Kleenex™ to get through this.




It was a quiet weekend at Casa del Katknits, but sometimes downtime is just the thing you need the most.

There was a lovely, but simple, happy hour on the porch Friday, with a simple kick off to Negroni Week. Sometimes, simple is best as we let the week go and welcome in the weekend.

I was saddened to read of the passing of Muhammad Ali. While I was never a fan of boxing, I was of fan of Mr. Ali’s. His passing brought to mind the one and only experience I had with the man. We were both on a flight from Chicago to LA some 30 or so years ago. He was in first class, I was not. However, on the flight a row or two in front of me was a family – mom, dad, and their 8 or 9-year-old son who had Down’s Syndrome. During the flight, Mr. Ali came back to ask the boy for his autograph. I am not sure how he knew the boy was there, but Mr. Ali spent at least 20 minutes talking with the young man – absolutely oblivious to everyone but the boy and his family. His shock when the boy asked him for his autograph was genuine and brought tears to my eyes then, and now. I will never forget this incredible man’s sincere kindness that day. Nor will I forget our brief, but spectacular, conversation while waiting with him for our respective pieces of luggage. He was truly a gentle soul and the void he leaves in this world will be difficult to fill. Rest in Peace, Mr. Ali, rest in peace.

Saturday was filled with reading and knitting as I worked on finishing my Indigo Cones. I was unhappy with how the shoulders joined and spent some time thinking about how to work them better. Sometimes insomnia is the best thing, especially when you have a challenge to solve. At least for me in this instance it helped!

Sunday was equally quiet, a trip to the library and some more knitting.

It was not an off the charts exciting weekend, but it was one of the most revitalizing ones I have spent in a long time. I am ready to face Monday renewed and refreshed for whatever it may bring!

Happy Monday, Gentle Readers – make it a good one!

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!

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