Abandoned Blogs…

Christmas 2009

How can it be so much time has passed since my last post?  Has life really been so busy??  I think perhaps the biggest  interruption has been the discovery of Facebook. It’s a wonderful/horrible thing!

It’s greatest gift is that it provides a means to find people you never thought you would see again. Old high school friends that have been lost over time and miles, classmates that you never really knew that you are meeting now as adults, uninhibited by age, popularity, cliques, and those other petty things that can make getting to know each other in high school so difficult.

It’s amazing to “meet” these wonderful people, many after little or no contact over the last 29 years.  And yet, some of these friendships seem to bloom so easily, some seem to start right where they left off, as if no time at all has passed and you are returning to a conversation that was momentarily interrupted.  Truely priceless…

That’s the wonderful.  The horrible is that I have found myself spending hours upon hours looking for friends, and then going through thousands of profiles and pictures catching up!!  It’s taken time, but I think I have finally managed to find a way to keep my Facebooking to a respectable and reasonable level.

We made a lot of improvements on the house this summer, finishing a beautiful porch that covers much of the front of our house, including a small one across the front of my studio.  Add to this a wide, curving sidewalk of stamped concrete, some sod and wildflowers, and it really has begun to look like home.

Mid-November brought some inconvenience when I had foot surgery that did some reconstruction of my foot, and has required months of recovery.  This meant that Brian fixed Thanksgiving dinner with help from my mom, and everyone pitched together to fix Christmas dinner.  It’s hard to do much when you can’t put ANY weight on your foot for 10 weeks!  I’m very glad to finally be getting around without crutches or my “wheelie”!  Next step will be abandoning the walking boot….

Christmas brought both kids with their spouses home, along with two of their friends (my kids I didn’t deliver), and then a Christmas dinner with Mom and Dad and yet another friend!  It was quite a houseful!  It was nice for Josh and Sarah, Emily and Luke to have the opportunity to spend a full week together here.

The house is again quiet, and the snow is almost gone, giving way to springlike weather.  I check daily for evidence of my crocuses and daffodils.  With the weather as warm as it is, it’s certainly possible.

Brian and I just spent our 27th Valentine’s Day together.  It was probably one of my favorites. We went to dinner and a movie Friday night, a much too rare occurance.  We went to Avatar, which was entertaining, but I couldn’t help but think, “Haven’t I seen this before? Yes! Only it was animated and called ‘Ferngully’!”

Saturday we went on a roadtrip to my home town to spend the evening with my parents, and Sunday was a lazy day, in comfy clothes, watching Daytona 500 together. Well, I managed until the much-too-long delay to fix the track. The amazing thing was Brian chilled completely, something he rarely is able to do.  It made for a perfect weekend.

Ahhh. It feels good to have a current blog post!  Maybe next time I’ll talk about quilting and digitizing!


My Little JayBird…

Josh is my beloved first born son….well…….my only son.  He surprised me last week with a belated Mother’s Day present, made by his own precious hands. It was a true gift from the heart, making the choice to make me a card rather than taking the simple route of buying an off-the-shelf, same-as-everyone-else card.  It was just too sweet not to share it here….

Mother's Day card from my baby boy
Mother’s Day card from my baby boy

Ahh, my little JayBird.  I just had to smile….Do you suppose it has anything to do with the fact that those little handprints match size 14 shoes, and belong to a young man that will be 24 in July???

I have always loved Josh’s sense of humor. He’s had wonderful comedic timing since he was a very small child…..and had a sense of what was funny….and a mischievous  side.  I think the first time I became keenly aware of it was when he was about two and we were talking across the fence to our neighbors….and he very quietly brought a sprinkler and set it up behind us.  Our neighbors had such a funny look on their faces that we turned to see what Josh was up to….just in time to see him turn the faucet on! We should have known then that life with this boy was going to be interesting!

And it has been!  This is my child that read voraciously from the time he was very young……and still  remembers everything he ever read.  And even as a young child, he could converse intelligently about those things he had read about,  and when challenged could tell us his source–often down to the month and year of Reader’s Digest he read it from. 

Sometimes it was really impressive, especially to  adults.  (Although I’m not sure if impressed would be the word I would use when Josh added 12 more methods of birth control to the ones the other students listed in Sex Ed class…6 of which *I* had never heard of!!!) I think one of my favorite stories happened one year at a Knowledge Bowl match.  Josh was the captain, and his role was to answer those obscure questions…not so much math or English, but the stuff on Jeopardy that no normal person would know the answer to. That was where he excelled! At the end of the match this teenage girl walked up to me with a strange look on her face and asked me, “What do you do, plug him in at night???”  🙂 

It was always fun when  the reader would be asking the question and they wouldn’t even get to the actual QUESTION part of the question when Josh would jump in and come up with the right answer!  I was always glad when the other kids would  ask the reader to finish reading the question  so we would all know “the rest of the story”!  He had this incredible gift of anticipation… and he also has this ability to take the information given and make educated guesses about things he knew nothing about.  It was amazing. 

Good thing he takes after his father!  Me?  I can read it/learn it and lose it just as quickly…unless it’s something that interests me.  Brian’s told me at least 50 times how many dimples are on a golf ball.  Guess what?  I can’t tell you how many–I have no idea!  I mean, who really cares??? I have more important things to remember!  Like how to draw this kind of feather, or how to piece this kind of quilt block, or which plants the deer MIGHT not eat…. you know, things that MATTER!

Josh and I have always had a very special relationship.  Boy, do we know how to push each others’ buttons.  But I would do anything, ANYTHING for him.  We’ve been through some tough stuff together with his migraines.  Lot’s of nights in the ER, or in hospital rooms. I wish I could have gone through all of those things for him…

I’m incredibly proud of Josh.  First of all, he’s a really neat kid! Ummm, young man. 🙂  He has ADD, so there have been some interesting challenges along the way–and dang if I didn’t learn that he got it from ME. Oy. In some ways it has been a good thing for him–it’s certainly given him the opportunity to try a number of career choices! LOL (Yes Josh, I am SO glad you are still working at ZLB!!!!)

He really is a brilliant young man, but more than that, he is loving and kind and gentle and caring.  He adores his wife, who adores him back. Sarah has been a wonderful helpmate for him, and we are so blessed to have her in our family.

They have provided us with our first Grand….puppies.  First came Tipsy, a Burnese Mountain Dog, and more recently, Maverick, a little beagle.  They are so cute, and love to come to Grammy and Poppy’s to play out in the country!

Josh and Sarah are in the process of  moving to a small house from their apartment, so the 4 of them will have a wonderful new home with room to stretch out. I’m so happy for them, their current neighborhood isn’t safe at all!

Sarah works as a receptionist in a medical clinic, and Josh works in a Plasma Center.  Josh’s real passion right now  is not the paramedic thing it used to be, but culinary arts. He would like to go to Culinary Arts School in the future when the economy changes some.  He’s an incredible cook, with creative ideas…I think he’d be wonderful.  He has ALWAYS had a passion for cooking… I’ll never forget the Mother’s Day that he brought me breakfast in bed when he was about 8 years old…Eggs Bennedict. Yup. Right out of the Boxcar Children’s Cookbook.  Yum. um. Chk. ahem. mm. cough. chk.  Ok, I don’t do breakfast, and if I do it’s HOURS after I wake up.  And here was this wonderful little meal my beloved baby boy made me with this poached egg (which I do like) with this…this….this…well?  I’m really not sure what that hollandaise was made out of!  Can you imagine a little boy loving his mom this much??  I’m very blessed. 😉 

So, to this little boy that made the Eggs Bennedict, and the young man that made me the wonderful, construction paper Mother’s Day card, I say “Thank You!”  You brighten my life.

And one more thing…Your mommy loves you, JayBird.

Bohemian, Free Spirit, Flower Child

Bohemian: A person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behavior. (And then some not so nice things.)

Free Spirit: a person with a highly individual or unique attitude, lifestyle, or imagination; nonconformist.

Flower Child: rejecting conventional society and advocating love, peace, and simple, idealistic values.

Over the last several years as our daughter Emily has been living in Portland, OR, I’ve been watching her grow into a lovely young lady. She has always had her own mind about things, was never one to conform with what everyone in school was doing, was always “set apart”. As she matures, it is very interesting to see where her interests and focus lay, and to see how they have changed as she has…and to see how in other ways she is very constant and unchanging.

She is someone with a style all of her own, (just like everyone else in Portland!) She ranges from a very professional look for when she’s working in the classroom, to a more, well, what I would consider a more “Bohemian” look. A modern day hippie, maybe, but with showers and high morals. 🙂

I love the word “Bohemian”, but when I looked up it’s actual definition, I really don’t think it really defines her…She is much more of a flower child or a free spirit. I love the definition above of a flower child, I think it suits her, although she might not agree. But Love and Peace and Simplicity ARE important to her. And she and Luke are also unique, creative, imaginative and somewhat non-conformists.

No, She and Luke don’t live in a commune (yet?)… but we do sit on cushions on their floor in front of their legless dining table, and move aside the beautiful gong–their most prized wedding present–to make room for the vegetarian fare they are about to serve us. I can trust that any food on the table has been purchased from a free trade store, and she will look absolutely beautiful serving it in clothing carefully picked from any number of thrift stores in the area.

Am I being critical?? Not at all. This really COULD be the generation that changes things for the better. I’m incredibly proud of them and what they are doing and the choices they are making.

Emily and her husband Luke have been living in Portland, Oregon attending college there for the past 4 years.  If you don’t know Portland, it’s a very interesting city!  

Eric M. Steen in his blog describes it as “Portland, known as the microbrew mecca of the planet, the bike-friendliest city in the US, and potentially the greenest city in the nation”.  Jeff Miller of Travel Portland calls it “environmentally conscious, outdoorsy, independent, creative, friendly and unfiltered”. Maybe it can be summed up in the commonly seen bumper sticker “Keep Portland Weird.”

We experienced just a taste of that the first weekend in May when we were in Portland for their college graduation. We celebrated Luke’s brother Chad’s birthday in Laurelhurst Park with the entire Martin clan and then some. While the “boys” were playing on the “slack line”, one of the Portland “weird” came along. Out going for a lovely stroll this beautiful spring day was someone dressed in flowing pants and a beautiful gold lame’ type jacket, with what looked like an Asian paper parasol. Okay, not so weird I guess. Until you add the part that he, yes he,  is on stilts 2-3′ tall, and he had such intriguing makeup to go with the…well, I guess it was like a mardi gras mask, with teal feathers…on one side of his face, and it appeared to be glued on. It actually was a bit fascinating for this “hick from the sticks”! He made me think of a butterfly, sort of. He was very graceful…and very Portland.

Portland is a place where anything goes…there are some pretty liberal ideas there! But it’s a beautiful place when you catch it on a sunny day, and it seems to suit them well.

It’s hard to believe that Emily and Luke will celebrate their first wedding anniversary next week. It hardly seems possible–I still haven’t made them their wedding quilt, a year surely hasn’t passed this quickly! I will have to share another time about Emily and this wonderful young man she married. (And, of course, about Josh and his beautiful wife Sarah!)

Two weeks ago they graduated from Cascade Christian College, both of them Summa Cum Laude. It was a great day. Here is a very short clip of her getting her diploma. I’m so sorry Brian didn’t have the camera ready to catch Luke getting his diploma.

I was particularly moved by Emily’s choice to have her brother, Josh, be her escort for graduation. I made it through two weddings without crying, but seeing them walking down that aisle together got me. Those two were the best of friends, and worst of enemies growing up. No, really, they were just best of friends, and tormentors of each other. 😉 When it came down to it, they would have done anything for the other. What a blessing for a parent to have children who love each other so deeply.

Wow, it’s getting late, and I’m getting too sentimental. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Remember, God is Good!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Happy Mother’s Day y’all! God gave us an incredible spring day here in the valley. It’s 9:00 am and already pushing 60°.

My sweet husband was out shopping early this morning and brought home two beautiful hanging baskets of flowers to add color to the front porch area.  I have ALWAYS wanted hanging baskets, but I’ve never been able to justify the price…but gifts are different, right? 🙂  I can’t wait to get them hung.  Now I just need one of those long nosed watering cans–sounds like a shopping trip to me!

He also bought me a pair of red Crocs. You know, those incredibly ugly, holey garden shoes that have made their way onto the feet of quilters everywhere. If you haven’t read the banterings between Kimmy and Carol, you’ve really missed out!  Carol loves ’em, Kimmy thinks they are hideous.  I’ve always sided with Kimmy on this one!

It’s not that I’m not willing to sacrifice style for comfort.  I started wearing Birkenstocks before they were cool because I had foot pain, and far less of it when I wore Birks.  And a little color is okay–my first Birks actually had a paisley print on them! (It was subdued, though.) Those were the days when you could pretty much tell who was “growin’ their own” in the Methow Valley by whether or not they were wearing their Birkenstocks and  khakis. And I’ve always loved khakis…

But crocks…they are so….so….well, really, really UGLY!  And they aren’t subtly ugly, they are always bright-colored-in-your-face-ugly! And as I mentioned, these aren’t a nice, mellow, blend-with-the-dirt beige, they are RED.

I admit I have tried crocs on in the past because so many people have raved about how comfortable they are. I’ve tried, really, I’ve tried. Maybe it’s because I have really narrow feet, but I feel like I’m walking around in those big red shoes the clowns wear. And I can only imagine how nasty it must feel when your feet sweat and you are slipping and sliding in there. MMM, yummy.

I adore my husband, who was so very thoughtful to buy these for me. (Has he EVER seen me wear RED in the 26 years we’ve been together?? I think not!) So I smiled brightly as I gave him the warmest hug I’m capable of pre-coffee, pre-toothbrushing, and thanked him for the wonderful Mother’s Day gifts, especially raving over the gorgeous hanging baskets. With a glint in his eye, he mentions the crocs…..and laughs….and tells me that the only ones they had in my size were red. 🙂  Whew, it was a joke!  But you know, they just might come in handy running out to  do something in the morning when there is still a bit of dew on the grass (when we have some)…..yea, right. Like I’m ever up THAT early! 😉

So I am prepared to have a beautiful day today. It started off with a smile. I will call my Mom soon and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, and thank her for being my mom. Over the last 10 years or so she has become my best friend, and I feel pretty lucky to have that relationship with her.  It came about to a great degree because of quilting. But that’s another story for another day.

I hope I will hear from Josh and Emily today….they are usually good about calling me.  Josh and Sarah usually spend the day with her family in Spokane as they do most Sundays, and Emily and Luke are down in Redding, CA where they attended the wedding of college friends yesterday. They may be a little distracted and forget, but I’m one of those lucky moms that hears from my kids enough to know that they truly love me, every day, not just today. 🙂

So have a great day today, whether you are a Mother, a Daughter, or a Son.  And don’t forget to call Mom….

Hooray, Hooray, it’s the 8th of May!

Where has this year gone?  Winter lasted so long, and now we are already into May.  It’s absolutely gorgeous out today, a balmy 57 degrees, warm and toasty in the sunshine.

I have the creepin’ crud.  One of the worst colds I remember ever having, but at least it’s not the Swine Flu!  Yesterday I wasn’t sure I wanted to live, today is a much better day!

Brian is working out in the “yard”, and I use the word loosely.  We bought this raw land two years ago.  Eleven acres, with two that are on the valley floor, and the rest are on a very steep mountainside.  We are talking about Washington Mountains, not Kansas mountains!! ( See picture below) The valley floor is probably only about a quarter mile across, so we are nestled in this lightly wooded area which is just 4 miles from the beautiful Columbia River, and about 5-6 from Lake Chelan. We saw this property and knew this was where we wanted to build our home someday.

Someday came sooner than we actually had planned.  We broke ground in July last year, and moved in in November. It was built by a company with a limited number of floor plans, and with owner involvement, which saved us quite a bit of money–we paid something like $78 a square foot.  That’s pretty reasonable for around here.

We made the decision to start building in February, I think.  Ah, the joy of permits.  And septics.  And all the other pre-construction things that have to be in place before you can start.  We had actually hoped to start by June, but we had to wait on things like a flood inspection on our property.  Okay, so this is really funny–from the highway along the river, where we turn onto our road, to where our house is, there is a raise in elevation of about 1000 feet!  To the lake isn’t quite that much, but the chance of us being flooded out without another flood like Noah had to deal with is pretty unlikely!

We started the building process knowing we needed to sell our house…the market wasn’t quite as bad in February as it is right now! But we had a contingency offer on it by September, and in November they dropped the contingency and we closed in January.  We feel very blessed!

Back to the limited number of floor plans… needless to say, none of the floorplans had anything called a “longarm studio” in them, although ours does have what is called a “craft room”.  It is currently called our “crap room” as it has turned into a mud porch.  It’s a great room to have, and we’ve added 12′ of 24″ deep cabinets–we just need to fill them and get more things put away!

We knew we would use two bays of the attached three car garage for the studio, but what they wanted $$$ for the change order for them to do it was rediculous. So they built it according to the original plans, and finally in April we were able to get the walls up, flooring down and facade changed–and I love the changes!!






I’m really glad we were able to change the studio space to look like living space on the outside because we have a 3 car shop 30′ x 60′ just 15′ from the house! So it looked like garages for 6! The remaining house garage, once the studio stuff actually gets moved from there into the studio, will be for storage and probably the 4-wheeler.  In the bad weather, Brian will probably park his Honda Civic in there that he commutes to work in–rather than having to go out in the weather to the shop garage.  There is room in it for my Rav-4, but he goes out more than I do, so it makes sense for him to park there more than me.

Hopefully, by winter we will actually have built the screen porch between the buildings, which will keep us out of the weather anyway.  The neighbors have one and we fell in love with theirs…unfortunately, where ours is we don’t have the same view as theirs–ours is a tunnel view limited by the house and the shop on either side. 😦  Regardless, it will be great to be out of the weather, and I will be really glad that the animals will have some place to get out of the weather when we leave them outdoors.  There will be a doggy door for them.  We have coyotes around, and hopefully if there was ever a problem they wouldn’t follow them into this “human” space.  Besides, our little Japanese Chin/Shih Tzu Ichiro would most likely be sleeping in there in the first place if he were out at night.  He’s the independant little cuss that sometimes won’t come in. Sam, our Portuguese Water Dog is easy to get in at night–he likes all the comforts of sleeping on a people bed!

So, Brian is done playing, um, working in the yard and is putting the second coat of ceiling paint on in my studio!  Yippee!  After that a second coat of wall paint and then I can move in ALL of my studio stuff–imagine it–all of my longarm stuff IN ONE PLACE!! It’s been awkward working out of our guest room with just some of my thread, some of my tools, etc. I’m getting so excited!  At least my A1 is set up in there.  Did I mention that the drywall guy finished on Wednesday, the primer went up and ceiling painted, and Bamboo flooring went down on Thursday for a Friday set up and delivery of the A1??? 🙂

Yup–and this was the Friday before MQX, so I was working on refining my handouts for classes and  everything else that comes with preparing for a class by one who procrastinates until the last minute!  I had my old handouts for my Feathers, Freeform to Formal class, but there was so much more I was able to add this time around, and I totally revamped my Border Blitz class…I still hate the name. It’s always been Border Bonanza….I think I first taught in in something like ’99…but someone else took the name for their border class, so I had to come up with something different. 😦


Oh, back to the Studio…The Statler is out there, but it isn’t set up and running yet.  By the way, if anyone is interested in a gently used Nolting/Statler set up, let me know!  It works perfectly, and is still totally supported by Statler, even though Gammil owns it now.  This was a condition that Paul put into the contract as I understand it. There are plenty of us out there!! It has the latest upgrades installed, and works perfectly.  The upgrades  will continue to be free.  Reason it’s for sale?? DOWNSIZING!!!  We are IQ dealers, and I have the IQ set up on the A1, and I really would like to get down to one machine! I know, I know, everyone else is looking at adding a machine! But I’m spending more time digitizing than quilting for others now. This also means that my Nolting Pro is for sale also.  We were Nolting dealers for several years. Again, this is a gently used machine, used mostly for demo.  If you are interested, just post a comment and I will contact you by email.

If I keep typing instead of posting, it will no longer be the 8th of May, so I will post it now with thoughts still running through my head!  I can always add another post, right?

Hello world!

Just playin' around

I’ve been meaning to do the blog thing for some time now, but I’ve just never got around to it….and then someone asked me tonight if I had a blog or some place where they could look at my quilting.  So, in response to that, I officially now have a blog!

As I have shared recently, with the purchase of my new machine, I have entered into a new phase of my longarm life.  Although I will continue to quilt for my favorite clients, I am going to include MYSELF in that list as well!  I am SO excited to really tap into my own creativity, and to really enjoy the process while I’m doing it!

Over the past few years I have spent a great deal of time designing and digitizing designs for computerized longarm systems.  What has been really cool is that the more feather designs I have drawn, the more elaborate my freehand feathers have become, and they quilted out just about as easily as when I drew them!  I must admit that I’ve done very little freehand quilting in the last several years–with a Statler and an IQ, who needed to?  But now I’m returning to my roots a bit, and enjoying the freedom and the joy of freehand quilting. 

The above picture is of the first 10 minutes of quilting I did after my A1 was delivered and set up.  Dare I admit that it was also the first freehand work I’ve done in AGES, with the exception of playing around on the machines when we were vending shows?  Actually, I don’t think it looks too bad–especially since I was waiting for my glasses to come in and I was seeing two of every line I stitched!  And did I mention that it felt amazing quilting even that little bit?  My poor dealer….she couldn’t get me to play with the machine while she was here–I’ve had a number of machines since I started all this in ’96, so I wasn’t worried about the quilting part.  She had tweaked the machine and tested it out with her quilting, and it was working perfectly, so that was good enough for me at the time.  I’m someone who likes to get acquainted with new things in private… Poor Megan, I think it was more than a week later before I got out to the machine to play with it!

I’ve been messing around with a bunch of ideas of stuff I want to quilt–I’ve got this huge piece of fabric on, I might as well play on it, right?  And if it turns out wonderful, I may have to raffle it off or something, since I am NOT a navy blue kind of girl…  I can’t wait to find the time to go out and play some more–I need to do it so I can get a couple of customer quilts that have been waiting quilted!!

Well, Carla, Here’s to you!!  I finally have a blog!!!