Friday, February 29, 2008

Sweet Nome Quilt Company

Well, really, it's Sweet Home Quilt Company...but for this week it's been transformed into an Alaskan port of call on the Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop's "Cruising Into Spring" fantasy tour. All of Melisa's great ideas and hard work have transformed our favorite little quilt shop. You enter through this glacier and then are greeted with an icy blue and white foyer, the centerpiece of which is a beautiful flannel quilt display that gets immediate raves. There are trees, bears, moose, owls, etc. in all the nooks and crannies of the shop and our Shop Hop quilt this year is called "Alaskan Nights" and looks like the Northern Lights with bright marbled stars cutting through a midnight blue-black background. Pretty cool.

To help shoppers get their passports stamped, their door prize drawings filled out, and their shopping needs met, there are lots of "lumberjacks" (or "lumberjills") on hand. Here are Janna Jo, Becky, and Mellie showing off their tattoos that say, "Born to Quilt". Hey, every lumberjack worth his/her salt needs a tattoo! And here's Becky being friendly with one of the bears.

Another shift of lumberjacks was upstairs. That's Liz just standing by while Bre takes her axe handle name tag to Pam's head!

All in all, we're having a ball...working hard...and hopefully making lots of money and many new friends for the shop. Shop Hop is always a lot of work but also a lot of fun. There are two more come on in and don't miss out on any of it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Surely We Should Pray for Shirley

I'm always amazed when I find out someone is actually reading this blog. I know I have a few friends that check in regularly (get a life), but since there are seldom any comments, I forget that I'm not just rambling to myself most of the time.

One such surprise came the other night. I was talking on the phone to my BFF Shirley in Illinois. She mentioned reading my blog! I know I can e-mail her at work, but she can't open pictures and if I send them to her home computer she never looks at it because she doesn't get on the computer much at home. So I never dreamed she was keeping up with me. I was delighted to hear this and we talked about some of the recent posts. Then she said, "Yes, I read it. Prayers for this person and that one, but no prayers for me...even though I've been sick for 3 weeks now!"

So let's all pray that Shirley's antibiotics kick in now that she's seen fit to go to a doctor and get some. And while we're at it, let's mention her failing (with age) eyesight. And please, Lord, if it's not too much to ask: could you do something about the hair?


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Meeting My Deadlines

Quite a while ago I had an idea for a new quilt design that I wanted to make for this spring. I wanted to have it finished in time for the Shop Hop, of course, so I needed to get going since the Hop is pretty early this year. I wanted to hand quilt it, so I had to allow more time for that. The idea was for a quilt called Buttons and Bows (don't start singing'll stick in you head!). I wanted to make bow tie blocks in bright, springy colors and put little yo-yo flowers with button centers across the face of the quilt and in the corners. First it took a little while to find the right fabric, but then I was on my way. Then the buttons I needed were on back order. They finally came in last week...and were the wrong color!! Melisa would have liked to have the quilt yesterday, but I spent the weekend running around -- even going out of town -- to find the buttons to finish the sample and take a photo so I could finish the pattern. It all got done yesterday and she'll have the finished quilt and the patterns today. Here is a picture of the flower yo-yos. If you want to see the whole quilt, you'll have to come into the shop.

Another project I have looked at for a while is a table runner called "Tulip Bells". I am amazed at the technique this designer has come up with. I want to teach it as a class. Melisa got the patterns in just a couple of weeks ago. So I got busy and put the blocks together -- working on them on the plane to Tucson last week, even. Then I sent it off to be machine quilted. Melisa got it back this weekend and sent it to me yesterday along with what I needed for the binding. It's basically a class sample, but we figured that IF it could be finished in time for the Shop Hop it might sell some patterns and be something else new and springy to hang up. So I finished that last night, too, and will take it in today.

I'm excited about going in to work today to see how it's all coming together. Jerry took some ruler holders over there yesterday that he had finished making and he said there was lots of activity. Melisa is so creative and hard working and I just know this year's Shop Hop will be every bit the fun and success it was last year!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Charles - Chuckie - Chuck

I have one brother. His name is Charles John Berry. My dad's name was Charles Raymond my brother isn't a true "junior". But when you name a son after his father there is always confusion, so you need a way to clarify who it is you're talking about (or yelling at, or blaming for something). So, growing up, my dad was Charles and my brother was called "Chuckie". It's okay to picture the familiar nightmare here -- it rings true for me.

After a certain age, my brother let us all no uncertain terms...that he despised being called "Chuckie". I still use it on occasion and have been known to address his mail that way sometimes. When my nephew, Patrick, was growing up he'd get a kick out of it. When they were getting ready to leave after visiting us one time, he asked me to "Call my dad Chuckie one more time before we go".

So my now grown-up brother goes by Chuck. That's right...Chuck Berry! Now we have to clarify who we're talking about by saying, "Not the skinny black guy...the balding white guy".

But all kidding aside, I must confess that I have come to admire and appreciate my little brother. I give his wife, Linda, credit for helping him to become a fine adult. They have raised two exemplary children. He has worked hard and become a success in his career and an asset to his community. He went to pharmacy school in St. Louis and became a pharmacist for Walgreens early on. He took business administration courses and is still with them as a district manager. They're living back in the St. Louis area again and he's on the board of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy where he got his degree and he serves on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The reason I'm talking about him today is that he called yesterday to say that he and Linda would be coming for a visit this weekend. I'm so glad they're coming because while they visit with mom during the days, I can work at the quilt shop for the big Shop Hop this weekend and not feel bad about leaving her for 3 days in a row! Then I can visit with them in the evening.

This is the new and improved, revised and metamorphosed (it's a word -- I looked it up) Chuck Berry with his son, Patrick...who, by the way, now wants to be called "Pat". :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Travels, Trials and Tribulation

Well, okay, that title may be a little dramatic, but I flew to Tucson this past weekend and I just don't care much for travel. It was no big deal...stuff that anyone else would take in stride...but I just don't get excited about traveling.

I left on Saturday morning, more than an hour after our scheduled departure time. There was something wrong with part of the door on the plane. Okay...I'll be glad to wait while you get that fixed. The weather was clear here and in Tucson, but the radar showed some pretty hefty storms in between. When we finally got ready for takeoff the voice of the faceless pilot told us we were going to have a smooth flight. I wondered which radar he'd been looking at. About an hour into the flight...and for about an hour...we pitched and bounced and rolled and yawed (whatever that is) pretty good. We had our peanuts, but then the flight attendants had to strap themselves in before we got our beverages. I couldn't sew because I couldn't thread the needle. I was dozing before that, but that turbulance was a real eye-opener! But they did play the movie and it was Jerry Seinfeld's "Bee Movie" and it was pretty good. After that the rest of the flight was smooth enough.

Coming back on Monday afternoon we were half an hour late leaving because the plane was late getting there. My sister, a veteran flyer, said most flights don't leave on time any more. I get antsy. But after a delay of almost an hour, we were in the air and this flight only had a few bumps. The movie coming back was "Dan In Real Life". It was predictable but cute and I liked it. Also, this time the drinks came with the snacks so that was good.

I went out there to escort my mom back here for a visit of a couple of months. Her health and strength are failing and she wasn't able to come at Christmas time this year. She has wanted very badly to see Savannah and Emery and, of course, I can't say that I blame her. So we had a long day, but got her here safely and now she's settled in and the kiddies will be here in about an hour. She's excited about that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

He Done Good -- Again

Jerry has always done very well for Valentine's Day. Yesterday was no exception. I had to work all day and then teach a class at night, so we decided we would celebrate tonight with dinner and a movie. That plan is still in place, but still...yesterday was the "official" day.

Usually when I go to work he asks if there's anything I need for him to do that day. Yesterday I told him he could fold the clothes that were in the dryer. Then in the dryer ... on top of the clothes ... I left a box of candy for him and a silly card with a monkey on it that said something about him being my prime mate.

When I got home from teaching my class, there on the table was a beautiful bunch of Calla Lillies (one of my very favorites), some Ghiradelli dark chocolate (better for your heart than milk chocolate) AND a new John Grisham novel! Pretty great, huh? His card was hilarious, though. On the front are a couple sitting together:

Her: "Well, here we are, together for another whole year."

Him: "Sure...I could go for a cold beer."

Inside: "Listening and Understanding...the keys to every great relationship." His personal note mentioned that he sometimes misplaces the "keys". :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Tuesday

On Jodi's blog, she sometimes participates in "Tiny Talk Tuesday" with some other bloggers. This is when they record some of the cute and interesting things their children say. After having had the kiddies for a couple of days, I have something to contribute in the way of "Tiny Talk".

Savannah and I were in the sewing room for a while on Sunday and after a bit she got bored and went back upstairs. In a little while, I thought I'd better go see what she was doing. As I came around to the foot of the steps, there she was with a mostly empty large bag of Skittles in her hand. Most of the Skittles were in a pile on the floor. She calmly said, "Nanny...can we just clean these up and you not ask any questions?"

Emery introduces himself to every one he meets. We ate lunch at McDonald's on Saturday and they wanted to play on the playground for a while. There were two other little girls there. The older one was about 4 or 5. She asked Savannah and Emery if they wanted to play with her. Savannah said, "Okay" and started climbing on the slide. Emery's eyes lit up and he told her, "I Emery York!" and then he was ready to play. Then later we went to see the animals at Dauset Trails and he was so excited about the aligators. On Sunday morning we went to Jessica's church with her because hers has a better nursery than ours and the kids really like it there. He introduced himself to the nursery attendant by saying, "I Emery York! I saw the gators!"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Day Two

My sympathies to the good folks in Detroit, Oregon. I heard on the news the other day that they had to call in the National Guard to dig them out of their homes after several heavy snowfalls of several feet each time. My sympathies, too, to "Uncle Ken" Thompson in Illinois. He's the road commissioner and this is the snowiest winter they've had in 30 years.

I'm extending sympaties because we've had great weather here lately. We've had a few rainy days for which we are very grateful. Between those, we've had sunny skies and mild temperatures. Yesterday was in the 60s again. Such a beautiful day calls for an outing. So we took the grand kids over to Dauset Trails. It's a really nice nature center with hiking and biking trails, a reptile house in the visitor's center and farm animals. There are also cages of animals to see along the hiking trail. Emery was most excited to see the alligators and Savannah just wanted to pet something. The first picture is at one of the owl cages.

Here they are feeding the goats. But just like all the working and raking yesterday, all the hiking and poking and petting and feeding maks them exhausted. It was a nice, quiet ride home. :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Little Helpers

We have company this weekend. Two little folks. Jodi dropped the kids off Friday about noon and then she left to meet up with Jeremy so they could go up to north Georgia for a couples' retreat weekend with their Sunday School group. They have wonderful weather for it and they are looking forward to relaxation and rejuvination. But at Che Nanny and Grandpa's there's lots of work to be done.

First they had to work on the John Deere. Lucky Grandpa -- two mechanics are better than one. Emery had to "fiss" something on the trailer hitch.

Since we aren't buried in snow like so much of the country, we have leaves that needed to be raked.

And, of course, Grandpa needed help rinsing and refilling the bird bath. I don't know how he manages to get all this stuff when he doesn't have all this help!

But all their hard work earned them a ride in the wheelbarrow and they liked that quite a bit!

All that child labor and fresh air can be draining, though. So all this activity was followed by a 3-hour (!) nap for Emery. Savannah found her own way to "unwind"...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Birthday Party

Last night was "Babes' Night" and it was my turn to host. We each host about 3 times a year. I made a chicken dish and got an ice cream cake from Brusters. This Babes' night was special because we were celebrating Pam's birthday. (Pam is second from the left in the picture posted under "A Night Out With the Girls") She liked the purse I made myself last month and said she'd like one. I asked her what colors and she told me she liked a particular line of fabrics that Melisa just got in at the shop. So I made one for her. It was just the right size to put some goodies inside. Two of her favorites: orange slices and licorice, and one of mine: a bottle of Chateau Elan wine -- Duncan Creek.

Jerry usually does a dissapearing act and hangs out with one of the girls when I host the Babes. Last night he went over to Jodi and Jeremy's and had spaghetti and played with the grand kids. When he got home he was asking about the party. He asked (facetiously) if she got anything to make a quilt with. As a matter of fact, she got books, patterns, fabric, scissors, a gift certificate to Sweet Home and all kinds of fun stuff!

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Night Out With the Girls

On Saturday night I went into Atlanta with friends Deanna, Pam and Mellie. We ate a wonderful dinner at the OK Cafe. If you've never been...put it on your "to do" list. It's on West Paces Ferry at the intersection of I-75 North. It's considered a 4-star Atlanta restaurant serving real down-home southern fare. Worth the trip.

We were there, though, so we would be in the area in time to get to Cumberland Community Church at a certain time so we could meet up with Jess and 3 of her friends, and Jodi and 3 of her friends. We were all going to the taping of Anita Renfroe's new routine..."It Must Be My Thyroid". If you're not familiar with the name, maybe you are familiar with one of her routines that has gotten a lot of play in the last several months. She does a bit called "Momsense" in which she recites all the things a mom says all day...set to the tune (and pace) of the William Tell Overture. She performed it at the Women of Faith conferences last year and it's been played on several TV programs. It's also on YouTube and she's had over a million hits on that site. She's a very funny lady. She has a wonderful singing voice and she works several song paradies, and even one video, into her stand-up routine. At one point she was talking about how women and men approach conversations differently. A woman knows pretty much how it will go, while the man has no clue. Remember the old song, "I Say a Little Prayer for You"? She sat down at the piano and started singing, "The moment I wake up -- before I put on my makeup -- I set a little snare for you". :)

This was a taping, so we were part of the audience and sometimes taping would have to stop (several times a train went by!) or she would have to do something over again. She'd apologize, but we thought we got a real treat in getting to see a certain part again. I've never been to a live taping and it was neat. The DVD will be out in April and several of us ordered advance copies. It will be fun to see it again in it's finished state and to see if any of us got our faces in the audience shots...or ended up on the cutting room floor!