Gratitude

This has been a difficult year for the family in many ways, but it is with much GRATITUDE that I share the following photos. All three of my children are avid dog lovers and each of them lost a dear member of their family this past year. While all of us were stricken with sadness and grief, we are eternally GRATEFUL for the love they gave to everyone. While their departures left holes in everyones’ hearts, the memories they leave behind are filled with love, laughter, and GRATITUDE for having been a part of our family.

The first photo is of Ollie. He was a King German Shepherd who passed away suddenly of stomach bloat at the young age of 8 years old. He was a well-behaved and loveable guy who loved to play ball. He is missed by all.

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This lovely lady is Birdy. She was a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix who actually smiled when we arrived for a visit. She was gentle and kind and oh so huggable! She died of old age at the age of 17! Again missed by all.

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And last, but not least, and the most recent loss, is this beautiful lady, Razzle. She was an Alaskan Malamute. Larger than life, she would “WOO” for you when you arrived and immediately roll over for a belly rub. Such a sweetheart! She passed suddenly from an aneurysm at the young age of 7. Very much missed by all.

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During this past year I managed to complete one quilt. This was made as a gift for someone. The soft colored batik squares make this quilt just lovely. I have always wanted to do some straight line machine quilting and quilted this one only 1/2 inch apart. It turned out perfect. I can’t wait to give it to the person it is meant for.

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For myself personally, I am GRATEFUL for all my family and friends who sent flowers, cards and gifts in the past month or so. It was appreciated more than you will ever know! I had not been feeling well for several months and suddenly found myself in the hospital having emergency surgery at the beginning of March. It has been six weeks now and I am a new person. Still need to build up my stamina for all my activities, but I feel VERY WELL! Thank you again for your kindness!

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And lastly, I am GRATEFUL for many boring days during my recuperation when I finally got up the desire to work on some needlework. I managed to complete about HALF of my “Tulips” cross-stitch piece. I still have a long way to go. But to me HALF done is ALMOST done. SMILE

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Happy Spring to everyone! It has finally arrived in Chicago. Although I would like it to be a little warmer, I will take what is given.

Amities, Averyclaire

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Family, Friends, Fun, Finishing!

I know :((…I haven’t posted for a LONG time.  Where oh where did the month of May go?

There was Senior Prom for grandson, Noah, a quick trip to Minnesota, planting flowers at the cemetery, Mother’s Day, 8th grade dinner dance for Sophia, a retreat in Spring Green, WI, and a tour of Taliesin, graduations, dance recital, gardening, and, of course, finishing!

Senior Prom

Senior Prom

Sophia 8th Grade Dance

Sophia 8th Grade Dance

 

A visit to the Mall of America, in Bloomington, MN for a few days with my DH.  Very relaxing, fun and a sight to behold with 520 shop and 50 restaurants!  And then on to Mother’s Day!

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Me, Daughter-in-Law  Heather, Granddaughter Haley (15) and Heather’s Mom Carol

Oh…and I mustn’t forget grandson, Max (12) and his band finale…he plays alto sax.

Max and friend

A Stitching Retreat at Country Sampler in Spring Green, WI with five other fun friends for three days.  Country Sampler is a lovely Quilt/Needlework Shop.  It is chock full of primitive patterns both quilting and needlework, bundles of wool, and beautiful civil war style quilts.   Also did a tour of Taliesin (you can see photos on Southpaw Stitcher blog).

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May was also for graduation.  My grandson, Noah (18), graduated from Marian Catholic High School.  His sister, my granddaughter, Sophia (14), graduated from 8th grade at Mother Theresa Catholic Academy.  And my little granddaughter, Maya (4),  graduated from pre-school in Boulder, CO!  We are so proud of all of them!   It was a marathon weekend.

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Noah and Sophia GraduationSophie Graduation

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Nick, Daughter Kathleen, Sophia and Noah

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Granddaughter Maya (almost 5)

Maya Pre-School Graduation

Son Michael, Maya, DIL Michelle from Colorado

This was also the month for Sophia’s dance recital.  She is a talented, graceful, lovely dancer in all forms of dancing with a strong stage presence in everything.  She was in 9 different performances with 9 different dances and celebrated her 10th year of dancing.  It was an amazing 3-1/2 hour performance!

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Sophia in Center

The garden needed a lot of attention.  After a walk in the wee-early morning hours, I tried to spend a couple of hours a day working outside.  Hard on the old body, especially the knees (even with professional knee pads)!!!

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And then there was the joy of FINISHING!

Pat L. stitched this beautiful Merry Christmas.

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Tina stitched two Halloween pieces…what fun to have these ready for the Fall to come!  I added a little spider and web to this first one and a bright orange ribbon to the second!

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Pat L. also stitched two fun quite large pillows.  Both are lovely, but I am awed by her bright pink pillow!

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Marcia T. stitched this special seasonal Prairie Schooler piece and chose a flat fold finish for easy storage.  I hope one day to do one of these for myself.  Love it!

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The Southpaw Stitcher, my prolific stitching friend, quickly finished this lovely May piece and also chose a flat fold.

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And Vivian loves to do primitive pieces and finished another pillow…this one for Halloween!  She loves to antique her fabric before she stitches!  Nice work!

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And last but not least for the finishes that I am able to show this month is a special order from The Tinsmith’s Wife for some tea bag holders.

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Whew….this was a long post!

Summer is finally arrived with crazy weather….cold, hot, cold, hot.  But I do love the hot days of summer and love to sit with a cup of tea in my garden!  Happy summer to all!

Amities, Averyclaire

 

 

A Little Update

The king sized quilt was on the frame by the end of June.   The borders took a long time to finish and then even longer to blanket stitch all those tiny designs I created!   With the busy summer and lots of traveling the actual quilting has been slow going.   Here is a photo of the giant first being basted and then on the frame.

Irish Chain being basted

Irish Chain in Frame

In the meantime, I did create an adorable “Frozen” princess dress for my three year old granddaughter, Maya.

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Lots of traveling included a week in the woods of southern Indiana in June for DH’s hobby interest.  Then we did two weeks out west in Boulder, Colorado and the Black Hills of South Dakota in July.  We took a couple of grandchildren with us and my oldest granddaughter broke her arm the first day we left!   Next we spent ten days in Atlanta, Savannah, Tybee Island, Hilton Head, and Charleston, SC in Aug for a woodworking convention and just R&R for the two of us.   And one more week in the woods of southern Indiana in September at which time I did a lot of sewing on baby blankets in our RV!   Whew!   Fun, but nice to be home.

Grandchildren…Haley, Sophia, Noah and daughter Kathleen enjoying the Niwot, CO evening concert.

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We had a GREAT family campout while in Boulder, CO.

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Since then I have completed 20 baby blankets with teddy bears for my Quilters’ Plus Holiday Boutique coming up November 7 and 8.   My heart wanted to do a lot more projects for the Boutique, as some of the money goes to support our group, but alas, I did not do what I had hoped to complete.   Oh well, there is always next year.

Some of my blogging buddies have been wondering where I have been.   Just busy with life and trying to avoid spending time on the computer fighting with downloading photos, etc.   It has been a nice respite.   However, I do lurk behind the shadows and visit all of your blogs often.

I hope before too long there will be some stitching and other quilt items to show.   But my progress is SLOW.

For now…..Amities, Averyclaire

Busy Days

What have I been doing for the last four months?   Well, a lot actually!   Thanks for being patient with me and thank you for always coming back to see what’s new!

I finally had my star quilt quilted by Jamie Wallen in Michigan City, IN.    Didn’t realize I wouldn’t get it back for four months, but I do love how it is quilted!   He did a beautiful job.   And it is now one of my favorites!

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You can see the lovely feather quilting done around each star!

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While that was out being quilted, I made 20 more baby blankets with teddy bears for our Quilters’ Plus Holiday Boutique the first weekend in November.   I have them all lined up and waiting to put double ribbons around each teddy bear.   I have made these for many years.   The proceeds of these blankets help support my quilt guild (and I get some money back as well).   It’s a lot of work to make so many, but voila!  C’est fini!

2013 baby blankets

I also made some wool Christmas ornaments to sell at the same Holiday Boutique, but 100% of the proceeds from these ornaments will go to my NeedleArtisans of NW Indiana group and the quilt guild.    The same goes for the cotton kitchen washcloths I made.   I would like to make more items, but my own projects seem to be suffering with all the things I made for the Boutique.   So I will have to call it quits for the boutique items I think.

Wool Ornaments 1

Wool Felt Ornaments 2

Wool Felt Ornaments 3

Cotton Washcloths

And last but not least of my projects, I have my “Over the River and Through the Woods” quilt prepared for quilting.  The three picturesque center panels are all hand embroidered.   I plan to machine quilt this one myself.   I don’t consider myself a good home machine quilter, but it’s too pricey to have one’s quilts quilted professionally.   I like to say “I DID IT MYSELF” anyway.   And some quilts just don’t warrant the weeks and weeks of hand quilting.   Besides, I still have my yellow whole cloth one on my quilt frame.   It’s almost done!

Over the River 1

In between all the sewing, life things happened….a couple of wakes and funerals….a shower and a wedding….a week’s getaway for DH and myself…. several lunches with friends….a trip to the International Quilt Show in Chicago….quite a bit of gardening upkeep….an unexpected reunion with my three siblings (some who live quite far away)…and the usual everyday things.   I very much enjoy my retirement….and love to sit and “veg” occasionally with a good book or my trusty computer seeing what’s new in the needlework and quilting world.

Thanks for visiting my blog again!     Amities, Averyclaire

Another Block

I am committed to this project.  Only 4 more to go.  Here is block number 12:

And what did I do this past weekend? Well….granddaughter #1, Haley (11 years old), participated in her first music competition. She first played accompanied by her other grandfather, Jim; then played a duet with her best friend, Abby; then proudly displayed their blue ribbons. It was so fun to watch her play. They all did a super job. I am so happy she loves music.

And grandson #2, Max (8) (Haley’s brother), bore the concert bravely. He has such sparkly eyes!

And then I ran home, had some lunch, and quickly made it to granddaughter #2, Sophia’s (10), dress rehersal for her dance competition.   She takes ballet, jazz, etc. and is on the dance team.   She is on the far right.   This will be her first competition.   I think I had more fun than she did.

I think this coming week and weekend will be a quiet one.   Perhaps I can finish a couple more blocks.   And maybe even do some stitching on my “Cedar Hill” Rabbit that I began last year for Easter and never finished.   I honestly hope it is finished for this Easter!

Amities, Averyclaire

Update

Warning: This is a LONG post…after three months of absence.

On July 6th we welcomed a brand new baby granddaughter, Maya, into our family. She is precious. Of course that meant “another” trip to Colorado to see our new little bundle of joy. Her parents are thrilled to say the least. It is SO hard to be so far away from them.

In May and June I caught the quilt bug! All I have been doing is working on quilts. First I would spend some therapeutic and meditative time in my garden weeding, then would have my shower and get to it! Last post I showed you the first two blocks of an applique quilt I am working on. Here are photos of the next six making a total of eight completed. Number nine is in process. (There are 16 total, so only halfway there.) It’s an easy applique pattern from Edyta Sytar called Sweet Sixteen.

I am committed to finishing projects this year. So here is a photo of a pinwheel quilt in process. Have the bug to use up old fabrics using half square triangles….hence the pinwheels.

Next I have a photo of my Japanese bento box that is still being hand-quilted by yours truly. I have only about a third of the sashing to quilt….but it seems to take forever. And when one has a million hand projects to work on….which one does one choose? (I even have one of those felt Christmas stockings I am putting together at the request of my DD.)

And last but not least I have made another 25 baby blankets with matching teddy bears. These are for my large quilt group Holiday Boutique which happens every year in November.

So between my garden, three active quilts in process, a Christmas stocking, 25 baby blankets and teddy bears, and a stabbing effort to get the laundry, cooking, and cleaning done….well…it’s a crazy fun world for sure. I did do a tiny bit of cross-stitch and taught my granddaughter, Sophia (age 9), to quilt (she made a small quilt for Maya); she learned to cross stitch; and learned to embroider (made two pillows).

And in the midst of all of this I was ill for five months…..April, May, June, July and August. In April I thought I got food poisoning. Not so. The painful attacks after eating, hanging over the commode, would last for four hours at least three or four times per week. After lots of doctoring, lots of tests, and my own experiments trying to be “fat free”, “lactose free”, “gluten free” nothing worked. Even the specialists at our wonderful Northwestern Hospital in downtown Chicago are mystified. However, I did learn after charting my food for weeks, that I simply cannot tolerate any kind of complex carbohydrates…no rice, no pasta, no breads of any kind, no crackers, no carrots or beets, anything with high carbohydrate content. There seems to be no name for my condition and no cure….but now I finally have no more illness so long as I don’t eat those things. I did lose a LOT of weight during this time (not such a bad thing…a bonus for me). Guess I just have to live and eat differently now. Golly I miss my junk food!!!!

For now it’s good to jot out a fresh blog post. I have silently lurked amongst all of your blogs in the past three months and they are wonderful. Thanks for visiting. Amities, Averyclaire

A Very Special Christmas Gift

I received the most exciting gift this Christmas.  My son handed me a very small green gift bag when all the family was gathered together on Christmas Eve.  It contained a photo. The tiny photo was an ultrasound of my new grandchild to be born in mid-July.  I was thrilled, quite overwhelmed, and cried a lot of tears of happiness, right along with everyone else.  Mike and Michelle live in Boulder, Colorado and I already have at least two trips planned this year since receiving this amazing news.  It’s a long way from Chicago, but since I’m now “retired” we will be able to travel without encumbrances.  It will be a truly blessed year. We are ALL SO EXCITED about this new life.   He/she is SO welcome to our family.

Now it’s time for a trip to the specialty shops and find some wonderful, unique, special, amazing, tiny, perfect gifts to put in the mail for this baby.  Mike and Michelle are beaming and I am going to have some really fun months ahead of me.

ALL of the Grandchildren!!


Thanks for always coming back to be a part of my world.     Amities, Averyclaire

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