Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What to do?

There are so many things to be done, but I can't seem to motivate myself to do any of them.

My second batch of Three-By-Three swap blocks arrived last week. I could/should make a third set and get them in the mail this week.

My sister's phlox are gorgeous! Five feet tall- no kidding! Mine are pathetic little plants that get eaten by ...

Not a sharp picture through the window screen, but I knew she'd run as soon as I lifted it.

The deer usually eat every lily in my yard, but this one escaped. We call them Slug Lilies. There were several plants when we moved here. We were headed to a family reunion so picked a huge bouquet to take with us. It had rained, and the flowers were on the ground. We didn't realize they were covered with slugs until Julia was holding the whole bunch for a picture!

I love boys in uniform. Pete is holding his troop flag on the left. We love attending the dress parade at the end of their camp week, even though it usually rains.

OK. Enough stalling. Time to do something!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Flowers for Flo

My Aunt Florence passed away last week at age 91. She was in the final stages of Alzheimer's, so her family had lost her months ago. She was a remarkable woman, a widow and single mother since 1965. She worked a man's job in a factory because it paid better. Fiercely independent, she rarely (if ever) asked for help. One of her three sons is a Catholic priest, so he celebrated her funeral Mass with more than 20 other priests and the bishop in attendance. Flo would have been thrilled by the honor. She loved to brag about the accomplishments of her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Last year, my mother suggested we send her a lap quilt. I had a soft, flannel top made from pretty green and yellow fat quarters. I think it was the Yellow Brick Road pattern. I wish I had taken a photo. She kept it at the foot of her bed and enjoyed snuggling up with it. My cousins placed it in the casket to keep her warm.

This photo was taken at our family reunion in 2005. Aunt Florence is in the middle with my father, just 2 months before he died. Of my grandparents 10 children, only 2 remain, Al on the left and Art on the right. Those siblings loved to argue, and perhaps Florence was the best. Heaven just got a lot louder!

Rest in Peace, Aunt Florence. Dad will show you around heaven. He's got the maps!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Fun

Here's what we've been up to lately...

Pete had a great week at Jazz Camp.

Julia's softball team won the league championship,
with a little help from Coach Dad.

My friend, Pat, made this awesome quilt for a retiring board member,
using league t-shirts, past and present.

The Girl Scouts washed a lot of cars to earn money
for our trip to Savannah.

And our patio table spontaneously crashed
into a million tiny pieces. weird.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Flower Pen Tutorial

Welcome to my first tutorial! There are other tutorials out there for these pens, but I've tweaked it to suit my Girl Scouts. They've been making them to earn money for our trip to Savannah. I think they've made at least 100 already and they don't want to stop!

Step 1: Assemble your supplies. You'll need a stick ballpoint pen, silk flower, floral tape and hot glue. I prefer the pens pictured. They are inexpensive, but write well. And the cap on the end of the barrel is easy to remove (other brands are not!). I've been buying silk flower bunches at the dollar store and Walmart. For a fancier pen, you can buy nicer silk flowers. The floral tape can be purchased in the floral department of craft stores, the craft department at Walmart, and sometimes at the dollar store. Use whatever hot glue gun and glue sticks you have handy.

Step 2: Pop the cap off the end of the pen barrel. As I said earlier, some brands are easier than others. For the last batch we did, the girls had to "saw" the ends off. These pop right off with a steak knife. This is not a job for little kids, but you knew that.

Step 3: Pull the silk flowers off of their stems. (Sorry, no photo, but it's super easy.)

Step 4: Put a blob of hot glue in the end of the barrel. Also not a job your young children.

Step 5: Insert the silk flower into the glue at the end of the barrel. Hold a few seconds until the glue starts to harden.

Step 6: Start wrapping floral tape around the barrel, starting at the base of the flower. Be sure that none of the barrel shows at the top. As you turn and wrap, stretch the tape slightly and it will become sticky enough to stick to itself.

Continue wrapping, twisting and overlapping to cover the barrel.

Step 7: Wrap the tape around the barrel, covering the entire thing. Don't stop until you get to the black (or blue) ink cartridge. Tear off the tape.

Step 8: Enjoy your fun and fancy flower pen! The tape will be a little tacky for a few days. Eventually, it will dry completely. Trust me.

Special thanks to Julia for being the hand model and to all of Troop 554 for being so enthusiastic about this project. It has become their favorite troop activity (possibly tied with making chocolate-covered Oreos). We hope you enjoy making these pens for fund raisers, teacher gifts, and birthday presents. Don't forget to keep one for yourself!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Daisy Day

I love daisies! Apparently, they are loving all the rain we've had. They look better than ever.

I bought another pile of silk daisies to make flower pens. This batch will will be donated to the gift shop at Juliette Low's Birthplace Museum. We finalized the itinerary for our Girl Scout trip to Savannah in August and we can't wait!

I made a few more yarn daisies last night at Julia's softball game before the sky opened up again. UGH! These daisies might become SWAPS to trade with other troops in Savannah.

On one of the few days this spring/summer that it didn't rain, we were lucky to be at Fenway Park for a Red Sox game. It was Rhode Island Day (who knew?), Dustin and Jacoby hit home runs, and the Sox won! What could be better?

All Soxed Up!

I'm off to my mother's place to do laundry. Our 6 year old Calypso washer is dead. Looks like we'll be buying a new washer this weekend. plth.

Speaking of my mother, I almost forgot...
She came home from North Carolina yesterday bearing gifts. She bought 4 little kits for me to make Ocracoke Cracker blocks. Take a look here and here for more info. Thanks, Mom!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Holiday Weekend Fun

We're enjoying a fun-filled 4th of July weekend with...

bocce and fireworks,

beach and pond,

red, white and blue fabric,

and the Red Sox.
Yay! We're on our way to a game at Fenway Park! Go Sox!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We've had one thunderstorm cell after another this morning, with no end in sight. Julia is taking a training course at Girl Scout day camp this week. There are plenty of buildings at our camp to keep the girls safe, so I'm not worried. And she was well-prepared. She reviewed our favorite website for camp songs before she left this morning, so I'm sure she's helping to entertain the little ones with songs and games.

We were lucky enough to have two nice days in a row. When we're not at the beach, you can find us at "The Pond." It's a small, fresh water lake with a private beach club that caters to families with young kids. My big kids still love going there. (I love having big kids!) They can swim out to the dock, swim laps, play ball in the water and just hang out in the shade, all things you can't do at the state beaches.

Here's the apron Julia picked up at the consignment shop. Aren't they adorable? She was born in the wrong decade. She loves all things vintage, including music.

My postcards are ready to be mailed to my group in the Carol Doak postcard exchange. This is one of Carol's blocks that I stretched out to fit the rectangle.

I've received two already (I'm late sending mine out) and it's amazing how well they travel. For the back, I printed the text that I needed using Powerpoint to be sure everything would fit. Then I traced the text onto white fabric using pigma pens. That's how I make all my quilt labels, too. I can use a fun font and the lines stay straight.

Hope your day is not as soggy as ours.