august's photo diary

August 2012 photo diary

August's photo diary is undramatic, largely because my cell phone is currently my only camera and it takes undramatic pictures, at best. Secondly, August has consisted of lots of cleaning and organizing.

1. Deborah's clean bedroom; she went to Arkansas on August 13 and I cleaned her room that day. I go in there everyday to pray for her.

2. View of the stairs from my recliner.

3. View of my downstairs "thinking spot." The three paintings behind my recliner are Hannah's creations. The one on the left was painted by Gordon's Aunt Lipjke in Holland.

4. Hannah at her McDonald's job. I'm so proud of her. She's been at McDonalds over a month now. Yay Hannah.

5. On August 27, St. Albert Happiness Project launched. There were 15 ladies there and it went very well.

6. My mother-in-law gave Gordon this painting of his father. She had a painting made from a photo of him and then made each of the kids a copy. It hangs in our family room and I LOVE it.

7. The family room. Gordon and I rearranged and organized the family room this month. Our home almost feels like an empty nest. It's lots cleaner now that it's just us. Hannah still lives here, but she's not here very often.

8. A catapiller. I saw two of these this month and think they are so pretty.

9. Casanova on Deborah's bed. He has such a hard life.

I only took 9 photos this month, under-achieving photographer that I am.

The biggest, most dramatic thing in our month was Deborah going to Arkansas for school. What was I thinking not capturing pictures of that? I wasn't "thinking," I was too busy feeling.

a homemade christmas

 Xmas cookies

I think these cookies turned out pretty.

Reindeer cookies

The reindeer, well, not so pretty.

Hannah's bag

Hannah wanted a new funky bag for the library. This is it.


The girls and Gordon do the gingerbread house thing. I just stay out of the way.

Cloth bags

I like our fabric gift-bags that scream, "we're saving the planet one gift at a time." :-)

I don't have pictures of the ornaments I made this year, but trust me, they're cute.

The meal was divine and we're stuffed beyond safe capacity.

It's been a wonderful, perhaps even glorious, couple of days. And tomorrow is Boxing Day which we'll spend with the Dykstras.

I hope all of you are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.


little miss avery's rag quilt

Quilt 1


A rag quilt is super forgiving. If you want to try quilting, this is a great type to begin with. Precision is optional {smiles} and that's a whole lot of freedom that most quilts don't allow.

Cut 35 seven-inch squares of adorablish fabrics. I used flannel.

Cut 35 seven-inch squares for the filling. I used flannel.

Cut 35 seven-inch squares for the backing. Guess what?, I used flannel.

Cutting the squares is the most laborious part of this quilt. Once the squares are cut, it moves very quickly.



Put a top, middle and bottom layer together, like a sandwich. Stitch an X over them. Do that 35 times.











Arrange the squares to make a design/pattern/statement you like.

Shoo the dogs off over and over.










Once you've found a statement you like, sew the squares together in rows with the seam side up. Sew the rows together.

Then add your border, if you want one. Many rag quilts don't have borders and look beautiful.

I forgot to capture a picture of snipping the seams. Once you've got your quilt sewn together, have fun snipping seams for a couple hours. By "snipping seams" I mean cutting little lines in the excess beyond the seam. Do not literally snip any seams.

After snipping seams, throw the quilt in the washing machine and wash it, maybe even two or three times.


Presto! When you take it out of the dryer, your snipped seams will be ragged looking (hence, the name, rag quilt).

Doesn't this look fitting for precious little Avery?






Here's a view of the backing.





And a little closer up...

(My camera is on the edge of dying and my pics aren't as clear as I'd like.)


This was fun to make, and seriously, anyone could do it and have a lovely little quilt in the end.

My regret on this quilt is making it three layers instead of two. Three layers would be fitting if she lived in my neck of the woods. Two layers would suit her environment better. Avery's quilt is a little heavier than I anticipated.



This is my little love quilt to Avery who I meet in less than 48 hours. I can't wait to snuggle with her, feel her warm thick body, and teach her to say "Beppie". She's almost a month old, ya know,  and quite bright.

I crave holding her like you wouldn't believe.

Who in their right mind wouldn't crave holding this little bundle of preciousness?


i spy with my little eye quilt




First, cut lots of squares out of cool fabrics.


Carefully and with much love, sew fabric squares into long rows.



With lots of sweet memories and grandmotherly affection, sew the rows together. Iron after each row, thinking "whazat?" as you do.


Enjoying the process and hoping for lots of good memories to be made, admire the work thus far.


Carefully lay the quilt top on the dining table for all the family to gather around and play I Spy With My Little Eye

... a hot dog

... Ronald McDonald

... children building a snowman




... and whatever you do, don't overlook that Arkansas Razorback.

7 Enlist the help of Trudy, the quilting diva, to make sure it turns out just right. Back the quilt in Uncle Christopher's football pajama pant fabric. (Sorry I never got those pj's to you, Son.)


Trim the quilt in plaid fabric that was originally purchased to make a suit for newborn Roman. (Sorry about never getting that suit to you Romie Boy.)


Finally, fold the quilt with much joy and satisfaction knowing it's ready to make some memories, Beppie-and-Romie Boy style.

PS I spy with my little eye ...

a grand piano ...

a green gecko ...

a swing in an apple tree...


Close your eyes... Imagine... Tranquil green meadows, a turquoise lake, melodious songbirds, blue skies, warm sunshine. Awhh. Peace and beauty.

Now snap out of that sweet daydream and enter my reality. A full house of furniture shoved haphazardly into two small bedrooms; clothes needed, yet unreachable; library books overdue sitting in a bag in the far corner, right behind the stereo that's on top of the dresser. This is my life this week and perhaps next week too.

Nerves are raw, emotions taxed, the clothes we can get to are wrinkled. Yes, chaos.

As I've mentioned before, we are giving the house a little (doesn't feel little) makeover. This week the hardwood floors are being refinished. Was it not for the fumes, I'd invite you for a sneak preview, - oh, but the piano is in the front door and that makes visitors ill-at-ease: "Here just climb over. Put your left foot here, give me your hand and I'll pull you..." That's the part that makes people cringe.

The kitchen is barely habitable for the sofa standing against the wall and the chairs on the table. We are coping though and it's not as bad as I had imagined. My beloved is helping me lots by taking us out to eat and bringing home fast food.

Poor Lucy. She's stressed right out. She threw up all evening Monday and now she's hiding under a bed.

If all goes well, we can move the furniture back where it belongs on Saturday, but we probably won't as we still need to paint and install new baseboards. We haven't agreed on paint colors yet. Last night I said, whatever, just choose something.

Only the excitement of the house changes is keeping us sane. But the floor looks great.

spirit week

(2006 Crazy Hair Day, Rachael, Deborah, Hannah) 

Crazy hair day 1 It's spirit week at school. My girls have donned some really weird stuff this week. Wacky hair day had Hannah wearing plastic spoons all over her head. Very very weird.

Today was pajama day. I made the girls new pajamas for the occasion. Rachael got leopard print, Hannah got cheetah print, Deborah had very bright stripes. They were cute.

This afternoon they burst in the back door yelling, "Mom we won! All three of us!" Deborah added, "And it's all because of you. We won because our pajamas were the best AND they were homemade!" She was so excited.

Their prizes were McDonald's coupons. They gave me credit for the win, but they never offered me any of their coupons. 


019_19 (2) (This is THAT quilt, our 10th anniversary quilt. Notice, or don't, how nothing is square.)   
I joined a quilting group. I thought it just the thing to keep me motivated to finish my anniversary quilt, the one I started for our 10th anniversary and am now hoping to have completed for our 15th. My quilting skills are rugged. Nothing has driven that home to me as succinctly as my first night at the Piecemakers. The Piecemakers are super quilters.

You know when you see an ugly newborn baby, you can't honestly say, "Oh she's so pretty," so you say something like, "How sweet. And look at those long fingers." Well last night when the ladies looked at my humble beast of a quilt, they said, "My, you've put a lot of work into that." I knew what they really meant because I've seen a few ugly babies in my day and used more than a few lines about their fingers and cute booties. 

(This one I made for a wedding gift.)
Had I known just how well these ladies quilted, I may have been too intimidated to go to the Piecemakers. Fortunately, I didn't know. Once there I learned that two of the ladies actually teach quilting. I figure they wanted to put a disclaimer sign over my chair that read, "We never saw her before tonight."019_19 (3)
(As you can see, I'm most comfortable with this pattern. This one was Deborah's 4th birthday quilt.)

Hopefully our 50th anniversary quilt will be worthy of inspection, but our tenth anniversary quilt is on the verge of being gross. I learned that at the Piecemakers.

bedroom update and turn signals

I've had a busy weekend. Hannah and Rachael went to Winter Camp. We had to fight the weather to get there, but we went and returned today safely.
(Hannah and Frodo, 2005)
Hannah and Frodo in Hannah's bedroomWhile they were gone, I gave Hannah's room an update. A friend had remarked that Hannah's room was babyish, and that didn't set well with me, so I made it more 9-year-oldish. The whole makeover cost $4. Isn't that amazing? I left the initial yellow paint but painted glow-in-the-dark pink, orange, lime green dots in varying sizes. Now one wall is polka dots. It's so cute and Hannah loves it. We need that bratty little friend to come over again. This time she will be green with envy. That project dominated my weekend.

Church was painful this morning. 36 people were there. 18 months ago we had at least 100, and it was vibrant. It's anything but vibrant now. Pastor preached about being in the wilderness and he might as well been speaking straight at me as that was how I felt. Church isn't what it was. I pray this wilderness period doesn't go on a long time. I was encouraged by the sermon, very encouraged.

On the drive home, Gordon got side-tracked in the middle of changing lanes. For some reason he kept driving in the one lane but his turn signal was on. I crankily said, "You need to pee or get off the pot." Just as crankily he retorted, "You need to be kind or shut-up."

spring robins and line-dried clothes

Spring has arrived in Edmonton, Alberta. I can sit at my desk in the living room and hear the evening lullabies of the chickadees and sparrows through the windows. My favorite bird is the robin. They are family oriented. It's nothing short of inspirational watching the mommy and daddy robin build their nest together. Their teamwork is great. While momma robin goes to fetch material for the nest, daddy robin will sit on the garage and keep watch for her. If a blue jay, the bully bird of my back yard, comes around, daddy quickly warns momma and together they wait till the blue jay goes away to resume their work.

I love to watch them. Of all the songbirds, the robin's song is the sweetest to me. Robins are beautiful, yet they seem so meek and kind. Many robins congregate in the morning on the Mountain Ash by my bedroom window. Their sweet song is a delightful way to begin a day.

Another thing I love about spring is hanging my clothes on the line. I don't really know why this exercise is so special to me. Perhaps it's just that line dried clothes awaken my senses and help me feel close to nature. I watch the clothes blowing in the breeze and I smile. When I bring them inside, I sniff their freshness and I smile. When I dry myself with a stiff line dried towel, I smile.

I'm proud to do this little bit of extra work for the beauty it puts in my life. Furthermore, I get a bit of a charge from doing something to conserve the world's resources.

(Please note that I hang no underwear on the line. That would be nothing short of rude, vulgar and lewd.)