Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!

If you are reading this blog on Easter Sunday -- maybe you're having a sucky day. Hey -- it happens. John's Dad died last week -- so he and Ross went back to Pennsylvania for the funeral. Maybe you lost somebody this year, too...or your family lives too far away for an Easter Egg hunt. Most of the time, my theory is to LIVE IN THE MOMENT. But if that's not working -- you could LIVE IN THE PAST...

For me, I only have to go back in time to one month ago. The 2013 Sewing and Stitchery Expo was a really GREAT SHOW..!! So much fun. My cousin Jackie was able to attend this year -- and for me, that was the icing on the cake. I have always said that if I could give one gift to every woman I love, it would be that she could be Rita Farro for one day in Puyallup. My sisters came to the show last year -- and Jackie got to experience it this year. It was AMAZING...

Take, for example, ZEBRA DAY...This is the beginning of the Zebra Day photo gallery...ENJOY...and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!! Tomorrow -- I'm going to write about the two most energetic sewing artists I ever met...the girls who started this whole zebra madness...





















So -- if you are having a bad Easter Day -- and living in the past is also not working -- HEY -- maybe you should LIVE IN THE FUTURE. I'm saying you should be PLANNING YOUR NEXT GIRLFRIEND WEEKEND. Really. These good times don't just happen, people. YOU'VE GOT TO PLAN THINGS...look at your calendar, go on the internet -- Google areas that interest you. My best times have been with my women friends -- touristing in New York City, writing at writer's conferences, sewing shows, quilter's retreat...JUST DO IT!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Mary was here for a couple of days and we had a GREAT TIME planning our next Ya Ya show.  But, seriously, SHE WORE ME OUT.  We got a lot of work done -- and the sewing is JUST BEGINNING.  But there will be some exciting new stuff in Beaver Dam at Sewing Weekend.  And I WILL BE ROCKING THE FRINGE...


and -- I AM CRAZY about this look -- a big statement necklace...

Which, of course, in my case, could be made out of recycled T-SHIRTS...

This is one of my favorite philosophies...

AND -- I mean -- THINK ABOUT IT...???


Baking our pink cake for Valentine's Day (because you can NEVER GO WRONG with pink)...I love this picture because Lillian IS MY HEART...

A wonderful way to make a quick kid-friendly Easter Dessert on Sunday...


Have a great Easter weekend!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Irena Sendler

Believe it or not -- this is something I learned on Pinterest....



Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of children's section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw assisted by two dozen other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and with housing outside the Ghetto, saving those children during the Holocaust.

In August 1943, as an employee of the Social Welfare Department, Sendler had a special permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to check for signs of typhus, something the Nazis feared would spread beyond the Ghetto. During these visits, she wore a Star of David as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish people and so as not to call attention to herself.

She cooperated with others in Warsaw's Municipal Social Services department, and the RGO (Central Welfare Council), a Polish relief organization that was tolerated under German supervision. She and her co-workers organized the smuggling of Jewish children out of the Ghetto. Under the pretext of conducting inspections of sanitary conditions during a typhus outbreak, Sendler and her co-workers visited the Ghetto and smuggled out babies and small children in ambulances and trams, sometimes disguising them as packages.

Children were placed with Polish families, the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, or Roman Catholic convents. She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. Żegota assured the children that, when the war was over, they would be returned to Jewish relatives.

In 1943, Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo, severely tortured, and sentenced to death. Żegota saved her by bribing German guards on the way to her execution. She was listed on public bulletin boards as among those executed. For the remainder of the war, she lived in hiding, but continued her work for the Jewish children. After the war, she and her co-workers gathered together all of their records with the names and locations of the hidden Jewish children and gave them to the Żegota. However, almost all of their parents had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp.

Irena Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. She lost to Al Gore -- who did a Powerpoint about global warming. Ugh. Irena died in Warsaw on 12 May 2008, aged 98.

In 1999, students at a high school in Uniontown, Kansas produced a play based on research into Irena Sendler's life story titled Life in a Jar. It has since been adapted for television as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. Actress Anna Paquin played Sendler. Her story was largely unknown to the world until the students developed The Irena Sendler Project, producing their performance Life in a Jar. This student-produced drama has now been performed over 285 times all across the United States, Canada and Poland. Sendler's message of love and respect has grown through the performances, over 1,500 media stories, a student-developed website with 30,000,000 hits, to make Sendler’s story known to the world.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rita's video skills??

Lillian is four years old now. UNBELIEVABLE how fast the last four years have gone. The other day, Lilly was helping me to rearrange the furniture in her room -- and when she looked around, she put her hands on her hips and said this:

"This is wrong on so many levels."

I thought I would die. When I asked her where she heard that -- she said it was from some movie. Barbie and the Rock Star?

This post is strictly about me trying to figure out how to UPLOAD A VIDEO right off my computer -- without having to scrub it through YouTube. We'll see...

Mostly, this video is about preserving her little 3-year-old voice...so it's me trying to get her to talk. If you watch it, you will know why, if you were her Grandma -- the boring 2 minutes is totally worth it for the last 3 seconds. (now, if I can only learn to edit so it all looks spontaneous and genuine...)...

video


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thanks, Sharon!!

On the second day of Sew Expo -- Sharon Stone called to tell me she had ARRIVED. Sometime before I even left Iowa -- Sharon had emailed to let me know she would be delivering 350 pillowcases for the children of Mary Bridge. I gave her my cellphone number and said she should call me ANY TIME -- and I would help her deliver the pillowcases...

Mallory from the hospital went with me...it turns out 350 pillowcases makes for a VERY HEAVY LOAD...

Sharon is one of my special Sew Expo friends. One of those really good people...she reads my blog, sends me comments, cards, and encouragement. She loves the show -- but is always honest about when things are good or bad. AND she and her friends worked all year long to make these hundreds of pillowcases... (she always wanted to make sure SHE DIDN'T TAKE ALL THE CREDIT) --
Hey -- I miss you already, Sharon!!
The other day -- she forwarded this email -- and it is so well thought out -- I had to share...!!

Being Green...

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-a young person.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fashion Advice from a 4 year old...

After all that DRESSING UP for Sew Expo -- and making 5 colorful, long, maxi dresses out of recycled t-shirts -- you might be surprised by how conservative my clothes are in real life.




Here's a picture of me on the ONE DAY we had to be tourists in Tacoma. Note the plain black pants and gray shrug...


Honestly -- back in Iowa, I barely give a thought to the clothes I wear.  Maybe that's why I  ENJOYED SEWING FOR SEW EXPO.    I was creating ART...but, of course, art can easily go over the edge...lol....

The week I got home -- I was anxious to see Lilly and Warren. My first day back, Emily asked if I could come and watch the kids while she did a Walmart run. WITH PLEASURE!! I threw on a pair of clean black pants, with a pink knit top. Warren is turning into the sweetest, most smiling, charming baby boy. It is wonderful to see his personality surfacing...he is so engaged and focused...with a quick, bright smile. Nothing lights up a room like a baby's smile. (Lillian never believed in superfluous smiling..)

When I walked into the house, Lilly was busy in the kitchen. Of course, I wanted her to be DELIGHTED to see me....(I had been gone for a week). But instead -- she looked me up and down. And then, with a very adult tone, she said....

"You can never go wrong with pink."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

CHANGE IS GOOD

WINTER IS ALMOST OVER. I am so delighted about that. For me, the very best part of winter has always been THE OFFICIAL END OF IT. (Some marriages are like that, too...)

After a few nice days -- and some crocus action -- I open some windows to freshen the house. Then I start to feel an itch... Mom loved to move the furniture around with the seasons. I do, too. AND you know how much I love to change my rugs. AND I love to change the bedding with the seasons.

We have two bedrooms and a bath upstairs and two bedrooms and a bath downstairs. The smallest room in the house, the little downstairs bedroom has been magical changeable space. Over the years, that room has has been whatever we needed it to be.

When we moved into the house, it was the nursery we brought Elliott home to...

When he moved upstairs, it became my sewing room. Then, when I opened my store, I was doing all my sewing there so it became John's Den.

After the boys moved away from home, John moved his den to the much larger upstairs bedroom -- and the little room became my office. My cousin Jackie and I made the black and white tile board so my chair could easily roll from the computer over to the embroidery machine.

When Lillian was born, it went back to being a baby's nursery...I loved doing the starch fabric on the wall...







Lilly is four now. The youth bed has been replaced by a twin bed...

When Mary Mulari comes for her visit -- because Ross is living in her former guest room -- Mary will stay in the little room...and I need to make room for Mary's suitcase.  Then I realized Lillian is not a baby or a toddler. The room needs to be changed for HER.....Again...

And then I started thinking -- The actual value of this little room is the very fact that IT CAN CHANGE. It's not like a kitchen or a bathroom. It is flexible space and I have always been able to change it to serve the CURRENT NEEDS of our family. As small as it is -- the WHOLE HOUSE WORKS BETTER because of it.

But -- Lillian loves her room JUST THE WAY IT IS. She will NOT want that bed moved to the other side of the room...it will annoy her if I move the bookcase... people hate change. Because change is hard.  We love a routine.  We do many things simply because it's what we know...and we are COMFORTABLE doing it.

BUT it is definitely TIME FOR A CHANGE. So I called my once-a-week-house-manager -- Carrie. And scheduled an extra day. There is gonna be some heavy lifting, people...

AND I believe the lesson here is that CHANGE IS GOOD....this is what the room used to look like....


Trust me, Lillian...YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THE BIG CHANGES....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pinterest LOVES


Put a bunch of straws upright in a glass -- and pour jello into them. WORMS, PEOPLE...JELLO WORMS...

But, alas, like many things on Pinterest -- I can't quite figure out how you get them to come out of the straw without melting them down...

There are always so many wonderful words of wisdom...I think my board is over 400 posts now...

And, of course, my LAUNDRY board always makes me smile...

SERIOUSLY -- INDOOR SWINGS...??? WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT???

Amen, Pinterest...

I think I posted this a coupla months ago. But this is worthy of a rerun...and maybe you're new here...

Cut up a poster to modge- podge on the dresser drawers!! (you could blow up any digital picture and do this!!)

And, yes, thank you Pinterest for these words of wisdom...


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mary Mulari's Visit

I LOVE MY LIFE. There is always something exciting just around the corner...

Take this week for example. Mary Mulari is coming for her usual winter visit...!! Hooray...Although we just spent a week together in Puyallup -- we barely had a conversation. That show was CRAZY BUSY. We had to get up at 6:00 most days, bolt down some coffee, get things organized, yada, yada yada...and didn't see one another until after 9:00 that night...by which time, we were both ready to collapse into an exhausted heap...

So it will be so nice to have a chance for a REAL VISIT.
 
But lots of other people in Iowa look forward to Mary's visit. John, for example. He loves the reversible apron Mary made for him. (it's her job to make the rest of us look bad...)

There are two other very important groups who look forward to Mary's visit. Here's a picture of our visit last year -- the crew from the ORIGINAL Rita's Sew Fun...(before it was a blog -- it was a retail sewing shop).

And, of course, my BOOK CLUBBERS...Even though we should officially change our name from Book Club to Breakfast Club. Sewing is what brings these two groups together. All these women -- who are a big part of my life -- LOVE to sew...and when Mary visits, we have to do our Sew and Tell luncheons or breakfasts.

Mary and I will be planning the NEXT CHAPTER in this interesting sewing life of ours. We are ramping up to do the special evening event at the 30th anniversary of Sewing Weekend . Of course, we often get our inspiration from unique boutique shopping (we did some of that during our visit to Gig Harbor, Washington). But in Iowa -- we mostly get our inspiration from thrift stores...


You NEVER know what you might find.... this jacket didn't quite work out..

Hey -- life is an adventure. You just NEVER know what exciting new thing might be coming up in your life...And this week is going to be SEW MUCH FUN...Thanks, Mary, for being such a big part of my life-as-a-sewing-ride-adventure!!

BE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDARS...the 30th Anniversary of Sewing Weekend is going to be AMAZING...

Sewing Weekend will be the perfect way to kick off the NEXT exciting chapter of my sewing life...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mark Lipinski

Mark Lipinski has been waiting for a kidney transplant -- and he is FINALLY GETTING ONE. Many of you became a fan of Mark when he did the Quilter's Night OUT at the 2010 Sew Expo. I am proud to be one of Mark's cupcakes....and the mug he sent me after the show fits under my Kuerig perfectly.

After he started his internet radio show -- CREATIVE MOJO -- I called in one day and WON THE PRIZE...I love this picture of me and Mark at a Quilt Market.  He is an awesome person...and, like many of you, I have been following Mark for years and worry about his health.

 

Here's what he wrote on Facebook on March 18:  In exactly 10 days from today, I will receive a kidney from my friend and neighbor, Mary Eichler! Please, do not worry for me, and I only ask that you keep me in good thought. On the other hand, I would greatly appreciate it if your prayers and cards and thoughtfulness and notes of support go directly to Kidney Mary - after all, SHE, and she alone, is the HERO here. Here is her address: "Kidney Mary" Eichler; 29 Parker Road; Long Valley, NJ 07853

I am TERRIBLE at sending any kind of snail mail thing, Mark.  But I AM GOING TO DO THIS FOR YOU.  

And I'm putting this up on my blog because I hope you will send a card to Kidney Mary , too She is one very special woman...

Here's to keeping good thoughts for both of you...


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

VanDeRueben

It is very different having Ross living with us again. After 15 years of him being GONE...with barely two or three visits a year...you would think it might be a difficult transition.

But it's okay. Going back to school has been a big adjustment for him. Most of the other students are young enough to be HIS children. Getting through nursing school is going to take longer than he thought. But having him here can be nice. Of course, it cuts down on our running around the house naked. But then again -- he helps John bring in the wood and shovel the snow.

He is getting to know Lillian and Warren. Here is a picture of the first smile I ever saw from baby Warren. It was for his Uncle Ross....




The day I was coming home from Seattle -- Ross picked me up at the airport. He wanted to go to the Belgian Village (a local bar famous for homemade bread and sandwiches) for a Vanderueben. Great... We both got a sandwich and ordered one to go for John. (I knew I would not be cooking for DAYS)...We talked about the show, what had been happening in Iowa...

The waitress put down the $30 bill...I said, "I always buy lunch for my airport ride, Ross"

Him: (as he handed me the bill)... that was my plan, Mom. After all, you are the reason I'm here.

Me: At the Belgian Village? I think that was your idea...

Him: Here on planet earth. When you decide to have a child, you take on certain responsibilities.

Me: is that right?

Him: yes. When Warren is hungry, they feed him...

*************

Ugh...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Norm Sawyer Benefit

Norman and Lorna Sawyer are farmer friends of ours. Their son Neal (sitting on their porch) has been one of Ross's best friends since they were 5 years old...


My boys have always called her Aunt Lorna. Here's Lorna, making cookies for Valentine's Day...

On April 19, 2012, Norm and Neal were moving cattle on their farm. Norman fell off his four-wheeler and broke his neck. He was airlifted to a neuro-trauma hospital in Rockford, Illinois. In critical condition, he was paralyzed, on a ventilator and unable to speak or swallow. He had three surgeries to stabilize his neck.

For the last year -- Norman has been in various hospitals and Spinal Cord Injury Centers -- undergoing intensive rehabilitation.

Finally, after a year of rehabilitation and recovery, Norman is returning to the family farm. However, he is coming home to a very different house. There were many changes required to accommodate Norm's electric wheelchair. As well as extensive renovations and expenses to make the house handicapped accessible -- ramps, a wheelchair lift, handicapped bathroom, a ceiling hoist above the bed, a voice-activated computer, etc.

The cost of all this is stunning -- and the community wanted to help. So when the Zion Lutheran Church called and asked me to join the benefit committee -- of course I said yes. Guess what job they gave me? Public Relations!! Perfect....

My niece, Kelcy, using this picture of the Sawyer farm -- and her stellar Photoshop skills -- put together a beautiful poster -- which was printed in a mini and maxi version. They are up ALL OVER every little town in this county. The benefit will be April 13, 2013 -- at the Princeton Fire Department.



We (me and Kelcy) also set up a Facebook pageto help get the word out about the benefit. There will be a live auction and some baskets set up for a silent auction. There will be entertainment -- a choir AND young Keegan Harry and Cale Bowe will be performing a few musical numbers...

The meal will be BBQ beef, coleslaw, baked beans and lots of Church Lady PIES. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children (under 6 eat free).

If you are in the area -- PLEASE JOIN US. Help us help Norman. If you have anything you'd like to donate to the auction -- please contact me...

ritafar@aol.com
phone: 563 289 3280:
snail mail address: 1715 Pineo Grove Ct., Princeton, Iowa 52768)

Since Norman's accident, I often think about what I take for granted. Walking, talking, running, getting in the car, taking a shower, brushing my hair, making love, hanging the sheets out on the line, getting a pedicure, getting on a plane, sewing a goofy dress out of recycled t-shirts, cooking a meal, rocking a baby, picking my nose, getting together with friends for a restaurant meal -- going to the thrift store... And maybe that's the lesson. To appreciate the movement and activity of an ordinary day. To be grateful....to understand that the little things really ARE the big things...

That's how it happens, isn't it? Your whole life changes in a blink....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Homecoming



On our only day of SIGHTSEEING in Tacoma -- Gail took us to the Cliff House for an early dinner. Can you see the mountain in the background? This is my FAVORITE PICTURE from that day...

Here's my BEST PICTURE ever of Mt. Ranier. It was taken from the back seat of the car -- moving at about 60 mph -- driving out of Tacoma. I was SHOCKED when I saw how beautiful it turned out...

The next day, it was time to pack up...and fly back to Moline...


AND THIS IS WHAT GREETED us when we landed...

It was a mini-blizzard. BUT NEVER FEAR. Moline, Illinois knows how to handle snow. WE MIDWESTERNS ARE a hardy stock. Never fear -- there was a regular conga line of snow plows to keep the runway clear.

We landed -- EARLY, even. The 2013 Sewing and Stitchery Expo was AMAZING. Having Jackie there was wonderful...her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For many years, I've said to my friends, "if I could give you one gift -- it would be that you could be Rita Farro for one day at Sew Expo." And it is so true. It was a wonderful, wonderful show...there is so much energy...these women, these sewing sisters of mine. We talked, we laughed, we learned a little something new...but by the time my plane landed -- my throat was swollen and sore, my brain was sucked dry, and my feet were KILLING ME....and I knew I was going to sleep for a week...


Here's the thing about traveling. If you're doing your life right -- coming home is always the best part of any trip...