Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Elizabeth's Bunny


Since the DAY she was born -- Lillian has had a live-in best friend. Sophie. They do everything together.









Last week --  Lillian had a play date with Carrie's daughter Elizabeth and she FELL I LOVE WITH Elizabeth's pet bunny,THUMPER...

Kim, Carrie and I were standing in the kitchen chatting while the girls were petting soft, furry, beautiful bunny-pet Thumper.  Lillian was so excited, she jumped up and said "I want a bunny, Grandma."

I replied, "That probably won't happen, honey, because dogs and bunnies don't get along."

Without a moment of hesitation, she said, "We'll just get rid of the dogs."

Wow....that was quick. We three grown women exchanged raised eyebrows and chuckled...

Lilly sat back down on the floor to pet Thumper. Suddenly -- she was holding her head in her hands -- crying -- with tears streaming down her face -- sobbing so hard her whole body was shaking...

Both Kim and Carrie were stunned -- they worried that Lilly had been punched or bitten (by Elizabeth and Thumper, respectively?)....they asked, ''ELIZABETH -- WHAT DID YOU DO?"

I was right next to the girls, and I knew nothing like that had happened. But Lilly was heartbroken and the tears were completely spontaneous and seemingly for no reason... Holding her in my arms, her whole body was wracked with sobs...and she could not calm herself enough to even tell me why she was crying...

Finally, after a few minutes...she gulped out these words...

"I....miss.....my....dogs....."

Monday, April 29, 2013

SEWING WEEKEND

IT'S THIS WEEKEND...Wow...Be a part of the tradition where sewing friends meet. Nancy's Notions Warehouse and Retail Store -- 333 Beichl Avenue, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. It's May 2,3 and 4. STARTS ON THURSDAY. Mary Mulari and I will be introducing our HOT NEW WRAPS PATTERN on Thursday night at our all-new-Midwest-Ya-Ya Show!!
This is a little interview I did with Mike Shuster last fall at the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. Mike actually RUNS Nancy's Notions in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Thanks for inviting us, Mike -- IT IS GOING TO BE A REALLY BIG SHOW...

video
AND -- Mary and I have launched the Midwest Ya Ya Hsister page on Facebook...WHERE, COMING SOON -- pictures of our new wraps!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Another Auction Virgin


After a hard reboot -- I THINK I am able to upload some pictures again. Ugh. Anyway -- at the last auction in DeWitt, Iowa (my favorite auction house) -- my niece Kelcy's husband was sent ON A MISSION.....

He was a little stunned by the strange variety of STUFF at this particular auction....hundreds of dolls did make for a kinda creepy audience...

Andy didn't actually connect with the beauty of the Turkey on Velvet...(which I got for $2.50 -- and will give to Amy at Thanksgiving -- don't anybody tell her.)

Andy was there to bid on ONE THING...and there was a lot of waiting....I asked him to test out a plain white tub chair that I was considering. It would have been a great project to paint some funky design on, right? (there were two chairs, in perfect condition.  I did not buy them -- they went for $20)...

AND HOW ABOUT THIS?? Have you ever seen a purse that looked like a horsehead?? Fabulous...there was a designer label on the inside..and I really wonder if it might have been worth way more than the $7.50 it went for...

SO -- WHAT WAS SO IMPORTANT TO KELCY THAT ANDY WOULD SPEND HIS ENTIRE SATURDAY WAITING TO BID ON IT?? Here it is -- an exquisite Victorian sofa. In excellent condition -- the PERFECT prop for Kelcy's photography studio. Kelcy wanted it so badly, she told Andy he could go up to $400....

I am very happy to report that Andy DID get the sofa. And he only paid $100. Which, by DeWitt, Iowa standards is a lot of money...so there's a slight possibility that he was bidding against himself...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lillian's Treasure Hunts


Lillian learned at a young age that whenever Grandma Rita comes to visit -- THERE IS A PARTY..! And I always, always bring something with me....Of course, she soon figured out that the treasure COMES IN MY CAR...

As RitaLuck would have it -- the E team lives between me and my favorite auction house...So, on this day, when I stopped there on my way home -- Lillian could hardly wait to search my car. AND SHE WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED!! There were games, puzzles....

AND there was this great circle vest in the car. REMEMBER THE NEW YORK CITY CIRCLE VEST?? Mary and I have been working on our new pattern -- and BOOM -- I find this child size version at a thrift store last week...

And note Sophie in the background. The always-present-ever-loyal-best-pet-a-kid-ever-had Sophie...(yes, there is a story coming)

Lillian picks out HER OWN CLOTHES. So she is quite the little mini-fashionista. The best part of the outfit she's wearing -- not only did she make the poncho a skirt -- she added the striped leggings. I thought she would love the colorful circle vest. She did not. When I was leaving, she said, "take this with you, Gransma. Not because I don't like it -- but because I will never wear it. Maybe if you sewed the holes shut, and made one big one, I could wear it like a skirt, with some pink pants..."
Emily looked at me and we both raised our eyebrows...I wonder if Nickelodeon would consider a kiddie version of Project Runway??

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Typical Saturday

I went to a GREAT AUCTION ON SATURDAY...and there were so many amazing things there -- but this is just one of those days when I CANNOT GET BLOGGER to play ball with me. So I have no idea what pictures might post here. Believe it or not, Bert paid $30 for a STUFFED SQUIRREL...I hope that makes it...T

There was also the usual ugly lamp parade...

And a complete AUDIENCE OF CREEPY DOLLS...
Then, too, I got to work with an auction virgin to this sale...






Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Latest Ya Ya News



I AM SO EXCITED...Sewing Weekend in Beaver Dam is just around the corner!! BE THERE OR BE SQUARE. Mary and I will be unveiling a BRAND NEW SHOW...about one of our favorite things -- WRAPS.

Beaver Dam is ALWAYS a blast -- one of the best times of the year..click on the link for more information.....
All Wrapped Up with the Midwest Ya Ya Sisters Evening Event Presented by Mary Mulari and Rita Farro Thursday Evening, May 2 from 7:30-9 p.m. Beaver Dam High School, Beaver Dam, Wis.


When Mary was visiting a few weeks ago -- we laid out THE MOST EXCITING PATTERN -- with a dozen different wrap/shawl/poncho projects. This one will be called the Gig Harbor Shrug...

And this one will be called the Katherine Stanwick Vest Wrap...

This example is out of recycled t-shirts -- with LOTS OF FARRO FRINGE.  The wrap idea is AWESOME...and a great thing to do with one of those beautiful souvenir Pashminas you have tucked away in a drawer...sorry I forgot to smile...

For models, I will recruit anybody...at any time...my sister Ronda..who always thinks I am crazy..

Or Carrie....who actually COULD HAVE BEEN a model!!!


Anyway -- YOU GET THE IDEA. We had a wonderful time picking out our favorite wraps for the pattern -- and it's like being on an adrenaline rush. We BARELY got it to the printer in time...and we're keeping our fingers crossed that it'll be ready in time for the show in Beaver Dam!! After the initial launch, the pattern will be available on our websites...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Life is A Domino Game

I am the luckiest girl in the world. I've ALWAYS believed that. If you're doing it right -- life is a delicious, rich adventure. I love meeting new people -- going places and doing things. One person leads to another...

Many years ago -- my friend Mary Mulari recommended me to be a speaker at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington.



That's when I met Joanne Ross, the Chair of the show -- and her husband Ron. Of course, at some point in time, that led to a wonderful job doing the PR and marketing for Sew Expo -- and I cannot even begin to count the number of new friends I made... (of course, many of you are reading this blog...lol...)



Joanne introduced me to one of her best friends -- Pat Leslie. They both worked at and retired from Extension. Joanne was the textile girl, and Pat was the Foodie. Pat LOVES to cook...in retirement, she attends cooking schools -- here and in Europe. She LOVES to travel, and she was a guest at Julia Childs' birthday parties!! So this picture of me and Pat EATING should come as no surprise...

Pat introduced me to one of her best friends, Dana. Remember last year when I blogged about her visit to Iowa? We went out to dinner at the Iowa Machine Shed and ate the biggest pork chop known to man...

Pat and Dana have a big circle of Foodie Friends in Olympia and they get together once a month to try out a different restaurant!! WHAT A GREAT IDEA...I was lucky enough to join them one night last year -- and we ate Vietnamese!!

After dinner, they go to one person's house (taking turns) to eat dessert. On this night, the desserts looked like something different than what they really were..(it is a very competitive Foodie Group)

Last year, when my sisters came to Sew Expo -- we spent one day in Olympia and Pat was an incredible tour guide. I never was able to get my pictures from that year off the darn camera card...so I only have the wonderful memories...

Pat spent the entire day with us -- taking us all over Olympia and touring her part of the world. Pat is like that. She is a GIVER. And holy cow -- is she a BUSY WOMAN. Always doing something for a neighbor or a friend...and ALWAYS cooking...she has a large family and hundreds of friends. If somebody is sick, Pat is making a casserole or baking a pie. For years, she taught cooking classes and many of my new recipes (in the last ten years) are from Pat. She babysits her 4-year old great-granddaughter once a week...Pat is a gift in many people's lives...
And her TRAVEL SCHEDULE....well -- it's amazing...
So now you're wondering what this post is about, eh? More later...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Isabel Bloom

If you ever lived in Davenport, Iowa -- you know about Isabel Bloom. She was a famous artist in these parts -- and lived and worked during the exciting Grant Wood Days. For more information, you could visit the website...click here

She was a pioneer -- and her artistic medium was cement. You are probably familiar with her work...

Recently, there was a luncheon at a fancy hotel ----(thus, this picture. I LOVE HOTEL CARPETING...)

The speaker was Donna Young, a talented artist in her own right who was trained by Isabel...and is now one of the new owners of the company...

There was a room full of people -- I loved the presentation, the information, the interesting people at our table...

OH, YEAH -- this was my birthday present from my cousin Linda. We had a GREAT time...Linda is an accomplished artist in her own life -- so she already knew a lot about Isabel Bloom, her history, her husband, her art...

But I didn't know much...and it was a WONDERFUL GIFT. Always such a pleasure to have a nice lunch, spend time with a good friend (and my cousin Linda is the BEST kind of people)...AND learn something new!!
This was my best birthday gift of the year, Linda!! THANKS AGAIN...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Change is good!!

When Mary came to visit -- it was a good opportunity to rearrange Lillian's little room. There was WAY TOO MUCH Princess stuff -- and since Warren might be using that room now and then -- I decided to stick with the Moon theme we have going on. So I moved the bed, and rearranged some of the furniture...put some fresh line dried cotton sheets on the bed...and it was GOOD TO GO...


Or so I thought...

When Lillian walked into the room for the first time...she put her hand on her hip and said, "This is wrong on so many levels."


Oh, yeah. The girl is a real charmer...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Norman Sawyer Benefit

I'm still posting on the Facebook page for Norman's benefit.  This message arrived the other day. From a friend of Sarah's (Norman's daughter)...she attended the benefit and wrote this beautiful tribute.
*************
From: Julia Bean

I just want to share this. The benefit on Saturday had a profound impact on me and likely a thousand other people. Thank you -

Before moving to the farm, we had neighbors in a small little community of four houses called Candy Apple Addition. We became especially close to Mike and Sarah who lived in the round house up the hill from us. The friendship between Sarah and I came into its fullness when I was recovering from a surgery several years ago. Out of the blue one day, she showed up delivering a care package to me. And then she came every few days after that and brought her daughter along. It wasn’t necessarily the care package that made me well but her visits with her little girl toddling along behind her helped lift me up out of the blues and carried my mind away from the confines of our home. Sometimes we’d just lay on the bed reading childrens books together with Annabelle and often, didn’t even get to talk about girl stuff but it got my mind off being stuck in that house.

Over the years, our families grew together. We got to know Mike and Sarah’s parents and it was clear to me that this family had come from a long line of genuine goodness from both sides. If they saw us outside, they’d flag us over for a cool drink and a visit on the deck. One time Mike’s parents, who own an orchard had tons of apples they wanted to share so we spent an entire day peeling and coring and boiling apples for sauce. Both sets of grand-parents were there, Mary and Vern on Mikes side and Lorna and Norman on Sarah’s side. It was an unforgettable day of telling stories while we all worked on the deck. Other days there were birthday parties and home repairs, lawn care, bon fires, tinkering in the wood shop or sitting under the willow tree at the house on the hill. We loved the time together with them that usually involved some type of project and then relaxing under a shade tree visiting with one another after the work was done.

About three years ago, our lives shifted and we moved away from Candy Apple Addition. Shortly after, Mike and Sarah moved away yet we remained close and spent time with them at their new farm up north. One night Sarah called me. Norman, her dad, had been in a farm accident. It was believed that he was thrown from a four-wheeler while rotating pastures for his cattle. She didn’t know much yet but it was a neck or back injury and he couldn’t feel his legs. The pitch in her voice was unmistakably distraught with fear and uncertainty. He had been air lifted to the hospital. I tried to speak words of reassurance to her that the body was great at healing itself and this would surely get better. Our family prayed for Norman and their family. We read updates on a blog that the family kept throughout his recovery. He endured much therapy, a few surgeries and transfers to different facilities from Illinois to Minnesota. He remains paralyzed without use of his legs and arms and finally moved back home one year later after significant renovations were made to their home on the farm.

It was hard to fathom all of this was happening to this family. Both Doug and I had come to know Norman and Lorna, Sarah’s parents. We admired them and felt like a small extension of their family now too. They have a way of making you feel welcome and accepted. I would have guessed that Norman and Lorna were well known in their community even though we’re not geographically close. They just seemed like those kind of people. But until the benefit, I didn’t know exactly the degree that this family has had on others.

A benefit was planned for Norman in their town of Princeton, Iowa for April 13, 2013. If I had to guess, the town couldn’t be populated with any more than maybe 1000 people. Today was the day of the benefit. Pulling up to the Fire Station I saw signs along the side of the road indicating where someone could ride a shuttle to the benefit. I thought that was odd since it’s a small town and so I assumed that it was because there probably wasn’t a lot of parking available. I began seeing cars lined up on the streets and not knowing where the Fire Station is, I assumed it couldn’t be much farther away. It was actually five blocks away. I passed the station and saw cars parked along every side street for blocks and blocks on each side. There was a parking lot and it was full. It looked like a small town parade was being held and I expected the streets to be blocked off in a similar way. I just kept driving around in awe of this unbelievable sight. By then, the shuttle bus was sounding more and more like a good idea. On my second round past the long line of cars, I saw the line of people waiting to gain entrance to the benefit. I couldn’t believe it! I checked the time and the event had started an hour ago. This was remarkable! My excitement was building for the amount of people that had come out to support this family.

Finding a place to park, I got out and secured my spot in line. Looking around me, I saw a bouquet of people waiting in front of me. There were two young women in front of me with designer bags and platform shoes. A tall man ahead of them, holding his daughter and a little one at his side grabbing on tight. Coming up on the left was an old woman in a flowered dress holding the hand of her husband, pulling him along to the front of the line since they already had tickets. A handful of farmers were in front of the designer girls. To my right was a patio set that was being auctioned off. In one of the chairs sat a tiny little lady wrapped in a quilt waiting for her granddaughter to find them a seat. Conversely, I saw a similar mixture of people coming out carrying a plate of goodies. Three Carmelite nuns came out and hugged a group of girls they recognized. One guy came out chewing on a toothpick telling the anticipating crowd that it was worth the wait. And it was.

When I got to the door, the congestion of the people continued from room to room. The sound of an auctioneer through tin-sounding speakers was in the background. People were hugging and laughing. There were rows upon rows of banquet tables filled with a sea of people. Over to my right behind a row of tables, there they were, Lorna standing next to Norman in his wheelchair. She was smiling her quiet and gentle smile as usual, patting a little girl on the head while a line of people waiting to greet them gathered behind them too.

Off to my left was an entire room of tables lined with row after row of silent auction items. Baskets and boxes of goods, quilts, platters, jewelry and gift certificates. I just followed the flow of the people in front of me gazing upon the items but not really registering the contents. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of these people present. I listened to those around me and heard many comments about this tremendous show of support. After I made the rounds, I looked for my friends and found Mike and their son, William. Gave him my regards and asked him to pass a hello along to Sarah knowing that getting time with her to chat wasn’t a likely encounter on this exciting day. We would catch up another time.

Since I was there alone, I decided not to work toward finding a spot to sit amidst the crowd. I took a pass on the hometown plate of food to quietly make my exit. I walked out as tears welled in my eyes for the fullness of love and energy that surrounded the people in this place. I couldn’t get over the palpable love in the room. A wall of emotion met me as I thought about all of it. I was so taken aback by the support for this man and his family. It was so much to take in.

How had this family impacted so many? How had they engaged the hearts of so many in their life? My mind searched for how it must have played out over the years. Was it through their farming life or through Lorna’s teaching? Was it from his days selling insurance or through raising their three children? What about Norman’s involvement in associations or singing with the barbershop quartet? My hour drive back home was in quiet reflection for what had been revealed to me today. What had called that large outpouring of support to embrace this phenomenal family? Was it a sudden drive by curiosity of a small town? Was it folks simply being nice to a guy who had a tough year? Was it pity? Were people dropping by to get in on an auction? No, definitely not any of those things.

My thoughts finally led me to this. It was this man. It was this man…and this family…that had been sowing seeds all their life. Their approach was good old fashioned love for one another in this world.

They were friends to others before others came to be friends to them. Long before this tragedy struck the Sawyer family, they were reaching out first just like Sarah did so many years before when I was sick. They extended friendship and love and support first. They treated others with kindness and encouragement before they received it in return. They had a smile, a kind word, offered a favor, gave of their time, listened to others, cared, embraced. How beautiful, how lovely, how absolutely inspiring!!! I asked myself these next questions. Perhaps you’ll do the same.

If tomorrow, my life was altered the way the Sawyers has been, would there be the amount of people there to support me?

Have I sowed seeds of love to inspire others?

Have I supported enough people to inspire them to better and greater things?

Have I loved enough to receive love in return as Norman Sawyer has?

After reading an article about Norman Sawyer, it says “Norman is inspired by the support of his community. He hopes, one day, he can become someone else's inspiration.” Indeed, I was inspired today! I want to sow seeds like he did. He has inspired me to be a better person. I am astounded by this revelation that I received today and grateful to God for gifting this world with Norman Sawyer and his family.

God bless the Norman Sawyer family...always.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Resting

I am too tired to blog.

The last month has been a roller coaster ride..

Mostly, I've been working on my friend Norman's benefit... I was on the PR committee...and we didn't realize we had a ROCK STAR on our hands.

Anyway -- the benefit was very VERY successful and we had people lined up around the Fire Station for 3 hours that night....C.R.A.Z.Y.... It was last Saturday, April 13.

This little town -- AND My people STAND UP....My boys -- my sisters and their families all attended and/or helped...there will be a complete report. Soon. But right now I am still in my after-the-show-coma....
And it's official. I'm giving myself a coupla days off....


https://www.facebook.com/NormanSawyerRoadToRecovery

Saturday Auction

One of the best things about my friend Bert is that she NEVER voluntarily goes online or reads this blog. But as you know -- we spend most Saturdays together -- kicking around this Midwestern world we live in. Looking for treasure, talking about our jobs, GOING TO AUCTIONS...

You NEVER know what you might find at a Saturday auction...

There could be toys, or linens, gaudy lamps or mini-vans...

On closer inspection -- I realized THIS WAS MY VERY FIRST SEWING MACHINE....and I loved this thing!! It looks in great condition. I should buy it -- right?? For a spare??

Mary found some boxes full of vintage hankies...

They had a really big crowd on this day...

My favorite ring man, Darwin, does not want his picture taken...

Often, they have some very interesting furniture. But since Mary is flying home -- and my house is already packed TO THE CEILING with furniture -- we only bid on a few things...

It WAS SO MUCH FUN. Most Saturdays start off with breakfast...Bert and I do the weekly download (that's usually about our respective jobs)...then we move into the treasure hunting phase of our day.
And it's always fun to have Mary here joining in our festivities.