Thursday, April 30, 2015

Warren Wednesdays

Time flies. Nobody ever said a truer thing. And I cannot believe Warren is already two years old.
For his first year, you'd put him down in a place...and he'd pretty much stay there.  Sophie kept waiting for him to MOVE...
Now, of course -- the problem is none of us can keep up with him!!
Every Wednesday, Warren comes here to spend the day. And the night. So I don't get much else done...and this blog is mostly to tell you why there isn't much of a blog. BECAUSE I'M TOO BUSY WATCHING WARREN ALL DAY -- AND THEN, I'M TOO TIRED...
He LOVES being outside...
And he gets so dirty -- good thing his bath is one of his favorite activities...
Last night, he went to bed at 8:00...and he's still sleeping at 7:00 AM this morning.

He is the sweetest little boy in the world. But BOY O BOY O DOES HE WEAR A GRANDMA OUT.

The other day, a friend asked me what I do on Wednesdays, I replied, "hey -- I'm watching a two year old. It's a full time job, just making sure he doesn't swallow any nickels."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beaver Dam Sewing Weekend

For many months now, Mary and I have been working on our all-new-2015 Midwest Ya Ya Sister Show for the upcoming Sewing Weekend in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
With the President of Nancy's Notions

Then, as you may have heard -- Nancy Zieman had emergency knee surgery, so Nancy's Notions asked us if we could substitute for her.  On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, she was teaching her "Favorite 35 Sewing Tips" seminar. (to celebrate 35 years of Sewing Weekend). 
OF COURSE Nancy had three sold-out seminars!
Hey -- who wants to substitute for Nancy Zieman??   That woman has QUITE a good reputation, y'know??  Mary and I are worried that the attendees will be, everybody who was signed up for Nancy's seminar received this notice:

The Midwest Ya Ya Sisters, Mary Mulari and Rita Farro, are honored to be standing in for Nancy Zieman.

Nancy’s seminar was going to deliver “35 Sewing tried and true tips” -- so that’s what Mary and Rita are bringing to the show!! The Ya Ya Sisters are known for their sense of humor -- but these two are serious about their sewing and at this never-before-seen-anywhere seminar (WAY different from their Ya Ya show) they will each bring their lifetime FAVORITE tips.

Mary has tips about aprons and sweatshirt makeovers. Rita has advice on bed linens and plus size fitting.

Mary will share her favorite applique and zipper tips and Rita will do t-shirt maxi dresses.

So you won’t miss her too much -- Nancy is also sending some of her favorite sewing tips.


P.S. On Saturday, Rita is going solo -- so there will be a special t-shirt maxi-dress style show. (we can’t stop her.)
Anne -- GREAT LUNCH, babe.  I cannot wait to see the t-shirt maxi dresses you and Sarah come up with!!
AND -- if you are coming to Sewing Weekend next week, I want you to know I am sharing the BEST SEWING IDEA I'VE HAD IN TEN YEARS...!! No's so good, I cannot believe I didn't think of it sooner...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

May Pleasures!

Here's the best thing about LIFE. There are so many little pleasures to look forward to and enjoy. I mean it....every month of the year brings it's own set of gifts.

MAY is always a wonderful month, don't you think? It's about flowers, and spring...tulips, daffodills...what's not to love??
The FIRST garden crop, every year, is the asparagus.  WHAT A TREAT...
And, May is about getting that SUMMER PEDICURE.  Time to pack away the winter snow boots and get out the summer sandals!!
TIME TO CLEAN OUT MY get ready for my FIRST BIG ROAD TRIP of the year!!
Can you guess where I'll be headed next week??
I'll give you a hint....Mary Mulari will be there.  AND so will the delicious snacks from Harry and David!!
There WILL BE some thrift store shopping along the way...
That's right -- SEWING WEEKEND in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin!!
This year, Mary and I will be doing our all-new Midwest Ya Ya Show on Friday night. AND we'll be substituting for Nancy Zieman on Thursday/Friday/Saturday. (more tomorrow)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Karma Police

On Tuesday night, when I got home from the hospital, I called the E team in Low Moor to say I would not be able to do my usual Warren Wednesday.

Two hours later, Elliott was walking into my house -- BRINGING FOOD. Yes, indeed, the world turned upside down...

I recounted the events of the day...Our conversation went something like this.

Elliott: Gheesh, Mom -- you actually called yourself a pain virgin?

Me: I thought it was funny...

E: Uh huh. And then here's what happened. At Karma Headquarters, an alarm went off.

Karma Sheriff: (he started to talk into his wrist, as though he was the Secret Service)...hey -- we've got a woman in Princeton Iowa who claims she is a pain virgin.

Karma Deputy: Seriously?? (rubbing hands together with delight) -- what will we do to her?

KS: Well, she lives a pretty sedentary life. But, of course, she drives everywhere -- so she could be in a car accident. She enjoys cooking -- how about a burn from the oven? Or -- we could just give her a very bad, painful case of Shingles. There are soooo many fun options.

KD: Hummm...seems to me we should deliver some humility along with the about a very public fall? At some kind of fancy place? With a lot of people around??


By the time he got done, I was rolling with laughter. Really.

But Elliott is right. I was asking for trouble. And, apparently -- in need of a lesson!!

Although, after he brought FOOD TO MY HOUSE  -- I was tempted to use this rare advantage against my people. Just a smidge...I mean, how wrong would it be to milk it just a bit?

My back could have been wrenched -- or maybe I could complain of a worrisome headache? Dizziness?


Now that I understand how this Karma thing works -- I'm not taking any more chances...

I am SUPER delighted to report that I have no ill effects from my embarrassing mishap...and I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON...

So, okay -- it was a VERY LONG BLOGGING BREAK.  I got sick...there was stuff to do...and sometimes, dog gone it, a person just gets too busy LIVING THEIR LIFE to blog about it!!

THANKS for all the emails and phone calls.  I'm glad you missed me...and I think I'm back...(although, this was an easy thing to get OUT OF THE HABIT of doing...)

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Bigger They Are...

A friend is recuperating from surgery, and in a recent exchange of emails, she told me I should write an advice column. That made me laugh, and I told her she was free to ignore anything that sounded like "advice" coming from me, because I have never had a day of pain in my life.

I actually called myself the "pain virgin".

Never giving any thought to the risky karma....

The next day, I was attending a luncheon on the Rock Island Arsenal (with Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln reenactors) -- and I took a bad fall.

I mean -- it was a really bad, is-she-still-conscious-kind of falls. I got to live out the cliche -- "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" . My legs went out from under me (flip flops, Rita? really??) -- and on the way down, the back of my head banged against a locked steel door knob. It felt like a burly football player had full-tilt swung a bat and hit the back of my head...

I laid there, stunned for a minute, before I realized I'd cracked my head open...and blood was pooling in my hair. Then, everything that is the Federal Government (thank you, Rock Island Arsenal) -- kicked in.

One of the women hosting the luncheon said, "don't try to get up, dear..." And I said, "you don't need to worry about that..."

In the blink of an eye -- I had a firetruck, ambulance, three cute EMT guys...holy cow...
Hey -- I had my camera in my purse, thinking the Lincoln Lunch would be a good thing to blog about...

The end of this entertaining story is that I spent the afternoon in the emergency room. I got a tetanus shot and two staples in my head. And I realized once again that I will NEVER be a nurse.

My cousin Linda followed the ambulance over to the hospital -- then gave me a ride home.  WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT SISTERS AND COUSINS, PEOPLE???

The lesson?   Yes, Karma is a bitch.  AND I am done bragging about my pain-free life.

So -- there will be a brief blogging break...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

FIRST signs of spring

The BEST thing about an Iowa Winter is that it makes you REALLY, REALLY GRATEFUL for Spring...

My sister Deena has an amazing back yard -- full of the BEST playground equipment. And the kids could hardly wait to get out there again!!

This merry-go-around has a looong history. It used to be in the yard of a one-room schoolhouse.
Then -- the NEW piece of equipment -- a BOUNCY HOUSE that looks like a barn!!
And some HUGE trees to climb.
Swinging is always a favorite.
There are two gigantic trees that are probably 200 years old.
Go, Myla....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Maimon Painting


Last week, I blogged about the RALPH LAUREN ruffled sheets I bought at a local Estate Sale.

Well -- that wasn't the only treasure I bought that day...

There was a fabulous print....wrapped in the plastic and cardboard backing it came in, standing against the wall of a back bedroom...

Of course, I was attracted to the subject. I am always a big fan of girlfriends doing anything together. This looks like a tea party....

But, oh my -- this print is HUGE. 24 inches by 36 inches....

What the hell. It's only $7.50. I'll find someplace to hang it....I'm sure....

Who could resist this?? I fell in love with everything about this painting. The subject of women getting together with other women. Their casual pose. The tea on the table.  The way they cross their legs (I always wanted to be able to do that...).  The print of their skirts.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G  But most of all -- the two tone stocking, patterned legs. AND tops. 

Yes.  I can find a place to hang this....maybe I need to add a room onto the house...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Easter Scavenger Hunt

Lilly was delighted with her scavenger hunt -- moving right long.  As she followed the clues, she found an Easter gift for herself and Warren...(there might have been little pieces of chocolate long the way). ....Then, she found this word-game clue.  Because she cannot read yet -- I used pictures.  Fun, eh?

#4: You are doing great, Lilly -- Warren thinks you are the BEST…
But to find YOUR next Easter gift -- it will be a word game TEST…

The first letter of Grandma Rita’s friend's name?_____

The first letter of this:_____

The first letter of this color: _____

The letter for this is:_____

Look for that special word…(Moon)
in the room where you sleep….
Your Easter gifts will be hidden, but they are yours to keep….

(Place clue #5-- Twister Game for Lilly. Whale for Warren)

Monday, April 13, 2015


For Easter, we were invited to my niece's home. Nicole (mother of Memphis) was making the big dinner -- and I was delighted to be a guest.

Her husband, Bill, ramped up an Easter egg hunt for the little kids...and all I had to do was contribute some side dishes. YIPPEE KAYEE...
Lilly and Memphis did make a ZEBRA (thanks, Rhonda) bunny cake...but I didn't get  picture.
This is a family of sports fanatics. The kids enjoyed the basketball.
But, of course, the BIG EVENT was the Easter Egg Hunt.
The truth is, if Bill put three hard boiled yellow eggs in the grass -- that would have been enough.  Warren would pick up an egg, throw it at somebody, then pick up the same egg over and over again.
And -- OH MY -- the play value of a worn-out, rusty old riding lawnmower.  Priceless...
This is Lilly, in her Easter dress, with her Easter Bunny loot.
We started off Easter morning, at a 7:00 AM church service on the Mississippi River. Warren was baptized, and it couldn't have been a more beautiful morning.  The E team went home to find what the Easter Bunny brought to their house...

Then we had dinner and spent the afternoon with Nicole's family -- SO MUCH delicious food.   Ham, turkey, all the trimmings, Ronda's special Easter cream puffs for dessert.  YIKES. 

But, for me -- the special Easter thing has always been a treasure hunt.  I did it for Ross and Elliott LONG into their adulthood.  And I love doing it for Lilly and Warren....

This year -- it started off with this: (she can't read -- so the red letters are NOTES I wrote to me, FOR ME)

This card is Clue #1…(HAND LILLY THIS FIRST CLUE)
For the special Easter Treasure Hunt for Warren and Lilly….
Grandma made up some clues that are very silly…
The first gifts will be near the chair that is black…
Look underneath, inside the plastic sack…..
(Place Clue #2, PINK AND WHITE bunnies with candy)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Estate Sale Sheets

Last Saturday, Bert and I went to TWO estate sales in the snobby Lakehurst development. These homes were mostly built 25 years ago, in a woodland, on a beautiful little lake. The particular house where the sale was being held had the distinction of being the first home in Scott County to sell for half a million dollars. Just a house, that is -- not a farm. Most of our farms are worth well over a million. (that's why our children cannot become farmers)
This Lakehurst home is a Google estate house was similar...only a huge ranch floor plan...
As we walked through the house, I found a few things I liked. There was a print that was interesting -- but TOO big. I have only one wall in my house, and I'm rotating paintings, I walked on, determined to be PICKY, REALLY PICKY about buying any more stuff into my house...

Yeah, right.

I went into the bedroom where the linens were stacked. All longer folded (this was the second day of the sale). The blankets were tumbled with the sheets, and the pillowcases were already gone. A ruffle caught my eye...could it be?? Really???

The only ruffled sheet I know of is Ralph Lauren.  He's been doing this for awhile, and they are VERY, $185 EACH.  That's right -- sheets sold separately...
I don't suppose you'd believe this is a picture of my own bed? lol...
I picked up the ruffled white flat sheet (queen size), and after some digging, found the fitted sheet to match. AND then I found a pink top sheet and the pink fitted sheet (also queen size). I also found a yellow top sheet (with white trim) and another plain white flat sheet.

Of course, at that point, I knew I was buying a big bag of stuff -- so I might as well go back and get the LARGE art print.

Walking out of the house, they had to give me one of those heavy duty, supersize garbage bags meant for LEAF disposal.  These sheets are HEAVY...(as good sheets always will be).

Wow.  The price?  $1.00 each.  (the truth is, it was Day Two of the sale, so everything was 25% off...)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Little Park, Big Memories

March is THAT month of the year. If it comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb -- right? The weather is completely unpredictable and you NEVER know what you're gonna get.

Which is exactly why a beautiful day is such an unexpected GIFT...

This was just a normal Tuesday.  It was warm, the sun was shining, and I called Emily to see if I could take the kids to the park for a picnic supper.
There was no advance planning -- so I just went through the McDonald's drive-through.
Lilly made a shake out of sand.
Warren ate his chicken McNuggets, AND then he ate his sister's
He is a fearless climber.
And he loves trains.
What a wonderful afternoon!!
Here's the thing about little kids. They are so easy to impress.

And you never know what they're going to remember.  I actually believe that this last minute picnic in the park will remember for them like ten days in Italy would remember for a teenager.

Hey -- it's worth a shot...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Schaumburg Weekend

For my birthday, John and I went to Chicago for the weekend. Well, actually -- we went to Schaumburg -- a northwest suburb. John isn't much of a traveler -- but he does recognize that every now and then, it's good to get away from your regular life.

No phone calls, no cleaning, no cooking...hey -- I'M ALL IN...

This weekend trip is "our thing".  We started going to Schaumburg and eating at Yu's 25 years ago, when we had two boys living at home.  Life changes, tho.  I was doing a lot of travel with my job.  Our boys moved away -- we had our house all to ourselves...there was no need for a weekend "getaway". 

Then -- what do you know -- the boys are back!!  Along with two adorable grandchildren.  I couldn't be happier about that.  But the trade-off is that privacy is once again a rare thing.   So we're headed back to Schaumburg.
In Iowa -- we had enough warm weather to melt all the snow. But Schaumburg still had some remnants of snowplow mountains in their parking lots...
Our favorite restaurant is Yu's Mandarin...the food is always awesome...
John HATES it when I take pictures of food...but I did try to sneak this one of the Pu Pu platter...(sadly, we had already eaten all the appetizers).
The BEST part of Yu's is the glass wall. There are five cooks on the other side of the glass, with live fire, and a second line of sous on these huge woks. It's like watching theater the entire time you're in the dining room...
AND, another first. We RENTED a movie. (we've rented movies in hotel rooms before -- but this was our first regular movie). The Imitation Game was a great movie. And an amazing history lesson.

Every couple gets out of sync now and then.I highly recommend a weekend getaway.
Life is all about accepting changes. This weekend wasn't quite like 25 years ago...that was then -- and this is   We did many things we've always done.  We stayed at the same hotel, ate at the same restaurants.  And, then -- we also enjoyed the movie (and, to be completely honest -- I also packed a jigsaw puzzle)...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Maddie's Dress

I cannot even imagine my life without sewing. Honestly. There is some new, exciting project EVERY SINGLE DAY. And, the best part of my sewing life is that it can happen IN AN INSTANT. Like the day Madeline was here. We went down to the basement -- because she was going to mode podge my washing machine....and THERE was a t-shirt.

Hey -- here's a good idea....why don't we make you a t-shirt maxi dress??
The shirt was black, with white letters that said, "I tried to be good, but I got bored."
It took all of five minutes for me to sew that shirt to an existing long white skirt...
Maddie added some glitter....
She did some t-shirt braiding on the back...and we fringed the sleeves...