Tuesday, July 31, 2007

If you are a pet owner, you'll understand

WENDY AND SHAMROCKShamrock, Wendy's precious companion, died Saturday of a brain tumor.
Shammie was 7 years old and an adventurous little guy. He traveled wherever Wendy went. He's kayaked in Alaska, skied in a backpack in Colorado, had fallen down a waterfall in Colorado & was rescued by Forest Rangers, he's played in the surf in the Pacific and the Atlantic, lived in Washington DC, and had just moved to Arizona. He was a big fan of McDonald's cheeseburgers and loved floating on a raft in the pool.
Please say a prayer for Wendy as she goes through this painful time.
~Joni, Shammie's 'Grammy' (as Wendy called me)
There's pictures of Shamrock kayaking and skiing (in scrapbook layouts) earlier in my posts.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I just joined the sewing club!Why 2 pictures? The top picture shows the sewing better, and the bottom photo shows the true colors. This is red hot off the sewing machine. It needs a good steam pressing, but I was too excited to take a photo and get it on my blogsite. No Patience whatsoever!

I haven't sewn in over 20 years... other than Frizzy Lizzy the doll. So it really feels good to have completed a project and affirm my ability to sew.

This is by no means perfect... but it's a finished product (other than the pressing). Now, I'm ready to get online and order some really fun fabrics and patterns and sew, sew, sew.

Thanks for the inspiration to all you sewers in blogland!


PS This wasn't a pattern... sketched it from a Vera B. purse.

PSS Frizzy Lizzy knows who she'd like to be loved by. So, tomorrow she's traveling in the mail to one of you out there.
So someone will be getting a surprise!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Inspiration is all around us!

I have a stash of children's picture books which I browse through continually for creative inspiration. This is one of those books.

Jamela's Dress is a picture book written and illustrated by Niki Daly.
The author/illustrator splashes beautiful watercolors across the pages of this warmly evocative picture book, set in his native South Africa.Jamela's mother purchases a length of costly fabric for a dress to wear to a wedding. Jamela loves the beautiful colors and design.
(Look at the lovely, colorful textiles filling the store's shelves.) After washing the fabric, Mother leaves Jamela in charge of the cloth while it dries. Jamela, however, can't resist playing with the gorgeous fabric.

As she struts through town trailing the fabric like a train, passersby greet her with the refrain "Kwela Jamela African Queen!" She poses for a triumphant photo, but is crestfallen when a boy on a bike accidentally spoils the fabric.

But all's well that ends well. Her photographer friend wins a cash prize for the photo he took of regal Jamela and he replaces the ruined material.

The bond of love between Mother and Jamela is shown in their faces (it also radiates from the warmth of the oranges and yellows in the fabric at the center of the tale).
Mother makes a dress for herself from the new fabric and also a dress for Jamela.

Inspiration is all around us if we take the time to look for it.
Where do you find your creative inspiration?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Born: 07-27-72

Happy Birthday, Wendy!!

Remind Darin that in our family we don't just have birthdays... we have birthday weeks!
Love you,
Mom & Boyd

Thursday, July 26, 2007


We went to a friend's home for dinner last night.
Boyd was busy at the kitchen counter gathering together an appetizer we were taking along while I was finishing trying to curl my hair.
"Are you ready, honey?" I called to him.
"All set!" he replied.
I walked into the kitchen and snuck up behind him to give him a kiss on the neck.
And then I saw 'IT'.
The label.
The label?
"Honey, you put your shirt on inside out!!"But, I'll never tell... right!
(just the blog world)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Daily Candy is a book and a FREE daily e-mail
(You don't have to buy the book to get the e-mail).
WHAT is Daily Candy? The ultimate insider's guide to what's hot, now, & undercover.
It covers such topics as:
*Fashion, Food, and Drink
*Arts and Culture
WHERE do I go to get the FREE e-mail? Go to their website http://www.dailycandy.com/ and begin on their home page.

HOW do I get the e-mail? You'll find a large red button that says, "Sign up for free daily e-mail" Click on it! Then follow the directions. You will have a choice of what 'Edition' you would like to receive. Click on a city near you or a city you'd like to learn more about. You can click on 'Kids' or 'Travel' (published on Wednesdays).
You can change 'editions' anytime you want. I'm getting the London edition... but, I will change again when my curiosity peeks. London is the only non-USA city listed, but don't let that stop you! Try the 'Everywhere' edition or hop on over to New York or San Francisco.
The daily illustrations which you see on my post today, are from the daily e-mails. I love their illustrations... they inspire me! The book is loaded with fun, clever, and whimsical drawings.

The web page has great ARCHIVES! You can play for hours roaming around.

You'll laugh (Hopefully).
You'll cry (OK, probably not).
But your life will definitely be 'sweeter' because of it.

Try It! It's FREE after all,
And interesting!
PS I am not getting paid by them for saying this. It does sound like a sales pitch.
No... it just me,

Monday, July 23, 2007


I am so blessed to have hands. To have these hands! They are not slim with long tapered fingers and beautiful nails. But they are mine... a gift from God. And they have served me well and hopefully will continue to do so.
They have reached up and touched my mother's cheek when I was little and snuggled on her lap, and stroked her hair when she died. They have been clasped together in prayer more times than I can count. They have held two newborn daughters and now pressed their numbers on my cell phone when they needed me or I needed them. They have waved 'Hello' and waved 'Goodbye'. They have held my husbands hands as we recited our vows for the rest of our lives on earth. They have created art, music, and food. They have dried tears of laughter and sadness. Thank you God for one of your many gifts... my hands.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I am SEW crazy!

After a weekend of wedding celebrations, we decided to head home instead of going on to Minneapolis. My husband got off the highway and pulled in front of this quilt store. He'd found it on the Internet and surprised me. Such a sweet man!! It's a new shop... grand opening next weekend. It's in a small Wisconsin town about 15 minutes from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. It's called Sew Little Time and I almost hyperventilated when I walked in the door. Oh my goodness!!! There was soooo much and it was all displayed so invitingly. I didn't know where to go first.
I just started a pile on the counter and kept adding to it. And it grew... and grew... and grew like Jack's beanstalk.

"You wouldn't have any fabric by Kaffe Fassett?" Oh yes! Just about every pattern he has designed. I was dying for his fabric, but had placed an online order for 'a bunch' last week and couldn't remember what I'd ordered. But, to see it in person, and touch it... I just bought more. I played with it in the car during our 4 hour drive home from the shop and put together the color combinations for a quilted bag and other projects. I also bought books and patterns and Timtex and toys. What a fun week this is going to be.

In the shop bathroom (someday I'm going to do a post about 'bathrooms around the world'... have had some wild experiences), the wall was a deep green and covered with quilt booklets and patterns. etc. framed in clear Lucite frames. My photo colors are really off, but it was such an attractive display. I had a friend that did the same thing in her kitchen with cooking magazine covers. Neat idea.
The shop will have an online store... http://www.atimetosew.com/. Check it for the latest!
Dinner time... tomorrow we start much-needed Weight Watchers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Winner and a Runway Show... a drumroll please

And the winner is... Anna of Thimbleanna fame, with the name Frizzy Lizzy. Thanks everyone who suggested a name for "Lizzy" as she'll probably be known. My husband picked the name. As I'm getting to know some of you it's difficult to be impartial. So, "Honey, would you choose a name for the doll from this list?" At this moment 'Honey' is buried deep in an enormous non-fiction civil war book. "Huh? What? Who?" But, he did rally and quickly picked his favorite... mumbling some comment about the doll's hair. Hand me the microphone please! So, here we have Lizzy strutting her stuff in her new (and only) dress. A perfect choice for this hot summer weather in a cool and crisp 100% cotton. The dress is embellished on the front with a red flower and matching button.
Notice as she pivots, the coordinating sash closing this simple wrap-around dress. A perfect choice for a party, BBQ, or a barefoot stroll along the beach. Thank you, Lizzy!
Anna, I will be sending you a surprise package sometime next week. We're going to a wedding about 5 hours away along the Mississippi River. We're leaving tomorrow and may stay an extra day or two in Minneapolis ( if I can find some good fabric or quilting shops). Ah-ha, a Google search is in order.
Have a wonderful and safe weekend.
Enjoy each minute of your precious time.

New book for car trip... Nineteen Minutes by JodiPicoult.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Favorite Chicken Recipe
One of my daughters just asked for this recipe. I emailed it to her and thought I would share it with all of you. I lifted it from Julia Child years ago and have changed it thru the years until I have it just the way we like it. It's so tasty and makes your house smell YUMMY!
"Christmas in July" Chicken
(Ingredients in 'bold')
1. Pound flat with a mallet, 6 skinned and boned chicken breast halves.
2. Spread each breast with a generous amount of Grey Poupon mustard.
3. Sprinkle generously with salt, ground pepper, basil, and oregano.
4. In the center of each flattened chix breast put a few tablespoons of shredded mozzarella cheese. If you can find 'smoked mozzarella cheese, it's even better!
5. Roll each chicken breast into a tight log shape and try to tuck in the ends.
6. Roll each breast in flour and continue to tuck in the floured ends as you roll them. If you want to refrigerate them, you can do so at this point.
7. Sauté the breasts in olive oil in a large frying pan.
8. When the chicken is almost done, transfer it to a plate.
9. Add olive oil to the pan or 1/2 stick of butter to the frying pan and with a wooden spoon scrape up all of the particles and drippings into the oil.
10. Add a pound of sliced mushrooms, a bunch of sliced green onions, and sauté in frying pan.
11. When the veggies are almost done, add 2 large chopped tomatoes. Do Not cook tomatoes... just heat them.
12. Add a few 'glugs' of white wine and again, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste.
13. Return chicken to the mixture in the frying pan and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
14. Serve over angel hair pasta that has been tossed with a small amount of olive oil or your favorite rice mixture.

It is yummers!
PS 'Nameless doll' will model her new clothes tomorrow... and the contest is still open until then.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

WANTED: Name For Doll! Win a Surprise!

Well, after two weeks of being a bit intimidated by my new sewing machine, I actually turned it on and made something today. And here is my 'something'. I sketched a doll-shape on paper for a pattern and cut her out of muslin. Turned and stuffed her. I wanted some funky hair so I unraveled an unfinished scarf so that the yarn would have some kink to it and sewed it on by hand. Drew on a face and here she is! Little Miss Nameless.
She really needs a name, and I just can't think of anything clever and fun. She's going to have lots of adventures this summer and I just can't keep referring to her as 'that doll'. So, if you will think hard and leave a name for her under 'comments', then I will choose the one I think suits her best and makes me laugh. The winner will receive a surprise in the mail from me! I'm not certain what it will be yet, but as I reread your blog I'll send something I think suits you!
So... name the doll and win a surprise!
Love, Joni
PS The poor naked baby has a dress in the making. I just chose to watch a movie with my husband instead of finishing it. She'll model it for you tomorrow on my version of 'Project Runway'.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I have been tagged by Kate from 'Beautiful Things' to share 7 random and/or interesting things about myself. OK... here they are:1. I own more scrapbooking supplies than anyone else I know! You can see a fraction of them in the corner behind me. I have almost every gadget, paper collection, book, magazine, ribbon, and so on and on and on. Since I've been blogging , I've gotten interested in sewing and the scrapping stuff is just sitting there. I didn't feel guilty when I was using it, but now...
2. My daughter Wendy and her fiancee Darin are getting married next Spring. This is my new friend Barb, Darin's mom. She's great and I am very happy to be 'family' with her.

3. I am an 'only child'. So were my parents. I never knew a grandparent as they died before I was born. I loved being an 'only child' and had a wonderful childhood. I spent so much time playing with my dolls, creating things, and reading. I studied ballet for many years, took art lessons beginning in 2nd grade, took figure skating lessons, and had lots of friends. I was never lonesome. But, to this day, I still require a lot of alone time.

4. I LOVE DOUGHNUTS!!! I quit eating them several years ago because of the fat, sugar, etc. At a coffee one Saturday morning, a friend dared me to eat one. I didn't hesitate... inhaled it! But, I haven't had one since.

5. My oldest daughter, Kristin, was born in Germany. I was teaching school there for a year and my husband was drafted into the army. I loved my time over there and had the opportunity to see a great deal of Europe during that time. I've been back several times since. Hope to go again and maybe visit some blog friends along the way.

6. I eat a carton of lime yogurt every single morning. I never get tired of it.

7. I am addicted to Diet Coke. I especially love it from McDonalds. For some reason theirs just tastes the best. My sweet husband always brings one back for me when he's running errands. We also have a small refrigerator just filled with pop.
I don't know how interesting those facts were, but they were 'random'! Now watch out, I get to sneak up on 5 people and 'TAG' them... you!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm so proud of you!

I'd like you to meet my daughter, Kristin. She lives in Chicago... right downtown in the midst of ALL that Chicago has to offer. She just bought her first home... a condo on Michigan. She has the most beautiful blue eyes, but these photos don't seem to do them justice. They just 'pop' in person.
Kristin is and always has been feminine. When she was little she loved to wear pink. It almost aways stayed clean. She has always loved flowers and treats herself to fresh flowers each week. It's such a Kristin touch! I'll give you a little tour of her home. The photo above was taken in her bedroom. The walls have a fascinating suede paint on them. She's used taupe, white , and pink on the bed. I do have a picture of that, but I've never figured out how to 'add a photo' to a post as they're uploaded in reverse order. Anyone know how to do that?

In her bathroom she has flowers, too. I love the colors she's used. The taupe walls with pink and and ice blue towels. I only know how to decorate with red, yellow, etc. so I really enjoy what she's done with color.

Her kitchen is so cool with it's brick walls and granite counter tops. The ladder goes upstairs to a loft with an office area and guest space. She is a great and healthy cook...would have enjoyed culinary school but got involved in the business world and hasn't had time for anything else. I think it's still a 'dream'. I'll have to ask her to share a recipe with us. Her 'cranberry chicken' is so tasty!

The living room has a vibrant wall in it which I love. More flowers... that Kristin touch. She still isn't completely unpacked as the stacks next to the fireplace indicate. But, if you look in the mirror reflection you can see the exposed pipes and the loft. It has such a unique feeling yet for such high ceilings she has created a cozy, yet contemporary environment.

Her dining room overlooks Michigan and is so bright and cheerful. Fresh flowers again... the story of her life. When she was little she loved a bud vase with one fresh flower in it next to her bed and I was more than happy to oblige.

This is Kristin (on the left) and her friend Julie at Kristin's house warming party. Her blue eyes aren't showing here either. I look at her and think, "I gave birth to this tall, thin, in-shape, smart, beautiful girl? WOW!" She and her sister Wendy, both run marathons and triathlons. They didn't get that from their mother!

This is her balcony overlooking Michigan Ave. The city can get so windy that she has almost lost her geraniums several times. If you look down Michigan to the car lights in the street, that's the 'Magnificent Mile'. When the girls were growing up, we always went to Chicago the day after Thanksgiving to watch the Mayor light the Christmas tree, have a fun weekend of shopping, and eat at favorite restaurants. I never thought one of the girls would live here.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Kristin and getting 'a touch' of Chicago living.

PS Sometime I'll have to share a story or two about how long it takes her to drive 17 miles to work.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Makeover!

My hair is so straight and fine... and it always looks the same. It looked like this when I was a little girl, in my HS Senior picture, in college, when I got married, and when I was a teacher. It just lays there! I use a curling iron... and it goes totally straight... and the curling iron is soooo hot I have scars on my neck, shoulders, and hands. I've used hot rollers... straight within an hour. So last month I asked Mary, who's been doing my hair since the girls were in booster seats at the salon, to do something I could wear to a wedding. I wasn't going to a wedding... I just wanted to do something fun.
So, this is my BEFORE picture... And this is my AFTER picture.
It took goop and rollers under the dryer. And a ton of hairspray. But I liked it! Of course I ripped it apart before I went to bed and have not been able to do it myself. Oh, well... at least I know it's possible if I have an occasion to need my hair up.
Thanks Mary!

What we women go through for the sake of beauty.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

So Darn Cute!

My younger daughter Wendy, just moved to Arizona. I wanted to get her a house warming present, even though she's just renting the house.
She found this hooked rug on the internet and loved it. So, today I ordered it for her as a surprise. It is so darn cute... and so perfect for her creative decorating. I looked at it through different eyes. I thought it was so inspiring...
*good color combo to pull together in fabrics
*flip-flops, lemonade, and beach bags to applique on something
*an easy border design to copy
We just need to keep our eyes open and look for inspiration all around us!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Want a good read?

I want to share a few of my favorite books... just a few.
The list is much longer, but these were the first 'reads' that popped into my head.
I was inspired to share these by reading Lit Chicks blog each day (her site is listed under "Favorite Links" on the right side of my site).
A Thousand Splendid Suns is the book I'm currently reading. It takes place in Afghanistan and chronicles two generations of characters over a 30 year period. It is a sad story... yet I find myself applauding at the moments of love and peace. I'm enjoying each word... each page... each emotion.
Bittersweet is one of my old favorites. I first read it in 1992 and have reread it two times since then. The setting is China and the main character is a girl they call 'Bittersweet'. This is a story of her long and exemplary life. Raised to be a farmer's wife, her life takes interesting turns that lead her far beyond the farm. I don't want to spoil the story... it is a page turner.

The Red Tent is the story of Dinah, a daughter of Jacob. She's only hinted at in the Bible, but the author has built a wonderful, fascinating story of Dinah and the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood... the world of the red tent. I didn't want the book to end. I wasn't ready to leave the characters I'd grown to know so well.

Shooting The Boh is the true story of Tracy Johnston and a rafting expedition down Borneo's Boh river. There are swimming cobras and swarms of sweat-eating bees and a crisis at every bend of the river. She tells the story in an honest and funny voice. A great tale of an over 40 woman and a risky adventure. I have enjoyed it twice and am ready to read it again.
These are just the tip of my favorites list.
I read for enjoyment... books that don't want to be put down. I have stirred many dinners with a book in one hand... and frequently fallen asleep with a book on my chest.
I hope you'll share your favorites so we'll all have new titles to add to our 'Books To Read' lists.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Please send me an email with your address and which pincushion you'd like.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment!
That was fun... have to do it again soon.

Here are a few summer layouts of years gone by.

Wendy and Kristin loved to go to my mom's house and she loved to take them to the local pool. The journaling on this layout is done in a spiral inside the circle. It's much easier to read in person.

Wendy loved to go to a wading pool near our house and just play in the water.

This is Wendy at Martha's Vineyard along the Atlantic coast. She was a Nanny at the time and had lots of traveling adventures with the family.
The fish on the layout are buttons I sewed on for dimension.
I have more photos of Wendy on my blog at the moment because I happen to have her scrapbook at home to work on.

PS I have my new sewing machine at home and I spent a lot of today reading through the instruction manual. Maybe tomorrow I can actually sew something with it. It is so different from my old machines and I'm rather intimidated by it.