Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Treasured Gift

Today is Flag Day... and my birthday. But today instead of showing you stirring pictures of flags blowing in the breeze, I want to share one of my favorite things. I'm thinking of my Mom today, and looking at the things she gave to me. Of course there are all the intangible things, but she also gifted me with several items that had a special meaning to her, and now they are very special to me. 

But this figurine is my very favorite, perhaps because there is a story that goes with it. 

I was born in Chicago and we lived there the first several years of my life. She told me how she and I took the streetcar to a shop that she liked. This girl reading a book figurine had caught her eye on an earlier visit, and on this day she had the $5 to purchase it. As I was too young to have an actual memory of this, I love visualizing this trip and how thrilled she must have been to be able to buy something pretty for herself. As a book lover, it has additional meaning to me.

She has graced many different places in our home, but you will always find her reading her book in one nook or another.

But don't despair, I haven't abandoned the flag totally. Happy Flag Day!

Till next time...
Journey on,


Friday, April 29, 2016

Losing a Loved One to Dementia

A year ago on a Thursday afternoon my lovely mother passed away. This week I've been remembering her final days with a certain sadness. But, in actuality, we had been losing her for many years. Little by little and piece by piece she slipped away. It was such a gradual thing that there is no one day that I can point to and say, "this is when she left us." I remember how her memory loss frightened her so. In the early stages she was well aware of what was happening to her, and that made it even more painful to watch.

To those of you who are living in this difficult situation right now, I just want to give you a ((hug))! It is so difficult, frightening, and painfully sad to be the caregiver for someone with dementia - especially when it is someone you love. Feelings of frustration, inadequacy and guilt are a constant companion. I wish that I had some wise words to share with those of you who are dealing with this, but I don't think there are any pat answers for how to cope. All I know as I reflect back is how important it is to just love them, and do whatever it is that will give them some momentary pleasure or peace (even though it will be forgotten minutes later). I found this poem a while back, and wish to share it here. I'm sorry it's a little fuzzy - or maybe that's because of the tears in my eyes.

Till next time...
Journey on,


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Spring Please!

I have always said that Fall is my favorite season, but I'm realizing that Spring is a very close second. I have been anxiously awaiting green trees, flowering bushes and plants bursting through the soil gifting us with their beautiful blooms! The only problem is that I am not a gardener. I have no flowering bushes, nor do I have perennials or bulbs planted. So, thankfully, others around me do, and viewing and enjoying is free to all.

For many years I've celebrated the coming of Spring with a visit to a greenhouse or two to see and smell the beauty of the season. These are two pages I made for my scrapbook last year when my friend, Linda, and I visited the Canton Greenhouse and Landscape Garden Center in Sioux Falls. 

  I was trying out the camera on my new iPhone 6, and was very pleased with the results.

So, thank you to all of you wonderful gardeners out there who make our world a more beautiful place!
Until next time,
Journey on,

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Easter Tables

I found some tables set for Easter that were so pretty I need to share. I was fortunate to be in Minneapolis this week, and it's always fun to visit the stores that we don't have access to here. This is one of the tables in Williams & Sonoma. The plates featured chicks or bunnies.

Their second table had a bunny as well, and they chose a soft blue napkin to blend with the background of the plate. I was tempted by the bunny centerpiece with the basket front and back, but left him there for someone else.

I then walked down the hallway to Pottery Barn to see what they had done. Bunnies seem to be the way to go as both of their tables featured them as well. Notice that the flatware used in this first setting is a mixture of patterns. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the napkin ring also has a bunny standing tall on it.

And this last one was my favorite. I felt that the pretty flowers around it gave it more of a springy feel rather than just Easter, although I guess any of them could be used throughout the Spring.


Wouldn't it be fun to have special dishes for each season and/or event? I would have trouble investing in such specific patterns, and I certainly don't have room to store them, but really enjoy seeing the pretty table settings! Hope you've enjoyed coming along on my shopping trip, and have been inspired to set a pretty table for your Easter gathering.

Till next time...

Journey on,

Friday, February 19, 2016

On Becoming "That" Generation

One of my mother's dear friends passed away this week. I'm sure she is the guest of honor at the coffee party that Mom is graciously hosting in her honor. Pour the coffee and cut the pie - just a sliver please.

So very many of "that" generation, my parent's generation, are gone now. And as each one slips away we all edge up a little bit on the ladder. I'm really not sure how I feel about being "old." I used to jokingly say I was on the edge of old. Now, instead of just dipping my toes in the water, I think perhaps I'm wading in the shallow end. I actually don't feel old, however I sense that I am perceived as old. It's mirrored back to me in the eyes of the carry-out boy at the grocery store, and in the extra effort made to hold doors open for me... and then there's all the "ma'am" references.

Through the years I've always pretty much ignored what age I am. But as those numbers get bigger this body I live in doesn't let me ignore it as easily. So, the question becomes how to be the best older person I can be, and I have been thinking about this very subject a lot lately.

As in all phases of life there is no instruction manual other than the observations we have made of those who have travelled this road before us. So I have compiled my own manual...

    *maintain friendships with younger women who provide a different perspective on life
    *stay abreast of current affairs to give me a better understanding of the world around me
    *work to understand and use new technology in order to stay relevant
    *find new interests and learn new skills so that my days will be full and interesting
    *be open to new experiences and friendships for there's no telling what might await
    *treasure old friends with whom I share a common history as those connections are precious
    *exercise my brain with games and puzzles using the many apps available on my iPad
    *spend time with children as their curiosity and enthusiasm is contagious

There are certainly other, more personal goals on my list, and no doubt your manual would read differently. I am a constant work in progress when it comes to the following traits which I feel are important: be kind - listen well  - speak gently.

I don't know where you are on your journey. If you are still young, watch and learn from the older women in your life that you admire. And if, like me, you are entering or are in your older, mature years keep in mind that they're watching!.

Until next time...

Journey on,

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Valentine Remembrance

I'm going to take a few minutes this morning to re-tell a Valentine story. Years ago we had two drug stores in our community.  The Corner Drug Store was owned by Swede Thorson, and Bruehler Drug was owned by George and Charlie Bruehler. The weeks before Valentine's Day a very aggressive campaign between the two stores took place, each trying to outsell the other. They were peddling beautifully decorated boxes of Valentine candy... all sizes and colors, with flowers and lace and ribbons. They were lovely to behold. 

No man was safe walking down the street or even getting out of their car in front of either store. They would surely be approached (attacked) by Swede and/or Charlie to buy a box for their sweetheart. Perhaps a little guilt was involved to get them to buy the biggest, most elaborate box. There was many a lady in our community/area who benefited from this friendly competition!

I think of these gentlemen each year as this day rolls around. It's a sweet memory of days gone by.

Till next time...


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Almost Gives Me Whiplash!

This weekend was spent mingling with the future as we were surrounded by some of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Most of the activity centered around the six little people, who had a marvelous time being together.

There was a lot of swimming, plenty of food was eaten and I'm told there was a card game that went into the wee hours.

And most exciting... we learned that the great-grandchild that will be joining us in June is going to be another Little Miss!

Looking at these beautiful little people, one can't help but feel great excitement about who they will become and what amazing things they will accomplish. The future is bright!

**  **  **  **  **  ** 

But we no sooner returned home and I received a nudge to turn around and delve into the past. I love putting together the old pictures and stories in a way that those who come after us will find interesting and informative. And so, I will renew my work on my family history, and I look forward to having someone else to work with on this project. We both have different information and talents to bring to our collaboration.

The future -  the past - all while trying to make the most of the present...  it's enough to give a girl whiplash!   

Till next time...


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New to Me

Right in the middle of Sioux Falls, tucked in the Park Ridge Shopping Mall, is a treasure that I was totally unaware of. Don't you just love it when you discover new things?

This little shop is filled with used books and vintage treasures. And if you don't see what you're looking for right away, there is more downstairs.

If you are in the area, I would encourage you to stop in. I found it to be a very cozy and charming atmosphere. What a fun place to just browse through all the different categories.

I was intrigued by these Lennon Sisters paper dolls that were in perfect condition. The dolls were a heavy cardboard, and the clothes were waiting for someone to cut them out. So tempted! But who would I find to play paper dolls with me?

The second stop that was 'new to me' was the Queen City Bakery in downtown Sioux Falls. My friend and I decided we needed a treat before heading home, and this was a wonderful stop.

I chose a lemon lime bar that was perfect - a little bit tart and not too sweet. And they made me an amaretto latte to go with it.  So good!

But if that doesn't appeal to you, there are lots of both sweet and savory choices and hot and cold beverages. 

I'll definitely be going back!

Till next time...


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Simple Soup Supper

We are lovers of soups - all kinds.  And Winter and soup just seem to go together. They warm and nourish us when the temperatures outside are frigid.

For the most part, it isn't necessary to follow a recipe to make a delicious soup. For this one, I started with some ham that was in the freezer from Christmas and used half a box each of chicken broth and vegetable broth. Then just added frozen peas, green beans, corn and carrots and chopped some fresh cabbage. It all depends what I happen to have on hand.
I added a biscuit, and called it supper! Schwan's has wonderful biscuits, and the best part is that, because they are frozen, you can simply bake the number you need. I have always made my own, but end up with too many, so this is the perfect solution.
I like to have a seasonal vignette on the corner of our table - it keeps it from getting piled with 'stuff,' and it's pleasant to look at. This season after Christmas is always hard. I decided on putting together some blue and white dishes, and added a touch of yellow to remind us that Spring comes next!
Until next time...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mystery at the Ranch... And It's Done!

it was Spring of 2014 when I signed up to participate in a Mystery Quilt sponsored by Always Your Design quilt shop in Dell Rapids and The Dutch Rose of Sioux Falls. This is a quilt that is sewn not knowing what the final product will look like. I thought it sounded like fun. We were given guidelines about choosing fabrics to use and told how much was needed. So I made my choices with a certain recipient in mind and I was ready to make this quilt that was called Mystery at The Ranch.

Each week brought directions for another step in the construction process. It was in the first week when all the cutting took place that I became a bit concerned. There were going to be a lot of triangles to deal with - 392, but who's counting!  If you've done any quilting you know that means one side is on the bias, which can stretch, and each triangle has three points that are supposed to meet up perfectly at the seams. In other words triangles can be tricky and should be sewn precisely. Oh boy!

So I tackled it. I cut strips, sewed strips together and cut again. Slowly the pieces combined to become an interesting combination of colors and patterns.

And then it came to a halt. I received the final directions, saw the final outcome, was tired of dealing with triangle points, and lost interest. So it was tucked away until last summer when I decided I wanted to finish it, I needed to finish it.

I made the decision not to worry about a point getting lost in a seam, and just enjoyed sewing away, joining the blocks with sashing strips and adding the borders. I chose a plain flannel for the backing and had it quilted with a flower pattern using a variegated thread on the back, so the back is quite interesting as well.

I'm pleased with the final outcome and my Granddaughter loved it - a quilt that was promised to her long ago. Now I'm about finished with her brother's, which he has been waiting for even longer! Then I have fabric for a couple other projects just for me.

Till next time...


PS: Did I mention there were 392 triangles? Never again!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What now?

Packing away the Christmas decorations always leaves a rather bare feeling to the rooms. The lights have been unplugged and the sparkle has been tucked away. What now? I brought back all my 'regular stuff,' but also left out a few things that will carry me through this winter season.

My chenille snowmen and snowman garland are favorites of mine and have been with me for many years. I remember buying them at a little bath shop in the Park Ridge Mall in Sioux Falls while shopping with Mom and my Aunt June. I think I might remember it so clearly because purchasing them was really a splurge at the time. So they will bring a smile to my face through these cold days.

Pine cones and a faux evergreen stem tucked in a treadle sewing machine cabinet drawer are certainly appropriate for winter. I find so many used for these drawers, and this one is so pretty!

These two silver deer are holding their heads high in our hutch for now. They have a little glimmer to them. They came home with me from The Cottage a few years ago.

And finally, a single pine cone sits atop a new decorating book and a new-to-me stool. I have long wanted to put a pine bench in front of our couch to serve as a coffee table. But no matter how many times I found one and planned how to decorate it, the truth is I simply don't have room for a coffee table. So, I've found the next best thing - this cute little stool. It is tucked in front of the couch, but if we need more seating, it can easily be moved aside.

It seems that new seasons bring with them the desire to change things up - at' least that's how I feel. So for now, this is my winter look. I think I might just make a cup of hot chocolate and browse through that book.

Till next time....


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Christmas Dolls

Remember as a kid when we returned to school after Christmas, and the question on everybody's lips was "What did you get for Christmas?" Even though I only have one picture to attest to it, for most years as a little girl I think my answer was that I had received a doll.

I still have the doll in that picture, and she is still wearing her peach dress and bonnet, although it is a little droopy.

The second doll that I still have is bit fancier. She is wearing a dress that my mom made for her. I have her original pinafore dress, but it is so faded that she prefers not to wear it. Both of these ladies have 'had some work done.'

A third doll was given to me when I was a little older, not necessarily to play with.  She came with fabric and patterns so that I could learn to sew for her. Some of those early attempts are tucked away - not really photo worthy, but they were the beginning of a lot of garment sewing that would follow. This little lady will walk with you if you hold her arm and move her just right. She is wearing her original dress.

And this shelf holds my two storybook dolls and china doll heads, but that's a story for another day.

And what did you get for Christmas as a child?

Until next time...