Monday, May 25, 2020

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.....

we honor the brave men and women from our past and present who fought hard to protect our country - to keep it safe from harm and allow us the freedom we so passionately embrace. I would like to personally honor my family, most have passed on, some I've never met but all give me such a sense of pride in knowing what they have done for our country. I am honored to have had them in my call them uncle, grandpa, dad and friend. 
   My great grandfather - Frank Sandell was in the 2nd N.Y. Calvary Regiment Harris Light Calvary. He fought in major engagements of war including the Battle of Gettysburg. From what I gather, he was quite a character and I wish I could have met him.

My wonderful uncles above - Uncle Ted on left who was in the army during WWII and my Uncle John who served in the Navy during WWII also. They were such fun uncles and honorable men.
My dad Edward Sandell (last in front row on left) was a Navy man and fought in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. He was a wonderful dad who always took me for Carvel ice cream.
My sister-in-laws hubby Joe Neill was in the Army during Viet Nam - won a Bronze star.....and I might add makes a wicked chocolate martini.
And our heros today who are fighting a very different but equally dangerous battle...a battle that knows no bounderies and does not discriminate...a battle that is dangerous and scary and when all is said and done, will have changed our lives as we know it...forever. To the wonderful and brilliant Dr. Anthony Fauci and
............ all the heroes and front line workers and everyone in between who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and the best country on earth.
 Thank you.....

And....God Bless America - may we always fly free.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Corona and Woolworth

 The Corona virus has taken its toll on the world and the new "normal" will most likely never be the same. Our gallery space at Woolworth in downtown Asheville, NC has been closed for over a month and no telling when it will re-open. Last week artists were allowed to come in (by appointment) to freshen up and restock their gallery space.

 The staff were cleaning places I don't think they knew existed and everything was sparkling as well as germ free.....Besides heavy cleaning, painting and general rejunvenating was going on. I had removed most of my things to do an updated inventory and just put everything back.  I know everyone in Asheville is taking things slow which I'm so thankful for but when they do limited opening here is what our booth will look like.

 I share a space with Mary Stori whose beautiful work you see above and below...
 We work very differently and have a large variety of fiber art for sale...(below - mine on left and Mary's on right)
I hope you'll drop by when the time is right and you feel comfortable to do so. We are in space # 235 on the lower level.
 My son Mikey Simmons also has a space on the lower level with beautiful paintings and drawings..
I think you will enjoy seeing his work also....
As the new norm....Stay safe, wash your hands, be happy...Hope to see you from 6' away sometime soon...

Sunday, May 17, 2020

From this to.........

My niece just sent pictures of her twin almost 5 months old, laying on the I Spy Quilts I made for them. They each got their own to drag around and sit on....the quilts are a little different from the other but both very colorful and fun for a little one...

I know I'm partial but I do think these are the cutest babies ever...just want to squeeze them and kiss on them. They live in NY so it will be a while before I get to see glad they're enjoying their quilts.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

"I Remember Mama" an old movie from the 40s and one of my favorites....I watch it every year when it's on and this year it is...TCM at 8 this evening. It's about a Swedish family who come to America for a better life....bringing all the sisters and uncles and cousins that makes up their clan. The story is simple, dealing with everyday problems and joys and the very subtle role the mother plays in them. It's a tug at your heart strings movie with beautiful moments; it specifically shows the strength of this wonderful woman and mother, a strength she was not aware of herself.
Life was simple back then but also difficult and different from the life we know today.

As a little girl, I remember my mama holding me by the shoulders and saying to me..." I just want you to be strong". I would answer, "well of course I'm strong....I can run this fast and lift this high and open this jar"...completely unaware of the real meaning. As I got older, I realized the power of her message and how it helped her in her own life. 

My mom and her mom - my grandmother who lived next door could do anything. I grew up thinking this is what women do...from painting the house, fixing the hedge shears, taking a toaster apart, and styling your hair....from making all your clothes, drapes for the house, evening gowns for the Eastern Star and warm winter coats.....from being my playmate, my Brownie leader and neighborhood mom whose house we always ended up in and one of my fondest memories....making jelly apples for Halloween. Our house was the last to visit and my mom always had to start the first bite of the apple as the little ones couldn't bite into them. 

Top left, my mom upper left, me lower left as a right my mom and I...below left - my mom at a cookout with the brownie troop...she was the leader and lower beautiful mom.
She was the best mom ever and I was so blessed to have this wonderful woman to raise and teach me the values I hold so dear today....One of my favorite photos above...says it all... - Till We Meet and we will again some day....Love you mom.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

I Spy II

  Trying to finish up projects while I'm on lockdown...I find I'm slower than normal as my days don't have much structure and I've always been better in a structured situation. When I was a public school teacher, I accomplished more in a day than any other time....I guess there were no other choices....also a tad bit younger....... 
One of the things on my list was to finish "I Spy #2" for my 2 great nieces - twins....I made the first "I Spy" and a wall hanging for their room...but they should each have their own "I Spy" to drag around. This one is a little different and I do like this pattern better.
My first choice for a backing was this darling "doggie" fabric. The girls - Ellie and Abby have a dog (maybe 2) and thought they would love this....but then I got to thinking...
hmmmmmm....flannel is such a nice much softer but often hard to find the big selection you want.
While looking through my blocks, I found one was a ladybug and almost identical to the flannel so voila...think I found my backing. I washed it several times to make it shrink as much as possible and it worked to send it off.
 On another note, everytime I sit and sew or do something that fulfills my heart and day, I do think of all those on the frontline, having to leave their home, working so hard to make things safe for us...I want to give a big Shout Out and a heartfelt thanks to each and everyone...

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Making Masks

Hunkered down and doing fine is what I wish for you....I'm pretty okay with it as I have lots of unfinished projects, redecorating the master bedroom, solitary walks, cleaning out and just embracing the down time. It's a big adjustment when going anywhere essential with masks, hand sanitizer, keeping a distance...etc. but most everyone seems to be complying. I think sometimes a national emergency like this brings out the best in people...the reaching out, thinking to call, leaving little things on your porch steps, sharing funny stories...I could go on and on...but my heart is lightened by the actions of so many selfless people who's only concern is for others and their well being.
 I've been doing my very small little part by making masks...I have the fabric and lots of time....I started by making every neighbor in my subdivision a mask. I live in a small community so it was not overwhelming. I know many of them so well, I was able to hone in on their hobbies and find fabric to suit them.
 My neighbor Ruth who is a darling loves to garden - both veggies and flowers; her yard is a joy to see. She grows many vegetables including carrots and invites my granddaughter over to pull the carrots, wash them off and feed them to the horses nearby. It is a memory my granddaughter will keep her mask...some veggie fabric.
 My neighbor Frank has had bears in his yard...and yes we even have a video (filmed from our car) so I found some wonderful bear fabric for his mask...
I've also made some smaller ones for the kiddos and my granddaughter in Atlanta. They were the most fun as I could use lots of color and sparkly fabric....Next some for Manna Food Bank in Asheville, NC.
I was wanting to keep a journal of this very scary, crazy, unpredictable time in history...but it's sometimes hard for me to write ....This is one for the history books and although very sad, scary and unpredictable, I'm glad to have experienced this.........getting to witness the very best side of us as Americans is priceless.......thank you to everyone.... getting up every day to go to work, working tirelessly to save lives, stocking supermarket shelves and everything in between.. God bless you all ....

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

12th PTA Retreat

Our annual PTA retreat has come and gone and it was wonderful as always...our 12th year and we're still going strong. We've all seen changes over the years...First year, we had the refrig filled to the brim with well as wine being on top and to the side of the refrig...think we drank every drop. We also stayed up a lot longer which we no longer do and probably got more accomplished...well, now we're sewing at our own slower pace but still having a blast.
The laughs, stories and wonderful conversations just get better and better...guess that's what it's really all about. I'm sharing some've seem similar ones before if you follow my blog...same room, different projects and more gray hair but same enthusiasm...Barbara and Linda above...Leigh Anne and Kate below starting their projects.

Marene and Georgia back to back or (face to face) with many projects going.....
And Mary who started a huge black and white quilt which I have to say is finished already....I call her the "Energizer Bunny"...a title well earned....So I thought you might like to meet the ladies who gather every year....not all PTA members are here as they have other committments....but here are our attendees.......Cathy below left and Mary on right (the bunny).
Barbara and Leigh Anne (left and right) ready with their rotary cutters.... Linda below left with that smile that lets me know she is up to something...and Marene on right. I have to add that Mary wore the hat for cruise director (heading up the retreat) for 10 years...then Kate for the last 2 years and now Marene on right is our new "fearless leader" we have to be extra nice and kind to her as it's a BIG job...

Our International celebrity quilter - Georgia Bonesteel (above) who is the most down to earth person I know...busy making a Quilt of Valor....and Kate on left below....Now on the right is Lynne whom (and I don't know why) did not get a picture this is a picture taken at one of our other meetings...and myself on the right as I'm not in any pictures as I'm taking them...and yes...I am a real person.
Leigh Anne was working on several quilts but this one really took my fancy. It looks like luminescent gold but really, it's 2 different gold fabrics in different values that create this look. I just love it.
Here it is further along...the Indigo squares are fabric she purchased in Japan...
I love it and also the way she highlighted specific parts to stand the Japanese kitty above.
Marene is working on her machine but also this hand pieced hexagon quilt. She started this as a result of wanting a project while sitting in the hospital with her husband who is undergoing treatments. It's amazing and quite complex...she has it down pat. Cathy (below) is working on 2 I spy quilts for her twin nieces. I know she finished one and had a healthy start on quilt #2. The black and white below Cathie's is mine...I didn't know what I wanted to do until the day before retreat. I had a lot of precut triangles which I turned into hexagons with my Accuquilt and thought they might make a nice backdrop for something...I think I'm putting red poppies on top...something floppy looking so I can call it "Floppy Poppies"....

Barbara was working on polka dots but came to a standstill and thought her piece needed something more...know it will turn out great...sometimes a short time on the design wall to just sit and do nothing and idea!!! We've all experienced that. Georgia was working on a Quilt of Valor...and looky...looky at Georgia's face when she discovers her mistake. We all voted on whether to keep it there or not...but she decided to make it perfect...

Lynne is pondering....don't know over what but I do like what she's done so far. Our retreat is also a time of sharing. Cathy showed us this great foot grip to prevent your machine power foot from moving (below left). Marene went home and made one out of shelving grip material...really a pain to make and said worth every penny to buy it. Kate was making a quilt from a book she recently purchased....(right) and we all loved the book...had so many great quilts to make and I don't even like piecing...but for this I would make an exception.

For the last 2 years, we've been in charge of our own meals...we used to eat in the dining hall. This works out great for us; we all take charge of a meal (usually in pairs) and do the whole thing. Our happy hour is the most fun and everyone brings goodies for that.

So we play games at night....usually Rumicube - our favorite. Linda was very uncomfortable after a full day of wearing a bra...we all know that feeling. She unclipped it without telling us...looking a little odd, we started commented on it and laughed hysterically when she told her story as only Linda can - 2 sets of....well can guess..... It doesn't take much to make us happy and lucky we are!
Such yummy dinners...
and then of course we have the "over-achiever"...this year the award goes to Leigh Anne...who almost finished her first top (gold and Indigo) and then pulled out this beauty of Dresdan plates she is working on.
This is an old picture of a past retreat when we found out one of our members Janice had just found out she was having a grandchild boy...well, this retreat, Janice couldn't attend because another grandchild boy was on it's way...Above, we all found blue fabric to wear for the occasion. It was a wonderful 3 days and I look forward to next year..but not too soon...I would like to have many adventures in between.