Archive for February, 2011

Winter Returns

After a few days of green on the ground, winter returned and we had about 8 inches judging by the depth of snow on the deck. Today the sun is brilliant and the snow is so bright I can barely look at it. And it’s colder. This is all so I can look forward to my vacation more fully.

february 22nd, 2011 Snow

from the upstairs office 2-22-2011 SNOW

It is really lovely, and far sunnier than these pictures show, but I can think of  sunnier and warmer with a happier anticipation at this point.

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Sofia at Casperson State Park

Alice and Nathan

Pensive Clara

Along the lovely Myakka

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dining room 2007

Only thirteen more days here in snowy but warming Ohio until I fly to Venice, Florida on March 1st. I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely little town which is so much like “Old Florida” probably because the key parts of the island were laid out and built in the 1920s and have not really changed all that much.  In 2007 Paul and Andy and I flew down and spent most of January there, and Alice, Mike and Nathan joined us for about a week, I think. I had hoped that the stimulus of a new location would be good for Paul and I think he really enjoyed it! I know the rest of us did too.

I chose Venice as a destination because I have two good friends who spend most of the winter down there, Mary Alice who was a high school classmate and Nancy who has been a friend since our children were in pre-school together. We’ve also been Girl Scout leaders together and belong to a very informal quilt group as well. And now a third friend is here, Suzanne from our church in Medina County is becoming a permanent resident as well.

Sofia on the beach - February 2009

The next year I went again. Andy came down with me. I think Alice was there some of the time, too, with Nathan. We went to another house because the condo we rented the first year had been sold. This vacation is a tiny bit of a blur because Paul had died so recently.  But it was the beginning of a tradition. I think my sister in law came for part of this month. We spent lovely days on the beach looking for seashells, days at the astonishing number of thrift stores, at Spanish Point, a great historical site, and the Aquarium and the lovely Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Paul and I had been to all these places too, the year before.

I just realized that most of my Florida pictures are on my net book downstairs.  So you may not see many other pictures until I’m actually in Florida  this year. I arrive March 1st and will be there all month. Alice, Nathan, Stephen, Em, Sofia and Clara will arrive on the 4th. Alice & Co stay one week and Em will stay two weeks with the girls. I am so looking forward to this time at the beach with my daughters and  grandchildren.  We spent 2009 and 2010 renting a house nearer the airport and only staying for two weeks, but this year we are closer to Venice Beach and in a new house which looks very nice.  Really we’ve had a lot of winter this year and I feel incredibly lucky to have these balmy sunny days to look forward to!

the boat tour on the Myakka River at Snook Haven

the model for the train station in Disney's Dumbo

Another favorite place is Snook Haven which is a restaurant/complex on the Myakka River.  We take the boat tour every year. When the kids are a little older I’ll probably take them all up to Myakka State Park which has more fascinating things to see but I think they are a little young for that.  But one sure destination is the Mote Aquarium in Sarasota. That’s another family tradition. It is much smaller than, for instance, the lovely Aquarium we visit in Atlanta when we spend time with my brother and his family, but somehow, with such young children, smaller is better!

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Did you all know that to a quilter the term UFO means an unfinished quilt or object …….?

I have a “flimsy”, that is, a top, I made a couple of years ago from a pattern I found in the book Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles by two talented Australian quilters, Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe. I think Turner designed this quilt which she called Bento Box, not to be confused with another more common pattern of the same name. Her pattern is inspired by Japanese tatami mats. Each block has eight rectangles (like individual mats in proportion). Six indigo or dark blue rectangles surround two brighter rectangles of Japanese fabric which are similar in color and which the quilter blends together.

If you click on the photo it will not look so slightly out of focus and you can see the individual fabrics better.

Part of My Bento Box Top - It is 5 blocks across and six down.

I want to finish this UFO with batting in the middle and a backing which will be  a large piece of dark blue fabric surrounded by a red wave pattern which will become the narrow self-binding. Or, there will be a border of the red fabric and the back will be all the dark blue with self-binding…Still entertaining different ideas and looking at the design board…… I like these fabrics so much and still have many suitable ones left that I am thinking of making another one like this. It is a lot of fun to play with. And it’s small enough to quilt myself, probably by machine.

a detail of the top

Besides the quilting and the grandchildren, I am watching Pie in the Sky dvds and reading Margaret Frazer’s Joliffe mysteries. Life is good!

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February Sunshine!

Stephen and Andy have a heart to heart conversation

Our little corner of northeast Ohio has been full of sunshine for two days now, and I really love this! It was so gloomy for too long!  Yesterday my daughter was helping her son’s kindergarten class make Valentine’s Day boxes and I baby sat for Stephen who was awake all but the last fifteen minutes of our time together, and happy nearly all the time……He seems an amazingly sunny little guy who is easily coaxed into smiles. If I talk to him, especially if I say his favorite phrase now which is “Gah…Gah”, (or if his mother sings a Lady Gaga song) or if I sing Hungarian folk songs or play peek a boo or pretend I’m about to tickle him, he smiles his million dollar smile. I hope he will respond to life this way forever!  Above is a picture of my son Andy having an earnest conversation with his nephew who is clearly enjoying every minute of  it.

Nathan and Stephen January 31st, 2011

Here is another picture from Alice of her boys together. More sunshine for Nana.

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