Monday, June 18, 2012

A Place Known as Home...

Outside of Smith Center, Ks. overlooking the rolling Kansas wheat fields.

Recently, I was able to drive through the town that Jodi, our brother and I grew up in.  It is just a little town... but it is the town we knew as HOME.  That town is Smith Center, Kansas.


Jodi lived in Smith Center until she went away to college.  My brother and I moved back to Smith Center, after we were married, with our families.  My husband, kids and I lived there for about 4 years and then moved to our current home 23 years ago.  Our parents lived in Smith Center for 50+ years.  About 10 years ago, mom and dad and our bother and his family, all moved to Colorado to start a business with Jodi and her husband.  So, after 50+ years, there was no one left in Smith Center, and no reason to go back there.

My husband grew up about 20 miles from me.  Oddly, we didn't know each other until we met in college!  But, our parents did know each other.

I threw this picture in for fun!  I think husband's hair is longer than mine!  And..his hair is now all gray!  LOL!
Notice the matching shirts!  Oh my!!
circa 1977
I loved living in Smith Center.  It was a small town of about 2000 people and you knew almost all of them.  Not only did you know everyone, but you also knew where they lived, who their parents and grandparents were, who were farmers and who were "townies"!  Smith Center had everything that you could need...a grocery store, gas stations, lumber yards, banks, clothing and shoe stores, churches, etc.  I remember walking down to town when I was just 4!  Needless to say, it was a safe and quiet rural town.

So, the images I had of Smith Center in my head are old ones.  Driving into town, I felt a little like you do when you go into an old bedroom that you grew up in and it seemed so big back then, but it seems very small now.  There were things that were new and different and there were things that hadn't changed a bit over the years.  It was a little surreal!

As I was driving down the street that we grew up on, one of the first things I noticed were the trees!  They were so big and even hung over the street.  The tree in front of "our" house was HUGE!  


Some of the yards that "our" neighbors were so proud of back when we lived there, were in disaray and even full of weeds.  There was the house of my piano teacher....she no longer lives there.  There is where my best friend lived....she no longer lives there either.  In fact, I realized that I didn't know any of the people who now lived on that street.  That was a very weird, sad, and strange feeling.

I drove by our old schools, the beautiful courthouse, the now empty store fronts, and houses of friends who no longer live in them.  I drove by our church, which still looks the same!

We three kids grew up in this church. This is the church that I was baptized as an infant in, and I walked down the isle to marry my husband.  Jodi and her husband were also married in this church and this is where my 3 children were baptized.  I was so glad that it hadn't changed.  Lots and lots of  memories in that little church!

There a few things that Smith Center is known for:

*Smith Center is the geographical center of the 48 United States.

*The Home on the Range cabin (where the song, "Home on the Range" was written) is located very close to Smith Center.  It is really called "Higley Cabin".  Higley is the man who wrote the song.

Oddly, I have never been here!

*Smith Center has a wonderful city park.  The main feature of the park is "The Old Dutch Mill".  The mill was constructed in 1882 a few miles from Smith Center.  It was built to use wind power to grind corn, wheat and other grains.  In 1938, the mill was moved to it's current location at the park.  This mill is one of two still standing in Kansas.

The inside of the mill is a big open room that can be rented out
for parties, family reunions, weddings, etc.

*There is a very small replica of the Statue of Liberty on a hill overlooking the rolling fields of wheat.  I wonder how many of these mini-Statue of Liberty's there are in the U.S./World?

Isn't she beautiful?  She stands proud and strong overlooking the plains.
She was placed here in 1951 and dedicated to the Boy Scouts.

I never believed the saying, "You can never go Home".  The three of us kids were always welcome in our parents home.  We all would meet there once or twice a year just so we could all be together with our expanding families.  So not only do we have childhood memories of our hometown, but we also have adult memories as well.  But, while I was driving around and reminesing, I realized that home is not a town or even a house.  Home is where your loved ones are and that "home" is a feeling, not a place.  I will always think of Smith Center as my hometown, but no longer as HOME.


Friday, June 15, 2012

A Teaser!

Just a quick post to show you my UFO that I have been working I Spy quilt that I started ages and ages ago.  I have the "quilt" completed, but I am now embroidering words on the border.  I almost have the top border done, so it won't be long before I am sewing all of the borders onto the quilt!  Then it will be off to Emily (who is one of my oldest and dearest friends) to be quilted!  Look for the finished quilt top soon!


P.S.  Can you find the picture of the little boy asleep in his highchair?  ( is right above the "My")  That is a picture of my now 27 year old "boy"!  How time flies!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Remembering our MOM on Mother's Day....

Your mother is always with you...
                                            She's the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.
She's the smell of bleach
                                            in your freshly laundered socks.
   She's the cool hand on your
    brow when you're not well.
     Your mother lives inside your laughter.
    She's crystallized in every tear drop...
She's the place you came from,
your first home.. 
She's the map you follow 
with every step that you take.
    She's your first love and your first heart break....
and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time... 
 Not space...
    Not even death will ever separate you from your mother....
You carry her inside of you...

Vina Lea Angell Rush 

                                                   We miss you mom!
Jodi & Jackie 

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Graduate and A New Baby Boy or Girl???

This has been a big day for our family.  First...our SIL (married to daughter #2) received his PHD from Colorado University in Biomedical Mechanical Engineering!  We are so proud of him and also of our daughter.  She has supported him through many, many years of school!

They let their hair down a bit today......

Also today, Daughter #2 and SIL told everyone what the sex of their baby is!   This is how they did it!

IT'S A ..........................................................................................

Sweet Pea will make a great big sister to her new little sister!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photo A Day - May

Chantelle from the blog Fat Mum Slim is hosting a Photo a Day for the month of May.  I ran across her blog last week and thought that the idea of capturing something from my life everyday for a month would be fun.  It would even act as sort of a diary.  Here are the guidelines taken from Chantelle's blog:

Each day you look at the list and there will be a prompt that corresponds with the date of the month. For example day one is peace, so for day one you'll take a photo of something around the peace {a peace sign, something that's peaceful in your life, you doing a peace sign with your hands etc}. You then share the photo on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, your blog, PinterestFlickr or where ever you want to share it.

It's a fun way to be creative every day and it's so much to be part of. Anyone can play {even if you haven't played before}.

Here's how to share your photo:

INSTAGRAM: Upload your photo to Instagram, add a sweet filter and put #photoadayMay in the caption so others can see your photos {share to Twitter, FacebookTumblrFlickr etc from Instagram if you like}

TWITTER: Upload your photo to Instagram, add some words to describe it and use the hashtag #photoadayMay so others can see your photos

FACEBOOK: Create an album titled something like, Photo a Day May, and make the album public, then upload your photos. It's a good idea to upload the list too so you can refer to it and others can see what you're doing. You can also share your photos on my Fat Mum Slim Facebook page. {Unfortunately I don't think people can tag my page in their photos.Facebook is being glitchy}.

PINTEREST: Upload your photos to a board, and use the hashtag#photoadayMay so that others can search for them.

BLOGS & TUMBLR: Upload your photos to your blog or Tumblr and share with the world.

FLICKR: Share your photos in the Photo a day group.

I will just be sharing my photos on this blog, mainly because I don't know how to download pictures to some of the sites!  Yes, it's true....I am somewhat computer illiterate!  LOL!

Here are the 1st 8 days of May photos:

May 1st - Peace (I was at the Lake)

These are two of my dogs, Sam and Winston.  They love a couch...any couch, anywhere!  When I took this picture, they were asleep and as soon as I started to take their picture, they both woke up.  Well...they still did look peaceful!

May 2nd - Skyline (At the Lake)

This photo doesn't do the sunset justice.  It was a beautiful evening at the lake!

May 3rd - Something you wore today (Lake)

I LOVE my Berkinstocks!  Love, love, love them!  I have them on everyday, even in the winter.  But, I DON'T wear them out in public...much!  Notice the pretty nail polish!  My two daughters and I had a pedicure before Daughter #1's wedding.  One of the wedding colors was purple, so I had my toe nails painted....PURPLE!  I also have on my capris, which I also love!

May 4th - Fun!  (Still at the lake)

Whether I am at the lake or at home, my fun place is my sewing room.  This is the loft at the lake that is ALL mine!  Don't I have the most fantastic view?  Excuse the mess...I was in the middle of a project.

May 5th - Bird  (lake....)

This one was hard.  Even though is was a beautiful day out that day, I could not find one bird in the sky.  I didn't even hear any birds chirping!  So, I found this hand carved duck on a shelf!  Perfect!!

May 6th - You (Yes, you guessed it...I am still at the lake)

This photo was taken many, many years ago at Silver Dollar City.  We would go there every summer when we vacationed at the lake.  This photo was taken outside with lots and lots of people watching us!!  I kept saying to my family...."Don't smile, don't smile!"  We all did a great job!  We even look mad.  This photo has always made me laugh.  For photo day 6, I took a picture of the picture!  And yes, I am the lady with the rolling pin!

May 7th - Someone that inspires you  (Home!!)
Me, Daughter #1 (the bride), Daughter #2 (pregnant with grandchild #2), and granddaughter #1
I cheated on this one.  This assignment had me stumped.  There are a lot of people who inspire me, but they are not around for me to take their picture(s).  So, I stole this from a few weeks ago, because no one inspires me more than my family.  Here I am with my two daughters and my granddaughter.  They inspire me everyday!  I love my family!!

May 8th - A smell you adore (Today at home!)

Aren't these beautiful.  These roses are from my front yard!  We have several bushes just like this and it smells heavenly outside!

Stay tuned for more photos of the month from my home, daughter #2's home, my sister's home, and my in-law's home.  May is a busy, busy month with lots of traveling! 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Irma and my beginning as a quilter...

Aaaa, NO...this is NOT my Irma!  

 But, this IS!

See that scrap of fabric with lots of thread sewn through it?  Yup, that's my IRMA!

I know, it doesn't look like an "Irma", but that is what Jodi and I call this scrap of fabric with thread stitched in and out of it!  I'm not sure where the name came from...maybe from my friend, Ann?  I will have to ask her sometime.

I was first introduced to Irma when I began quilting in (clearing throat) 1991.  That is also when I met my life long friend and fellow quilter, Ann.  I took a beginning quilting class at our local Leisure Arts Center.  The class was from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, one morning a week.  It was heaven!  My youngest child (we will just call him Taz - after the Tasmanian Devil.  I think you get the picture!) had just started kindergarten and I had every morning free to do whatever I wanted.  Mostly I cleaned house, ran errands, or did laundry, but I had always wanted to learn to quilt.   So, that is when I signed up for my very first quilting class and when I first met Ann.  (Her youngest was in kindergarten too.)

When Taz was finally in 1st grade...I found I had all day, 5 days a week to myself !  I had looked forward to that day for years!  I'm sure most of you know that feeling!  But, I surprised myself because I had a whole range of emotions:  sadness, happiness, boredom, freedom, etc.  The boring part is what got me!  So I decided to do something about it.  I was still taking quilting classes one morning a week.  I had always noticed that after my morning class, another group of women came into the room with fabric, needles, scissors, other quilting supplies, and sack lunches!!!   Needless to say I was interested in what they were doing, but I always had to rush out of there so I could get home before Taz got off of the bus.  (Yes, don't hate me.  I made my kindergartener ride that big yellow bus! I'll have to ask him, but I don't think it scarred him!  Plus, his sisters were on the bus with him!)  For a whole year, I wondered what those ladies were doing.  I had never seen a class schedule with that class listed after my quilting class.  When Taz started that first day of first grade, I called the Leisure Arts Center and found out what those ladies were doing!  Come to find out, it was a quilting bee! 

A quilting bee is something I had heard of, but did not know how to go about being IN one.  The nice lady on the phone told me that it was just a group of ladies who met one afternoon a week to chat and quilt.  I just knew that I had to get into that group!  It was me!  After all, I loved to quilt, I loved to talk, and I loved sack lunches!  Anyone could join, so I was welcomed with open arms.  Aren't quilters the nicest people?  

On those wonderful mornings and afternoons, I kept seeing Ann using a little scrap of fabric before and after she started sewing quilt pieces together. 

There's Irma, the piece in back of my presser foot!
I am sewing off of Irma and onto the beginning of my block piece.
It is just like chain piecing.

Now I am sewing from my block piece back onto Irma.

Ready to clip Irma from the block piece.

One day I asked her why she was using that little bit of fabric before starting a seam. That is the day that Irma got her name and that is the day that she became my friend!

There are a lot of advantages to using an Irma.  When you start a block seam, there is no pulling of the beginning thread.  You also don't have to hang onto the threads in back of the presser foot, and your thread won't get caught up in the bobbin.  Using an Irma also cuts down on thread use.  Instead of pulling thread away from the needle in a long strand, you just clip the thread at the end of Irma.  

See those little bitty thread pieces.  This Irma had already been used many times.

An Irma can be made using any pieces of fabric that you have sitting around.....or sitting in the bottom of your sewing trash can!  That is often where I find mine!  The smaller the pieces of fabric, the less thread you use.  Sometimes, when I am feeling spunky, I will use a scrap pieces of fabric from the current quilt I am working on.  

The best way to "make" an Irma is to use two pieces of fabric.  I like the feel of the double layer, plus, it sews much nicer too.  Not sure why that matters to me!  Most of the time, I will use two Irma's.  One at the beginning of the seam, and one at the end of a seam.  I have so many little scraps of fabric, that I always have a large supply of Irma's.  
Future (and 1 past) Irmas!
As funny as it sounds, I am usually sad when I throw that little piece of fabric and thread away, especially if I have made a big quilt.  Maybe one day I will collect them and make them into something.  Or..maybe not!

There are several books on the market that deal with leaders and enders (or as I call them...Irmas!).  The books show you a lot of different projects using the leaders and enders.  I made a quilt this way recently and it was really nice to use the second quilt pieces as my Irmas!  I actually made two quilts at one time.  Here is one of the books by Bonnie K. Hunter.

Do you have an Irma?  I would love to hear what you call yours.


Jodi is doing a little better.  She told me last night that she is off of the pain medicine and is "just dealing with it".  Not sure how you deal with the pain from several broken bones and a big surgery!  She is one tough gal!  One of her son's (bless his heart) had a friend who had one of those reclining chairs that lifts you up so you can get out of the chair easier.  The friend is letting Jodi use the chair now, so that is making things a bit easier for her.  (It even has a built in massager!)  But, everyday things that we all take for granted, are a long, painful and tedious process for her.  Just getting her in bed can take 30 or more minutes.  I just have to say it....her husband is a saint!  He has stepped in and taken over the everyday things that Jodi usually does!  I know that he hasn't even complained about it.  He is just that way!

This Thurs., my son-in-law will graduate from CU with a doctorate in biomedical mechanical engineering.  (Say that 3 times fast!)  My DH and I are driving out to Colorado for the graduation and to spend time with family.  On Sunday, (Mother's Day) my husband will fly home and I will drive down to Jodi's and spend several days with her.  Hopefully I can make her laugh, feed her well, run her errands and do her laundry.  (And hopefully, her DH can take a break and maybe play some golf!)  I also plan to take a "surprise" project that we both can work on while we are sitting and chatting.  

Look for future posts on my trip to Jodi's!  Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.  

Prayer Works!

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