When I was young I spent 3 weeks each summer with my grandparents in rural Kentucky just west of the Appalachian Mountains. Mamaw and Papaw raised 5 children with meager means, discipline and lots of love. Their dinner table always included someone extra from the neighborhood or extended family.Today their family has grown to include 14 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Papaw passed away this past December at the age of 94 and Mamaw turns 91 this weekend and is far from that age in her mind or abilities. She makes ME feel tired.

Mamaw is here visiting with my mom, her daughter, for about a month. I wanted her to spend some time at our house and also wanted her to teach me to piece a quilt. So, this past weekend, we spent cutting over 400 strips of fabric and piecing together a quilt to fit our king size bed.

Quilting is her passion. While she spent years raising children and working for others, she has always found time to quilt. Even today she continues to quilt, free of charge, for anyone she cares for. Scratch that, just anyone who wants her to. She said of the hundreds of quilts she’s made over the years she’s kept only 3 which are worn out from wear and undoubtedly love.

On one of those summer stays Mamaw taught me to do quilting stitches when I was about 10 or 11 on a throw pillow. Like many things I’ve learned along the way, once I got the hang of it I was done and on to the next thing. However, Mamaw made me finish that pillow and that is the last thing I’ve quilted. My problem wasn’t that it was hard it’s that it wasn’t perfect.

You see, I like my lines in order. Everything in its place and balanced on the page. The pictures straight and the lines consistent. I don’t admit it, but I had to stop scrapbooking because I couldn’t get it perfect enough. I love to create and get inspired by the free flowing-ness of nature, however my process-excellence side…okay the OCD side, says that it all needs to be neat and orderly and tidy and well, perfect.

Quilting with your 91 year old grandmother who can only see with one eye and has a shaky hand can only be imperfect. The pieces aren’t uniform and the seams aren’t straight. The blocks must be trimmed and the rows aren’t level. I fought that perfectionist voice inside and I won.

When we finished and laid the whole thing out it was beautiful. It’s colorful and crooked, but it’s something that we made. Something I’ll cherish forever and more so because she taught me to press on and not worry about the order. Not care if it was perfect because in getting it done it is perfect just how it ends up to be.


In the effort of sharing what I’ve learned, I will post the instructions on how to piece the quilt we made here this week.


I don’t think we’ve been so busy with things to do and places to be in a very long time. I had set out to fill our social calendar this summer, but I hadn’t realized how exhausting it can be! I’m not complaining by any means, but for folks who are pretty mellow and uneventful we have broken our mold big time. Here’s an update of what’s going on here:
Our puppy Gus is growing quickly and is over 40 pounds now and just 4 months old. He’s a good dog, but like all puppies, is into everything.

My mother-in-law came and went.

I visited the bay area for work. Missing it terribly.

After the MIL left we spent 2 nights away from the kiddo on a grown-up weekend. I had purchased tickets to the police concert in Philadelphia back in the spring and we ventured up with some friends. I have to say that it was the BEST time ever. Yes, EVER. My friend Christina worked some crazy magic and got us some new seats in the 23rd row. I could see Sting’s belly when his shirt would go up. It was so awesome to be so close and enjoy such a wonderful concert. It was also a good break without the kiddo. We certainly missed her, but it was nice not to have to negotiate with someone to eat their dinner.

My cousin got married in July and we went to Pennsylvania for that as well. It was a small beautiful wedding just outside of Philadelphia. All of my family stayed at a hotel that claimed they had suites but were not suite-like in the slightest. The pool was a good distraction on a rainy morning and we got some good produce at a farmers stand and a traveling gnome for the garden.

This past weekend our good friends came down on the train from New York to visit us. We had a great time just catching up, watching the kids play and relaxing.

That brings us to today. My mamaw (yes, mamaw) is visiting with my parents for a few weeks. She will be 91 on the 18th and is very active, lively and funny. She came over to our house last week and was admiring the tomato trellises. When I told her Dave had built them, she said “well, isn’t he as handy as a pocket in a shirt”

Now isn’t that just the funniest thing you’ve heard.

I so wanted to stay present in this creative endeavor and I’m failing just as I start. This summer is proving to be very busy and I don’t predict any let up until September. Here are my goings on at the moment and I’m going to try harder.

We’ve had a house guest for almost 3 weeks now who leaves tomorrow and it will be good to get the house back to ourselves and in order again. The kiddo is getting over a bad chest cold that I conveniently caught after being coughed in the face for 2 days and it’s sticking around for me as well. Gud has doubled in size since we got him last month and is now 26.6 pounds. He’s healthy and happy and loves to chew on hard things like raw hides or sticks or mulch. He’s really good with the crate training and is getting better with walking on the leash these days. He’s not really into chasing things except people and he nips at your clothes so we are trying to stop that behavior. Dave got a promotion at work and has a company truck now which is awesome. Not only for him but because he doesn’t have to pay for gas anymore which is SWEET!!!! I’ve taken on some new responsibilities at work which could transition me into a new role at some point which is also good. All of these things have kept the stress levels pretty high at our house for the past few weeks. Hopefully things will settle down more as we approach some trips.

Dave and I will be going with friends to see the POLICE in philly next week. He’s super excited as he’s a big fan. I’m excited because he is and I also like them well enough. It will be our first overnight trip without the kiddo and we are planning to stay over 2 nights. Hopefully all will be good with that.

In August we are going to the outer banks, NC for a week with family friends. That should be a really fun time and we are really looking forward to it.

Sorry I don’t have any photos this time – hopefully soon! You’ll have to take my word for it that we’ve had 3 awesome tomatoes from one tomato plant and 2 more are just about ready!!! I’ve hung the strawberry pot so that the critters would stop eating them and the enjoyed a few of those too. There are 6 green peppers that I’m patiently waiting to turn purple.

Happy Summer until next time!!

I received my envirosax’s about 2 weeks ago and have used them on several shopping trips so far. I have to say, hands down, they are awesome! Yes, they really do deserve the explanation point. Definitely worth the wait for the backorder to come in.

I can fit all of a weeks shopping trip into the 5 sacs and can even carry more than I’m able to in the plastic sacs. They are easy to carry on your shoulder even when heavy and they are quick easy to fold down for storing.

I have notmartha to thank for turning me on to them – thanks Megan.

We’ve been busy with our new addition – Gus the greater swiss mountain dog. I hope to update frequently about him…we’ll see how this goes.

Week 1: Age 10 weeks, 16 lbsGus_10_weeks

Training: Gus is a smart little fellow. He only whined for about 10 minutes the first night in his crate. Now, he doesn’t mind it and doesn’t whine for more than 2 minutes. He’s taken to his collar and leash. He is doing well with the few walks we’ve gone on with him. He seems to know the sit command but doesn’t hold it for very long. Pretty cool for a little pup!

Eating: He is a very overzealous eater. It’s not put down fast enough and it’s gone in microseconds. We work each day with hand feeding and petting while he eats to make sure he never becomes food aggressive. We have cut back on the amount he’s eating to a little less than ¾ of a cup 3 times a day since he was having “loose” potty instances. We give treats (which are pieces of his kibble) sometimes in the day – to entice him to get in the crate or work with him on sitting. He’s more interested in the treat than the activity. We also gave him a raw hide on the advice of the breeder that he liked them while t

here. I was watching closely as he ate the 3″x4″ piece of the cow hide. I looked up at “So you think you can dance” for a minute and an half then looked back down and it was gone. VANISHED! He was looking for it so I thought it got under something. No, he’s just a pig and devoured it practically whole. I was worried for a minute that it will have problems coming out and figured he didn’t choke on it going down so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Playing: Barking at the cats seems to be a fun activity. Especially after the kiddo has gone to bed. Chewing on things too. I found out after the fact that chewing the fur off of a tennis ball is a fun activity. We have since hid those. He likes a new nlyabone Dave got him, but he’s almost chewed that up already. He’s not into Kong toys yet and they are the ones that he shouldn’t be able to destroy. We spend a lot of time saying “off”, “down” and “no biting”.

Family: Annabella is doing better each day with the addition of Gus. She’s okay with petting him if he doesn’t look at her and she like to give him his toys (while he’s in the crate), but if he should look at her or walk towards her she screams something like “NO HURT ME”. Then she turns to me and says “Doggie hurt my shoe!” Or “Doggie hurt my baby!” It’s very hard not to laugh. Each day is better and I’m sure in no time she’ll be running WITH him.

Other: Gus’ naming ended our months long “discussion” with Dave coming up with the name. It’s a fitting name…more so than Dude, which we originally decided on. About 2 hours after he was here, I yelled DUDE, Stop! And Dave responded with “WHAT DID I DO!?!?!”

I’m not quite sure.


I have wanted to grow tomatoes for several years now. Living on the coast in the bay area was a less than ideal place for them to thrive. The fog and the constant mild temperatures were perfect for strawberries, but not tomatoes.

As spring was approaching this year I knew it was time to try my hand at growing some tomatoes. Since our raised bed plot is not ready this year, I got some containers and set to it. I have 3 different heirloom tomato plants, one purple pepper plant and a pot of strawberries. They are all doing great and growing right in front of my eyes. I swear one of the tomato plants grew 12 inches in a week. Dave was super awesome and built me wood trellises and covered them in netting so that the critters and birds can’t get to them.

Yesterday I was outside giving them a quick drink and noticed that there are 5 small green tomatoes on one of the plants. I’m super psyched that they are actually producing fruit.

Just a few more weeks until we can sit down and eat one of the first fruits from the vine. Yummy!

I have vivid memories of my sister and me going to the bank drive-thru with my grandmother when we stayed with her. I don’t remember how frequently we went there, but what I remember was the lollipops they gave us and the dog biscuit for my grandmother’s dog Cookie. The anticipation of what color they would give us. The hope it would be either red or purple since those were our favorites! Cookie hardly ever came along, but she was happy when we returned with a treat for her. These days, it’s hard to find a bank with a drive-thru with a human being teller. Thinking about it, I can only think of one I’ve seen since moving here.I think most any drive-thru today involves paying out money instead of receiving it. Being a vegetarian I personally am quite limited on the places I can drive-thru with one exception – Starbucks. I enjoy and loath Starbucks – much like my fascination with Martha Stewart. I admire how SB has branded their beverages to make you feel cool carrying the cup around. I love, love, love the fact that there is a drive thru for my convenience no more than 1 mile from my doorstep. And I can not STAND that I am unable to order any drink there in the proper fashion for the baristas not to make me feel like a moron. Most often it goes something like this:

Me: Um, yes, I’d like a café latte iced…Venti café latte. Oh, with an extra shot.
Barista: You want a VENTI, ICED, café latte with an extra shot.
Me: Um…yes. [thinking to myself yes, that IS what I SAID]

It’s like you need to know the code in order to get your drink. And if you get it wrong they’re going to tell you you’re wrong. I even began ordering iced tea since I thought I couldn’t mess that up. I mess that up.

I keep going back though. I suppose deep down I need to feel cool walking around with my SB cup. This weekend, on a trip to the drive-thru, I noticed something new. Cookie would have been happy. And maybe, if he’s good, the new pup will too.