Sunday, December 22, 2013

Arlington National Cemetery

Yesterday we took a trip to the Arlington National Cemetery for 2 reasons. One we live here and it would be a shame to have not visited this place where our Veterans are buried. Arlington is one of  131 National Cemeteries in the US…

cr-Arlington-N-Cemetery-276 wb

It would have been a more spectacular photo opportunity last week when there was snow… but the graves and wreaths have just as much impact without the snow. Sadly, only a small percentage of the markers get wreaths, there are many more graves that are not presented with a wreath, here and in other National Cemeteries. I must say thank you to the companies that supply the wreaths, the companies that ship them and the volunteers that place them. I hope next year I can volunteer… it would be my honor to honor our hero's!

There are more than 250000 military graves at Arlington Cemetery. But there are also family members buried here as well making the total closer to 400000 graves. Along with the plain headstones, there are many that are larger and more prominent. In some cases, the headstone marks more than one grave, (a soldiers wife or child/children) are also marked and added to the back of the smaller stones. There is a fact sheet about the Cemetery here if you are interested in more information.

Among the memorials; we visited the Kennedy Memorial,
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Challenger Memorial. We also saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A very sobering sight!

We had to leave after only 2 hours, as sometime in the last week I did something to my left knee… I suspect it is all the stairs in this house, but the walking… did me in. I did think to take ice with us… so I iced it all the way home. I think a doctor is in my near future….

More later- Beth

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


There is something about this house that keeps me cleaning too much…. Having 2 dogs -both started shedding massively, one much more than the other in the fall and continues even now. And 4 flights of stairs…. with carpet (that shows some of that massive amount of dog hair) need to be vacuumed regularly and a dark hardwood floor that shows even more!!! So even though it seems like I spend too much time cleaning… I do manage to get to the sewing space.

raffle-border-detailThe quilt guild is already at work on the raffle-border2014 Raffle Quilt. I volunteered to work on the embroidery parts of the quilt. Earlier, in September, I embroidered 2 blocks about 14 inches square -a rose and a cardinal on a branch, both redwork in the backstitch. Next up were the borders. I did one of those as well. About 72 inches, a total of 6 repeats…

cr-Cadence-quilt-wbI also made a baby quilt for a great-niece. Very simply done, Disappearing 9-patch. Nothing too special. Shipped it off and haven’t heard a peep about it. Hope they like it.

Since I am trying to knock out some UFO’s… I completed 2 littlecr-cupcake-wallhanging wall-hangings as well. These were started and the tops completed before moving to South Africa in 2010. They were on the list…. to do… but I just couldn’t get motivated. But… they are done now. About 27 inches square. One has beaded jimmies on the cupcakes and the other has beaded sprinkles, otherwise identical. The only reason I made them was I got one kit, a Snap Sack, for a buck at the Bernina USA yard sale and a friend gave me the other… for the same reason I bought one… They were cute!

cr-cupcake-jimmies         cr-cupcake-sprinkles

More later…. Beth



Monday, December 9, 2013


For a change, the weather people got it right. We got snow yesterday morning, about 3 inches total. Then it stopped for a few hours and then the sleet arrived… it spit for a couple of hours and added a firm coating to the snow. I don’t think the temperatures got out of the 20’s the whole day.

When I went to bed, there wasn’t anything falling from the sky… however, when I got up this morning, it was still below freezing outside and there was rain coming down. Very gently. The results were beautiful.





Doesn’t this one remind you of a snow globe?

More later- Beth

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Letter ‘B’

A finish.

I started this shortly after I finished the “M” monogram for my sister back in August but I didn’t really like where it was going so I set it aside. It is the 3rd in the Monogram series… There may be one or 2 more in my future, but I think they will be smaller. Maybe with some applique….

The top is white Dupioni Silk over a wool batt. I started outlining the B with MasterPiece and Bottom Line threads, but even though I was using a stabilizer, the silk was drawing up. I switched to KingTut and decided I liked. I backed it with a cotton and bound it with the same silk as the top. I used Superior Omni to quilt the background.

Originally I had planned to run a braid or rat tail along the edge of the binding, but finding the color or size became more of a hassle. So I switched to using the stem stitch and a rayon thread from either India or China. I think I like it as well as the original plan.

A better detail…

A couple of crystals for sparkle… and its done. Approximately 16 x 20.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Although this is the largest house I have lived in, (not including a basement) it has very little space for keeping things that are not in use… (read as storage). In an effort to find a bit more space, I have been going through some boxes that mostly contain paper. I have carted these boxes around… for many years, since 1997. As long as I had the room too keep them, not an issue, but lets face it, how long does one need to keep bank statements? bills? tax returns for someone that is deceased? So I was able to discard or shred several boxes worth.


My mom was an amazingly strong, gifted and talented person. She could cook. I mean really cook. While growing up in Sonoma County California my friends were eating meatloaf, macaroni and cheese or pork chops for dinner. We were eating the things that Julia Child was making on PBS -veal parmigiana or cheese fondue or bacon wrapped tenderloin, sweet breads, cow tongue, string bean almandine, wilted spinach salad, asparagus, artichokes, crepes, Danish Pastries, home made breads- the lists go on and on. As soon as I could reach the cutting board and the stove controls, I was cooking too. While I can cook, I don’t cook with the same ease she did.

mom-art2She could draw, sketch and paint too. I didn’t receive any of that particular talent… not even slightly. When we were young, and she was a stay at home mom, for pocket money, she would make posters…. hand lettered- for the college, theater, etc. I remember her doing those… In one of the boxes I found her books on lettering. I have a couple of her watercolor from 1968 framed and hanging in my upstairs hall.

She could also play the piano, not a virtuoso …. but she could read music play a bit. When we were kids, she would play Schubert, but we would just call it the ‘Charlie Brown song’. Me, again talent wise, not even slightly….. she tried to teach me piano, but I have a tin ear and no rhythm.

She could sew too. Her sewing skills were top notch, and when I was young she made many of our clothes (she made tailored suits for herself and little dresses and blouses for the girls, and pants and shirts for my brother) up until I was about 12, when one year she asked me if I liked this, this and this at the fabric store… and when I was expecting “I’ll start on these next week'” I heard “Good, you’d better get started on these now for school”. I liked homemade clothes as long as mom was making them…. not when I had to make them. I was her early assistant though… helping her pin, set tailors tacks and cut out patterns as soon as I could hold the implement. I think embroidery was what she liked to do the most!!! She made some amazing items to showcase her embroidery skills. Many of her handmade items have been published or featured in shows. She also had an extraordinary eye for color.

She was also an author, she wrote What Color is Your Aura , a minister, a public speaker and conducted seminars for personal enrichment. She was gifted! She was passionate!

My mom seemed to me to be fearless. She went back to school in 1965 bowers-70(Sonoma State College) to become a teacher, (our family had fallen apart and she needed to support herself and 3 kids, 8, 7 and 4 years old) and got a Teaching Credential with a double Masters in History and English (photo is from her first teaching job in Marin County, CA around 1969). In 1993 she packed up the things she wanted to keep, put them in a 20 x 20 self storage locker packed as full as it could be, sold off the rest and moved to Germany to live and work.  When she left for Germany, she did not speak German or really have much of a plan. She had a laptop, a sponsor and the desire to LIVE abroad; and that was about all. Sadly, her adventure only lasted 3 years. She did well enough to have her own apartment, car and business and she loved it!!!

What brings me to this post is that I found a binder in the boxes of papers, that came back from Germany, that had all the email we, (she, my sister & her 6 kids, my DH and myself) sent back and forth for about a year. This was during Windows 3, when you still had to dial into your service provider (CompuServe) and at that time, 28.8 baud rate was the bestest!!! I know because it was discussed in an email, around Christmas 1995. It has been so fun to read about an entire year in our lives; the trials, tribulations, major and minor issues and fun we shared through the email. We shared so many more details about our lives because we did not have write in longhand or wait for the postman to deliver and we could respond immediately. So many things in these email messages I had totally forgotten about, from seemingly insignificant (now) to some major monstrous upheavals, mostly stateside! Stories about the people she met and the travels she did while away, for work and for pleasure, and her visitors too. I am very glad that this binder remained hidden and unknown, because I don’t think I could have read some of this before now.

This  marks the 17 year since this week since she passed. Reading through this binder and the other materials in the boxes remind me that I really miss her. I plan to share more about my mom here, some of her works of art and some of her “momism’s” that make me smile when I think of them.

More Later-Beth