Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Hidden Star

There are stars hidden in that purple bin! My goal is to find them! I finished the rest of the 24 nine patches yesterday. I think the nine patch is one of my favorite blocks! Once they were done, I had to figure out what, exactly, I would work on next. Zach was on his way to finishing math. I noticed his ruler was marked up with little humps made from pencil lead. The stinker had figured out how to use his ruler as a number line!! He had never been shown a number line before.Smart kid. Anyway, I figured I better decide quick. Something old or something new??? I had enough of both, now to choose. I choose something old. Something very old. This is the quilt I was making for my oldest son's 16th birthday. The fabric was very expensive back then. He got a used beater car instead! That car only cost $8 more than the fabric for this quilt! So, now that he is a trucker professional driver and will need to keep warm at night in his sleeper compartment, this will be perfect! There are 40 blocks total...20 of each color combo. I already had 10 of one and 6 of the other made. 10 others were at this stage... The other 14 are in the purple container waiting to have the "Hidden Star" put together. The Hidden Star block for this quilt was found in the Marti Mitchell 4 inch template set. Yes...I cut all 1160 pieces by template! I will get this together quickly and hand quilt it. Most of it will be outline quilting and should quilt up pretty fast. A star motif will be in the center of each block. It will feel good to check this 10 year old UFO off the list. (UFO=UnFinished Objects...my aunt told me not everyone knows quilter's lingo)

Pure Fruit

Have you ever bought a piece of fruit and it was the picture of purity? Beautifully ripe, not a flaw on it, and you just knew that piece of fruit was going to be a taste of heaven. You take a big bite and instantly you are repulsed by the flavor, texture and smell. The fruit had betrayed you and it was rotten. The outside of the fruit was perfect, but the inside of the fruit was bad. This was a discussion that took place in our home this morning. One of the most amazing things about our Heavenly Father is the grace and mercy He shows me everyday. In speaking words to my children I learned as much, if not more, than they did. I do, however, think it was a lesson well received by my children too. The bible says of people, "You shall know them by their fruits." Matt. 7:16-23 These are the verses we spoke of this morning. A person's fruit is what they do, the things their life bears. I found it a bit scary that these verses talk of people who truly thought they knew God, but God did not know them. (read all the verses) One of the issues a traumatized child has, is the ability to become what they think you want them to be. My daughter is the picture of good manners, sweetness, and would never raise her voice to me in rebellion. She is always compliant with what ever you ask her....as long as she is being watched. Take your eyes off of her and her behaviors become like the piece of fruit that looks perfect on the outside and is no good on the inside. PLEASE NOTE....I am not saying Charlotte is the fruit. I am saying her deeds are the fruit. This is a common thing with ALL children, but attachment disorder brings out the worst in it. It is daily and dangerous. Not just to her future, but to her spirit. We are responsible for what we know. My children have already been taught that their salvation is not based in works, but in God's grace. Now my children know that God looks not only at the heart of the person, but also the heart of the deed. I, along with my children, looked at my own life. What kind of fruit do I bear? Most of my fruit is "what you see is what you get"...good and bad... ...but if I look deeply, I would find areas where it appears one way, but is actually another. I think that would be true of all of us.

Another analogy we discussed is the "hot, cold vs. lukewarm" verses. (Jesus talking) "I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot: I would rather you be cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither cold, nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." Rev 3:15-16 Those are pretty strong words and I need to admit they are words I never had full understanding of. I have heard these preached several different ways. The most common is that cold refers to an unbeliever and hot is a "good" christian. Someone who rides the fence (or that believes and does not accept) would be considered lukewarm. Today as I read these verses and discussed them with my children I had a revelation. (I could be wrong, so no haters!) I had a vision of ice tea and hot tea...both appealing, both refreshing. In no circumstance would lukewarm tea be desirable, or refreshing. I used the example of cold chocolate milk and hot cocoa with the kids. Who would like a nice glass of lukewarm chocolate milk? Today I also saw, the verses are talking about a person, based on the person's works...their fruit. Is it appealing to God? I felt like a light bulb had been turned on. It was quite a deep theological discussion and the kids had lots of questions, along with their own profound insights. They are both very bright kids!!!
Pure fruit is a beauty to behold, not only to the eye, but to the palate. It reminds me of that verse "Taste and see that the Lord is good." What would He taste if He bit into your fruit? As for me, I am just grateful He is merciful and forgiving!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Simple Woman Failure

I can't do it. I tried. I really love reading all the Simple Woman Daybook's on Monday. I will continue to read them, but I am having a hard time with it. I have too much to say, especially on Monday's. I have even found myself posting on the weekends, knowing I won't be able to be my usual blabber mouth self on Monday! I can hear Linda laughing all the way from Oklahoma!!! Shush!!! Anyway, living simply and blogging simply are two different things. I am not living simply by most "plain" standards, but I have really pared things down around here...I will never be able to raise all my own food (nor do I want to), but a little kitchen garden is my simple step. I am not consuming as much....well, just about everything...as I was before. We eat simpler, making more scratch foods to save on the grocery bill (and our health), we use less energy, making sure lights are off, we are buying less frivolous...except my trip to Galena ;), I am using more stash fabrics to make quilts. I have a baby quilt to make and may go buy one accent fabric, but will use mostly stash...maybe all, we'll see. I think making changes in your life to live more simply are great, but don't lose who you are (even if you are a blabber mouth!). I am terrible with coupons. They make me a wreck. If I run across one I will use it, but I can't spend my time or energy hunting them down. If, and when the time comes that I NEED to do this, I am thrilled at the blogs who have owners that are coupon Queens!! I will know where to go! Now, my Daybook would never have allowed me that rant!!!
Monday. I love Mondays. Unlike alot of people, I never feel like my little friend in the picture on Mondays. Everyone here easily gets back in the weekly groove, and Sweetheart is home for dinner. There are 3 nights during the week that he is gone 12+ hours. Monday's are nice. Today, laundry is part of the plan, along with school and, guess what??? (Zachary's famous words...you have to answer with "what?" or he will not stop saying it) I have worked sewing time back into my schedule. I love to sew in the mornings and I have lots of machine work to do...("G" I have not forgotten your apron!). Charlotte has finished her math for the year...she is doing a daily review now and requires little assistance. Zach is almost done, and though he "gets" it, he requires some assistance with the directions. This means I need to be ever present for him. Here is the plan....He can do his math at my desk while I am 5 ft away sitting at my machine. I did LOTS of sewing over the weekend. Here are some of my finished projects.... 216, 2 and 1/2 inch squares all cut for the 24 nine patches. It took 24 fabrics to do this...all stash fabric!Here are 6 of the finished blocks...there are 6 more exactly like these! A set for me and one for Linda! I have 12 more and those will get done today during math and writing (also done at my desk). I also finished my 4 Seasons Swap. Follow the link here and you can see some wonderful spring quilts. The baskets are 6" finished and the entire quilt measures 18x18. It has a definite Spring feel to it. I am terrible with labels...I need to buy some pre-made labels for future use. Here is the label I made for this piece. (I blanked out pertinent information) You can see my machine quilting on the back. Not terrible. It is totally hidden in the seams on the front. I can at least say it is done...and on time!!

I loaned my favorite chair to my daughter as it fit better with her desk. I noticed yesterday that the chair was not being cared for, so I asked Sweetheart if he could fix it. He re-painted it and reupholstered the seat...I LOVE it.
Sue gave me the cherry fabric and I just LOVE it. Now I can enjoy it everyday! I was able to keep my sewing mess under control, so today I have a nice neat area to work in. It is a cloudy dreary day here...perfect for sewing and cleaning...who says you can't do both!!?? As Kyle left for work this morning, here is what was happening outside... Yes, that is snow! It didn't last long and melted right away. Tomorrow is looking better weather wise, but for today, let it do whatever it wants...I have plenty to keep me busy right here in my home. Well it is time to sew....er, I mean do math....you get the idea!! Praying your Monday is a blessed one!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Night

Do you remember how Saturday night was the night??? Everyone had plans of some kind and there was always a place to go. I have come to know Saturday night as a time to lay in my bed and watch movies! Most Saturday nights I am asleep by now, or on my way. Tonight, though I have been in my sewing room. I had a date with my sewing machine! I have quite a mess to clean up, but lots to show for the mess too. Tonight, I put borders on my 4 seasons swap piece, basted it, machine quilted it, made binding, attached the binding to the front, made a label, and the huge mess you see in the picture! I should have the quilt ready to go out on Monday...3 days ahead of schedule! I feel like I cheated since I hand quilted the last two, but there was really no place to show off hand quilting on this piece, and time was a concern....Unlike the fall quilt where I became crazed and double cross hatched the entire thing!!! Anyway, no regrets. It is done and cute and going on it's journey soon!

Today we celebrated my sister's grandson, Dominic's birthday. He turned 4 years old. Dominic is a little guy and TJ is big...bigger than Dominic who is a full year older than TJ. You can tell in their speech and maturity, but in size, TJ looks older! My sister is raising Dominic and his sister Casey (she is Zach's age) and until summer, they are living with my mom.
I took some pics of my mom's flowers today...they are beautiful. Her peonies (they were my Grandma's) are knee high and full of balls ready to be opened by insects! She will fill in this bed with annuals. Her bleeding heart is blooming (or bleeding!)!! And her tulips are in full bloom. I came home from the party and found a package on my porch! Inside I found the most wonderful bag from Debi!! It is beautiful. I plan to use it to carry my Underground Railroad Sampler in. I am working on the applique border and it is just the right size to carry it all. Isn't it gorgeous??!! And inside was another surprise.... 9 fat quarters of the "Country Essentials" line by Connecting Threads! I think they will be perfect in the Prairie Doll quilts I want to make up. They all have little stars on them. The colors are wonderful! All very rich...my favorites. Thank you, Debi! You are so sweet! I am always amazed by Debi and Jan. They do more quilts than most anyone I know and 99% of them are charity quilts for Project Linus. I think I want to make a Project Linus quilt in honor of Debi. I have never done a charity quilt before and I think it is time!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Galena: The Ryan Mansion

The Ryan Mansion was a wonderful tour. Of course in the 1800's a "mansion" had a different standard as today. The Ryan Mansion, built in 1876 is 4 stories high. It has 7 bedrooms, 2 dining rooms, 1 kitchen, 4 staircases, several parlors, 9 marble fireplaces, a library, a ballroom with 10 ft. ceilings, and a 4th floor veranda where you can see for 20+ miles. The Ryan Mansion would have been considered very grand in it's day!
A tidbit of history...James Ryan along with his brother, owned and operated a meat processing center. The towns people were up in arms about the stench, so they moved the center out of town. When the civil war broke out, James Ryan was given a contract to feed all the Union troops and made quite a fortune from the war. With this fortune, he built this mansion for himself, his wife, and his 4 daughters.
As you look at the following pictures, please note that all the furnishings, wall paper, and carpets are not original to the home. There are a few items which are original and I will note those for you. Here is the front staircase as you walk in the front door. Straight, not circular, staircases were quite formal in this time period.
Here is one of the many parlors. The owner, Wendy, who gave us our tour, has done a beautiful job in decorating everything to its time. Note the marble fireplace (original to the home), there are 9 and they all look identical.

Wendy was working on a period piece when we arrived. Here she is showing it to my mom. It is a skirt she is preparing for a ball. The detail is exquisite. She was doing a gathered waist in the same way it would have been done in 1876. The skirt has 22 yards of fabric in it!The Library
This wall unit is original to the home and was handcrafted to specifics of James Ryan. It covered the entire length of the wall.The unit to the side of the fireplace is also original to the home. There is another one, identical on the other side of the fireplace. The Ryan mansion has 2 dining rooms. They are side by side, separated by french doors and a change in the wood floor pattern. They would eat breakfast and noon meal in the first dining room, and dinner in the formal dining room. Here is a built in pantry (original to the home) with a butler's hole. The kitchen staff would pass serving dishes, etc. through this opening for the dining staff to take to the Ryan's. Notice Wendy's apron. All aprons were pinned with straight pins to the dresses. No ties or straps around the neck.Here is the formal dining room set for dinner. Look at that china Cheryl!!!

Here is the original flooring. Note the 3 different patterns in such a small area. The square in a square pattern was in the formal dining room, the 4 patch was the strip separating the 2 rooms, and the zig zag was in the informal dining area.Speaking of original flooring...the 2 tone wood was very grand. Here is the back hall way on the first floor. This hallway leads to the kitchen. It is beautiful and was one of my favorite parts of the house. The door at the end of the hall is a parlor. It looks much like the one I showed, and is now serving as storage. The mansion is still being remodeled.In this same hallway, just outside the kitchen are these bells. They also are original to the mansion. Each bell has it's own tone. Staff were required to learn these sounds and the designated number of rings. For instance 3 rings of a certain tone could mean Mrs. Ryan was calling for her tea.
Here is the kitchen, which also served as a laundry. The mansion is fully staffed with a cook/housekeeper, butler, gardener, and the owner. They had just finished a lunch of boiled ham and rutabagas. All meals served are those that would have been prepared in the 1870's and all staff (including the cook's 2 year old daughter) are wearing era clothing.Because the Ryan Mansion is also open for lodging, they have indoor plumbing, and full bathrooms. These are not shown on the tour, which I was glad for.
Here is the back staircase taking you to the second floor. You find it in that back, beautiful hallway and as you exit it on the second floor you find yourself in one just as beautiful.

If you look just past the clothes basket, you can see an identical staircase leading to the 3rd floor. On the 3rd floor is the ballroom and 2 more bedrooms. They are being remodeled so I will need to go back next year to see the finished product. From the window in this 2nd story hallway, we could see a sight known to be 17 miles from this home. It is breathtaking, the views from the windows here. In this back hallway was a tea cart like one that would have been used to serve the Ryan's their morning tea.Both stories of the house that we toured had these double doors with ruby glass. They are original to the house and James Ryan ordered them special from, I believe, Czechoslovakia. (I may be wrong, but I am almost certain that was the country she said) They are gorgeous.On the second floor is a private parlor and 5 bedrooms. Only 3 of the bedrooms are open to the tour. The others are being remodeled. You would sleep in one of these bedrooms (I only photographed 2...not sure why) if you were lodging at the mansion. Here is the master suite of James Ryan and his wife.The purple dress is one Wendy made by hand and is unbelievable!!!

Here is one of the daughter's rooms. Wendy talks like the Ryan's still live there and she is a staff, so she tells how this little girl, though very talented, is quite messy. She has several things strewn around the room! Very cute!Note the parasol on the dressing table. It is a unique, collapsible parasol from that time period and would have been used by only the most wealthy. Here is Wendy demonstrating how it was held.The handle is made from pure ivory elephant tusk.The framing is made of whale bone.Here is James Ryan's private parlor on the second floor. Here is the back staircase going to the 3rd floor.All of the back staircases connect. The following picture (the only one I did not take myself), I took from the Ryan Mansion website to show these connecting staircases. There are 3 of them.Thank you so much for taking this tour with me! I enjoyed it just as much the second time around!
What?? I am forgetting something??? Oh yes!!!! The chaitelane!!
This would have belonged to Mrs. Ryan. It is silver and has 5 silver chains hanging from the beautifully ornate clip, which would have been attached to her gown (during the day of course). On the end of each chain is a clip. You can attach one or several tools to the end of each chain. Here, Wendy has a needle case, a pin keep, a small tape measure, a scissor fob (her scissors were in the parlor with that skirt she was sewing), a seam ripper, a needle sharpener (the strawberry), and a thread holder. I just LOVED it. All the tools were silver...even the strawberry had a silver stem.
If you ever get to Galena, please stop by the Ryan Mansion. You may even spend the night if you like!!