• Friends,  Stitching

    Heaven Gave…Friends

    My very first internet-friend, Chris, finished my Heaven Gave Rain pattern recently, and she sent photos to prove it. :)  I'm always pressing Chris to start a blog to showcase her work, bc truly she has the most amazing eye for color and decor. Everything she touches is transformed into something beautiful!

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    Thank you for sharing these with me, dear Chris! And how do you always find the coolest stuff to make vignettes with?

    Enjoy your Wednesday!

  • Crazy Kids

    Homecoming 2010!

    The last Homecoming dress, the last Homecoming hairstyle, the last Homecoming jewelry.. all of it is behind me until my Sophie goes to her first Homecoming dance – in 2014. This past weekend was so much fun, and volunteering our home for a potluck dinner (instead of the kids in Sabrina's group all heading to different restaurants) made it even more memorable!

    Before the potluck on Saturday evening, we all laughed (and fretted) that none of the kids would remember to bring any food, so I made sure to have enough pulled pork to feed 4 NFL teams and their families. I also had scotcharoos, tortilla rollups (which remained in the refrigerator, completely forgotten), my mom's famous punch, and all the soda-pop you could imagine.

    However, not one child showed up on my doorstep without a food item. Therefore, I still have enough pulled pork to feed 4 NFL teams and their families. (But thanks to myself, there is no more of my mom's famous punch left.)

    Here are some moments from Saturday night…(There are varied colors and textures in some of the photos bc they were immediately edited for Sabrina's Facebook page; since kids love all kinds of different looks to their pictures, that's what you see!)

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    This is Collin, one of Sabrina's best friends. Her other bestie (Katie) was at a debate tournament this weekend, so instead of the three amigos attending together, it was just Collin and Bean…

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    And guess what! Collin won Homecoming King! Congratulations, Collin!

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    Right on time, the guests began to arrive…

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    Aren't these girls just the cutest things? I wondered why they looked so tan in this photo, and then I realized it's because the sun was bouncing off of my yellow house onto their lovely faces!

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    I love looking at how the girls choose to wear their hair. Sabrina's hairdresser chose to do a pin-up girl style on her, which I loved…

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    Sophie quietly watched from the side…

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    …and then Collin let her have some fun by trying on his Homecoming King crown…

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    The theme at the high school was Dr. Seuss, so we decided to match it at the potluck…

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    (Each of the tables had books and flowers, and balloons to match.)

    Before eating, the kids decided to head outside for a few photos…

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    (Another of Sabrina's friends, Makenzie, won Homecoming Queen! Congratulations, Makenzie!)

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    I loved Sabrina's jewelry…

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    Mikey in the middle…

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    What a great group of kids this was! Everyone was so polite and sweet, and nothing at all like the rambunctious freshmen they were just a few short years ago…

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    Before she left, we grabbed a few pictures with Sabrina too…

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    (Okay, so maybe I should have gone to the hairdresser myself before the potluck… but that's what happens when you start the day's cooking before the sun comes up.)

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    (Oh come on, I dont' look that bad.)

    And so ends another paragraph in my middle daughter's senior year. No more Homecoming dresses, no more Homecoming hairstyles, no more Homecoming jewelry… but we'll always have the shoes.

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  • Four Seasons Cafe,  From My Kitchen

    Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Vanilla Icing

    Just posted this recipe over on Four Seasons Cafe! It's delicious!!!

    Pumpkin cake

    I forgot to add on the recipe post that my family LOVED it, which completely surprised me. As I was saying over there, they're more into the rich desserts with chocolate and ice cream. 🙂 Sophie usually will eat only the frosting on a piece of cake, but she actually ate the entire thing when I let her try this one.

    Btw, it came from this wonderful little book that was gifted to me by my mom last week: 

    Happy Fall!

  • Family,  Good Things


    Mike and I cannot express our thanks enough to those of you who supported and encouraged Mike through your comments, emails, and giving. We were overwhelmed by the generosity shown, and thanks to you all, Mike exceeded his financial goal he set for his team – and he completed his very first 10K race! (I think I mentioned before that Mike has never been, nor has he ever wished to be, a runner. However, since he began training just a few short weeks ago, he found that he actually started to like running, and has now set his sights on a half-marathon.)

    We arrived downtown early for the check-in, and then it was time to head out into the streets. The day was a drizzly, chilly 53 degrees, but according to the seasoned runners in the group, this made for an excellent day. 

    Looking past the 2-mile start point, I was shocked at how many people were up ahead!

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    With Sophie cheering him on, it was going to be a great day for a run. 🙂

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    Here was another runner for the OPD, Nick…

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    When the loudspeaker called for everyone to get ready,  Mike started his warm-up…

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    And it's time to go!

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    As Soph and I walked to where the finish line was to be, we saw a peculiar sight…

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    "Who the heck are they?" Sophie asked.

    "You are un-American," I replied.

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    It was just over an hour later that we spotted Mike coming around the bend, headed toward the finish and probably wondering if we were going to be there…

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    I think he found us!

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    "GO DAD! GO BEST BUDDY!" Sophie called…

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    We were so proud of him!

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    And he couldn't have done it without his training partner, Sophie.

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    And he would like to thank the following people for their kindness and generosity:

    Paula S.
    Marika C.
    Diane A.
    Sandra H.
    Ladonna S.
    Connie P.
    Jeanne B.
    Joseph A.
    Margaret C.
    Noele P.
    Katrina D.
    Robin H.


    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who donated to the American Lung Association. It was very nice and thoughtful of each one of you who took the time to donate to such a worthy cause.   Like most of you, I really enjoy reading my wife's blog.  I always read the comments left by readers and am amazed at how kind and nice everyone is that leaves a comment.  I also wanted to take a moment and thank everyone that left condolences and thoughtful messages when my parents passed away.  All of those were very helpful to me.  Thanks to all of you for being so thoughtful.


  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Photography

    Work it, Girl

    A few days ago, Sophie and I walked Mike out to his car before he left for work for the evening. I noticed that the sun was shining beautifully on Sophie's hair, and I asked her if she minded if I took her picture. She agreed, and then I asked her if she wanted me to take lots of pictures of her. "You mean, like you do the girls when they're posing?" she asked. "Sure!" I replied. At this, she was happy, so off we went to a nearby park owned by a local nursery.

    We had a fun time, although there were a few too many frogs in the pond for her liking. And she kept making me walk in front of her, so I could clear out any grasshoppers before she passed by.

    Here are just a few of the pictures I took that day. I love you, Sophie!

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    At one point, Sophie told me to look up…when I did, there were hundreds of marquis butterflies! It was magical! This was the only one I could capture…

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    There was a gorgeous tree there, filled with these beautiful red berries…

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    And my favorite… 😉

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    A girl can dream, can't she? 😉

    (It's just too bad I don't always dream in focus! Ah well, like one of my very favorite photographers, Karen Russell, says: "Photos don't have to be technically perfect, as long as they're emotionally perfect."  I like that.)

    Enjoy your weekend!

  • Ramblings

    Fowl Play

    Ever since I started keeping my bird feeders filled, I've had birds in my back yard that would make Alfred Hitchcock envious. (Nevermind that his movie wasn't called The Finches.) However, lately I've noticed a peculiar absence of fowl at my feeders. Nary a feather can be found, except for the stray one on the ground.

    Don't worry, that verse will not be made into a sampler.

    So the other morning, I discovered why my feeders are still full…

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    Why, oh why must I be plagued with one oversized Golden Retriever who couldn't catch a ball if it were sitting still, and 2 tiny ankle-biters who can only jump as high as my kneecap?

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    I think he heard me think that.

    Actually, I love cats, so I didn't mean that anyway.

    As a matter of fact, Sophie was the first one to spot him – on our porch, earlier that morning. So I let her put some cream (okay, half-and-half) on a saucer like you're supposed to do, but after a couple of drinks, the cat disappeared. (I'm sure it was bc there was no coffee in the half-and-half.)

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    Later on is when I spotted him up on the fence.

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    I think he noticed the dogs inside the window, who were completely oblivious to the fact that a would-be mortal enemy was in their yard, looking at their birds.

    And then he saw me.

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    He quickly vanished into the trees behind the fence, but was back again the next morning, waiting patiently for breakfast.

    My sister used to have a cat just like this one, named Sinbad. He used to laze in the grass, enjoying his life, until, one day, a bluejay spotted him and started dive-bombing him on a daily basis. He decided then that he didn't like lazing around anyway.

    I'm off to buy some peanuts, bc I think my back yard would be pretty with some blue in it. Orange and blue don't really go well together, unless you're a Denver Broncos fan. And thankfully, I don't have any broncos in my back yard.

    It just looks like I do, thanks to my oversized Golden Retriever.

    Needless to say, I've spent the latter part of this post thinking out loud.

  • Ramblings

    Thank you!

    I got the sweetest gift in the mail from Queen Betty, and I just had to share it here! I love rubber stamps, and what could be better than a crown stamp? LOVE!

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    What an unexpected surprise! Thank you sooooooo much, Betty! 🙂

    And while I'm sharing, I have to show you Karen's finish of one of the patterns in the My Pretties chart…


    Thank you so much, Karen! (I hope your husband's friend liked it. :))

    I'd also like to thank every one of you who were so very kind to donate to Mike's team for the American Lung Association. What a very pleasant surprise it has been, and Mike is floored at everyone's generosity. I'm so excited for him to run on the 20th, bc he's been training every day – and Sophie has been his running companion, although she's been on her bicycle next to him, encouraging him to keep going. 🙂 (Btw, she'll be taking part in the 100-yard-dash on race day!)

    Thank you again, to everyone!

  • Family

    Funds for Lungs

    Mike has been running every day, training his manly self to run in Omaha's 10K Corporate Cup on the 20th of this month. He is not a natural-born runner, nor has he ever aspired to be, but when a friend on the police department invited him to be on the team, he decided to give it a try. Then he asked me if I would post it to my blog, just in case there was anyone wanting to donate to the American Lung Association. His goal for his team is to raise $200.00, but he asked that I please stress that he doesn't want anyone to feel any obligation!

    Just in case you feel moved to give, however, here is Mike's page… and here is what he had to say:

    I have signed up as a participant in the American Lung Association's Corporate
    Cup, scheduled for September 20th, 2009 at Civic Auditorium (17th and Capitol).
    I have set a personal fundraising goal of $200.00 to help the Lung Association
    in its fight to for cures, clean air and smoke-free kids, and I would appreciate
    your support in helping me reach this goal.

    Please visit my personal web
    page and follow the instructions to make a secure online donation. I would
    appreciate any contribution you decide to make.
    Thanks in advance for
    your support.

    Mike Stewart

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    Btw, I've been teasing him about this picture, bc it was taken when he was driving me around downtown, showing me various places I could perhaps take Sabrina's senior photos. So I told him to pose for me and I'd do a senior citizen shoot for him. 🙂

    Good luck with your run, you studly husband, you! Look at the bright side: if you can't make it to the first mile mark, you can always join the kids for the 100-yard dash event.

  • Crazy Kids,  Family


    As most of you know by now (bc of my gushing on Twitter and Facebook), Breanna has started her own cross-stitch designing business under the name Hodgepodge Cottage. The name she finally settled on couldn't be more perfect! (She started out with Frilly Lilly, but found that the domain name had already been claimed by someone… then she jokingly called herself Blueberry Lane Samplers as a mock of Plum Street Samplers… but considering the wide variety of her interests in life, I think "hodgepodge" describes her perfectly.)

    Breanna has always been a creative soul, finding great satisfaction in writing, drawing, music, and fabric. Last summer she discovered sewing, and spent a lot of time with my mom, who taught her how to quilt. A few years before, when she was in high school and was grounded from her social life (ha! I miss those days…), she was so bored, she decided to learn how to cross stitch. And now here we are! 🙂

    She will be debuting her first design at the St. Charles Needlework Market on September 24th, and I couldn't be happier for her! Here are some close-ups of the three flags she designed…

    This one was stitched by her Meems (my mom)…

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    The flag "pole" is actually a wooden skewer used for grilling, painted black. We then used tapestry nails to anchor down the pole, with a small amount of tacky glue applied underneath.

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    Here, you can see the underside of the flag pole…

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    Since double-sided tape is my very best friend when it comes to finishing (please don't tell anyone that or I'll just deny it), that's what was used to apply the ric-rac. And then a few more tapestry nails were used to embellish the remaining sides.

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    Here is the one that Breanna stitched…

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    I can't believe she stitched it all by herself! :)  And the cheery purple trim and bright backing fabric are so…hodgepodge! I love all the happy colors she chose.

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    Finally, here is the one that I stitched for her…

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    And if the front is too "dark" for you… check out the underside!

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    If I remember correctly, I believe that fabric came from Kwilty Kim. 🙂

    If you happen to be going to Market, you can check out Bre's models in the Kelmscott Designs suite. Each of the models are stitched on 32 ct. Vintage Pearled Barley (Lakeside Linens) and they use Crescent Colours cotton floss in Blackbird, Plymouth Rock, Antique Lace, Tangerine, Bamboo, Eve's Leaves, and Mulled Berries.

    Halloween Flags model email 

    Congratulations, Bre! I love you soooooooooooooooo much!

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