Karin’s Stitching Room

Oh how I wish you all could see this room in person! It's so lovely and serene and feminine, and I enjoyed every moment in there, just gazing at the softness of it all. Since the Inspired Summer Seminar was held very close to where Karin lives, Karin attended the workshop, as well as invited me to stay in her gorgeous home while I was there.

Everywhere I looked, there were lovely stitched creations set about, each one quietly tempting me to pick it up. (But as every good stitcher knows, one does not simply man-handle another's lovely stitched creations!)

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I've had this Jeanette Douglas design kitted up for ages, and now I wonder why I never found the time to stitch it…

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This design was so delightful to me! But Karin couldn't think of the name of it at the time (perhaps all of my oohing and aahing was ringing in her ears, causing her to have a mental block); the lilac and black of the design was just so striking…

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I loved the wall unit in the room, laden with so much stitchery-fabricy goodness…

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(Are those drawers in the background not giving you palpitations? I need the smelling salts.)

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Karin, when I left your home, I wanted to come home and literally stitch my guts out. I love you for that. 🙂

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P.S. The samplers throughout the rest of her home are outstanding as well.. simply marvelous! But like this stitching room's contents, they are all off to a new home in New York, where Karin will soon be moving to.

P.P.S. Where there is stitching, there is home.

An Inspiring Weekend!

What a fantastic time I had last weekend at the Inspired Summer Seminar! It was one of the best times I've ever had, meeting so many new friends and visiting the gorgeous Inspired Needle shop, owned by Cathy Roginela. She was the most perfect hostess, and everyone had such a fun time.

Friday night I got to visit the shop, and everywhere I looked, there was something new to see…

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I've never seen so many fibers in one place!

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This isn't the whole shop; up around the corner on the left, it continues on, where she had some of my models displayed for a trunk show…

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To welcome all who visited the shop that night, Cathy had set up the most beautiful selection of appetizers…

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She had several varieties of mini cheesecakes, and they were all absolutely delicious. (Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean, Blueberry, Raspberry… too many to choose from!)

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The next morning our workshop began at the Ruffled Feathers Country Club. It was a gorgeous venue, with beautiful sunny windows all around. We even got to witness a wedding outside! (But I didn't take pictures of that, don't worry.)

Here's one of the tables, with everyone busily stitching away on Liberty Inn…

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Cathy had the most wonderful thread-minders made, modeled after the flag star in the sampler, and with the weekend's inscription on the flip side!

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It was such a lovely day, and if she holds another workshop, I'd highly recommend attending! Thank you to Cathy and to each person who was able to attend (we had 52 stitchers there!) for being so warm and welcoming to me. I'll never forget the fun I had with you, and I look forward to hopefully visiting with you again some day!

And a huge thank you to my dear friend Karin, for allowing me to stay in her lovely home. (I'll be back soon with pictures of her beautiful stitching room!)

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Dyeing to Stitch

I was rummaging through some photo archives on my computer last night and came across some pictures I took of the model-packed Dyeing to Stitch shop in Virginia Beach, kept by Ann Robbins and Pat Ryan of R&R Reproductions. They've been in business for 21 years now! If you are ever taking a beach vacation in that area, be sure and stop by.. they would be thrilled to see you! And you'll be thrilled with the inspiration you leave with.

You've probably seen many of the designs in the pictures below, and keep in mind that they'll be heavy on the autumn side, as they were taken in October of last year. But who doesn't love a little heavy on the autumn side? 🙂

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Pat's favorite thing to stitch is silk gauze, and the front window is full of these tiny models!

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Ann and Pat have the most amazing collection of antiques and their reproductions. I just love that Ann collects "Ann samplers!"

Mary Smithies is one of my favorites.. the stories behind the samplers are wonderful, and it's a joy to listen to Pat and Anne explain what they know of the histories of them. Mary, which is from the Utah Pioneer Museum in Salt Lake, is one that Ann painstakingly stitched the blue lines through, just like the original.

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Those of you who know me know that I have a slightly intense love for coffee: Starbucks in particular. So of course I'm positively in love with this sampler! Here's a little information on it, as provided by history-buff Pat…

Sally Starbuck (her family helped establish Nantucket) is the daughter of the second Starbuck brother, Edward. Edward was the real coffee-loving first mate of the whaling ship Essex. Herman Melville visited the Essex and used Edward's name in his novel Moby Dick, and provided a real-life description of him in the book…

Fast-forward to 1971, and the Starbucks company used this name, borrowed from Melville's novel. Ever notice the coffee company's logo?

Fast-forward to 2014, and I really need this sampler:

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Of course, the shop is most famous for its delicious hand-dyed linens. They were the first hand-dyed company, dipping their linens in colors that are suited to reproductions and primitives and all sorts of designs, and with inviting names like Espresso and Cappuccino and Olde Towne Blend… so many gorgeous brews to choose from!

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(I'm not entirely sure why this photo is at this odd angle, but I couldn't leave it out! I love the beach themes so many of the models reflect in this area of the shop.)

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The Reverend Gourdon Squashbottom by Notforgotten Farms is one chart that I left with that day (all kitted up for me, of course!).. I just couldn't resist him!

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And here's his wee companion, from a Just Cross Stitch magazine…

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Have you seen all the Beggars from Threadwork Primitives? Nan has such a charming way with these beloved black birds!

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I really look forward to another trip soon! I keep threatening to crash in on them one day and just be an honorary employee. I think it would be great fun, although if I really were on the payroll, I'd never make a dime; I would, however, have a massive collection of new projects to be started. 😉

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Zoya and Hawg

Happy April to you all!

A couple of years ago, I designed this little chart for my friend Katrina to stitch for her husband, who loves to take his motorcycle out on beautiful summer days. I thought since today was a day for silliness, I'd go ahead and share it here with you all, just in case there are any stitchers out there who like to ride motorcycles themselves, or know someone who does.

Katrina, have you stitched this yet?

Well? Have you??   😉

Please click on the link below the post to print out your chart, and not on the image. 🙂

Zoya and Hawg Complimentary Chart COLOR

Download Zoya and Hawg Complimentary Chart PRINTOUT

Market!

I'm a little late in getting this posted, but here I am with just a few of the gorgeous things that were found at the needlework market in Nashville this year! I'm so sad for the shops and designers that couldn't make it because of the weather, but it was sure wonderful seeing those that could be there. Thank you so much to everyone who came out and supported the designers; each one of you is such a blessing.

This year I brought along my dear friend Katrina Devine to help me in my room. Katrina is exceptionally organized and kept everything running smoothly (which I was extremely grateful for), so I was able to get out and visit a few rooms and take a few photos! I didn't get to nearly enough of them, but here are the ones I did get to:

First stop was The Purple Thread… everywhere one looks, one finds a new treasure. Sharon is such a talented friend, and I love her displays…

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And then there's my Canadian Sister Jeanette Douglas… Such exquisite details in her samplers!

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And aren't these the sweetest tags? I love them! Jeanette has such a lovely way with color and elegance…

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There are only two companies I trust with my coffee beans: Starbucks and R&R Reproductions. The ladies at R&R offered the most beautiful linens, and I came home with a venti-sized cut of Espresso. 😉

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I loved this pillow by Threadwork Primitives, in R&R's room. It was such a pleasure meeting sweet Nan!

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Shepherd's Bush never ceases to amaze me with their beautiful color palettes. Nobody designs like Tina and Teri, and they've been a favorite of mine since I learned my x's.

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This one was a favorite of Katrina's and mine:

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Samplers Not Forgotten had the most stunning samplers! Kim Nugent has reproduced several from her collection, and believe me when I tell you these samplers are huge! I was quite stunned to see them in person, but couldn't get a good photo because she was a good girl and had them all glassed in. 😉

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One of my favorite stops is always at Chessie & Me's room. Her things are such a pleasure to look at, to photograph, and to stitch…

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I absolutely love the saying on this: Pursue the pleasures of a peaceful life.

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Beautiful as usual, Linda!

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Stephanie and her gorgeous family (of Lone Elm Lane) were my next-door neighbors at the last market in St. Charles, but this time we were stationed a few doors down from them. Their room puts me in the best mood! It's like walking into a Country Living magazine, and the welcome is always so warm and friendly!

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I have lots more to show you, but I think I'll end this post right here. I'll be back very soon with the rest!

It was truly a fabulous time at market…  There were so many rooms I missed, either because of timing or crowds, but hopefully you'll be able to visit lots of blogs from those who attended to see what else was there.

See you soon!

A Girlfriends Weekend

A few weeks ago, I met up with some girlfriends for a weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, and we had such a fun time! I didn't haul my camera around with me, so I only had my cell phone to rely on, but I enjoyed the practicality of it. I just wish I'd actually gotten a photo of all of us together.. the only problem with that was I'd have had to ask everyone to put down their stitching, their snacks, or their Starbucks, and one never asks another to set aside any of those – particularly the Starbucks.

Here are a few highlights from our trip, beginning with my countdown of leaving the house for the airport…

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We stayed at a Hilton, and this is what greeted me in my hotel room:

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The Olde World Quilt Shop was a sweet little shop we really enjoyed visiting. It was very cozy, and the ladies there were extremely friendly and helpful. (We were all gathering lots of fabric to give to Natalia to make our next batch of stitching wallets. Poor Natalia! She went home with quite a haul of Moda!)

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And since no stitcher can say "Arizona" without also saying "Attic Needlework" in the same sentence, that's exactly where we went. Jean has a new shop in a new location, and it's just gorgeous!

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As you can see from some of the Vera Bradley bags, we brought our stitching in to sit at the tables and chairs that are in that area and get to work when we were finished shopping (ahem).

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One of my favorite samplers was by Samplers Remembered, and it's the Joseph and Mary Christmas Sampler at the top of the wall in the photo below. I just loved it! The bright colors looked like a child's painting to me.

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At the bottom left of the above photo, you can see the beautiful Katrine Thomsen 1858, also by Samplers Remembered. I think everyone got this one kitted immediately when they saw it in person. It's amazing what seeing a model in person can do (although I had the chance to see Linda Danielson's progress on it at the St. Charles market last year, so I already knew how breathtaking it was!). And by the way, she stitched the entire thing over one linen thread!

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Next to the Samplers Remembered wall was The Scarlett House's models, and this one, Ann Topley 1802, was a favorite of mine.

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We had lunch at a fantastic Mexican restaurant called Serranos, which is in the same plaza as Attic Needlework. And for breakfast, I recommend a great little place called Crackers and Company Cafe… but call ahead, because you wouldn't believe the line in front of that place if you just show up on a weekend morning!

It was such a great trip, and the time spent with my good friends was priceless. And apparently, so was the stash we bought, as we all spent a bit freely that weekend! (I won't even go into our Trollbeads shop visit… oy.)

On our last day, this was what I saw outside the car window on the way to the airport:

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…And on my layover in Denver, this was the scene from the food court window, where I awaited my flight to not-so-sunny Omaha:

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What a difference an hour makes! But all was cozy again when I returned home and unpacked some of my purchases and my little would-be stowaway made himself quite comfortable again…

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I can't wait to do this again!

ETA: Linda of Samplers Remembered left a comment letting me know that her Katrine Thomsen sampler was actually stitched over two linen threads, but on 52/60 ct. linen. I'm impressed either way! That's too high of a count for me, I'm afraid! I'll stick with 36 or 40 for mine. 😉

George and Martha’s Place

I never showed you my pictures from Mount Vernon! What a perfectly grand time I had when I visited with the ladies from the Dyeing to Stitch retreat. They all know what a crush I have on George, so they made sure to add his home to our list of places to visit when we were in DC in October. It was one of the few places unaffected by the government shut-down, as the estate is privately maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. And what a beautiful place it is, even under cloudy skies!

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Here were my companions for the day: Sybil, Norma, Pat, Ann, and Jeanette! What a super fun bunch they all were, and they were very good about putting up with my never-ending search for the ladies' room. (Which, by the way, was affected by the government shut-down, but not on the actual Mt. Vernon property, thank goodness.)

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Speaking of ladies' rooms…

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Goodness, there were three seats inside, all situated next to each other. I'm afraid I would have had stage fright!

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These were Martha's gardens. They were huge because of all the entertaining the Washingtons did, and they needed to be able to have their own produce aisles to pull from at any moments' notice. Back then, it was considered rude to inquire as to how long a guest would be staying, so they never knew if they were to have visitors for 6 hours or 6 weeks!

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I loved the sheep!

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This was George Washington's horse stable, and I loved it so much that when Pat and Ann invited me to name a new color of R&R linen, I chose the name Plum Street Paddock.

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Here's the inside…

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This absolutely fascinated me! That a tree George Washington himself had planted would still be there boggled my mind.

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It had clearly grown like a weed over the centuries…

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Every so often my Canadian sister Jeanette Douglas would whisper, "Hey Paulette," and point to something she wanted me to take a photo of. In this case it was the lantern in the foreground… here you go, Jeanette!

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All throughout the many gift shops on the property are weathervane ornaments duplicating the extremely large one on the house's roof that George had commissioned in 1787. (Actually, the one on top of the house is also a replica, as the original needed to be protected from any more elemental damage.)

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A storage shed on the grounds to the right of the house…
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There was a nice long walk down to the original tomb for the Washingtons…

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As I said in the beginning, the day was cloudy, but as we walked around, we noticed it got darker and darker outside. Within minutes we were all dashing into any building we could find, and oh how I laughed at how positively soaked through Jeanette and Ann were! I took the most wonderful photo of them, but lest they set the mob out after me, I won't post it. 😉

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The rest of the photos I have were taken on my phone inside one of the buildings, just snapped here and there. I wish I could have taken a photo of George's dentures, but there were signs in front of it that strictly forbade any photo-taking, so I decided I wouldn't even attempt it with my phone. 🙂 You should have seen them though; I have no idea how he could stand wearing them, as they looked to weigh about 3 pounds.

Here is one of his telescope and pistol (which is believed to have been used during the Revolutionary War)…

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George loved horses, and was considered an excellent horseman. Two horses he used primarily during war were Old Nelson (a brown horse) and Blueskin, represented below…

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I love what was written in a letter by an English visitor to Mt. Vernon in 1785:

"When dinner was over, we visited the General's stables, saw his magnificent horses, among them 'Old Nelson,' now twenty-two years of age, that carried the General almost always during the war. 'Blueskin,' another fine old horse, next to him, had that honor. They had heard the roaring of many a cannon in their time. 'Blueskin' was not the favorite on account of his not standing fire so well as venerable 'Old Nelson.' The General makes no manner of use of them now. He keeps them in a nice stable, where they feed away at their ease, for their past services."

This was quite an interesting quote by George, so I had to post a picture of it, below. And with it, I'll say goodbye, and I'll see you all soon! Thank you for stopping by and letting me share with you all the fun I had that day in DC. And thank you to my Dyeing to Stitch friends for making it that much more a wonderful experience!

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Cheese.

For a few years now, my oldest daughter Bre has been trying to convince me that I'd love her style of music if I'd give it a try – particularly if I'd give her favorite band (introduced to her by Josh), The String Cheese Incident, a chance. I love all sorts of music, but never actually listen to any, because I prefer the sound of peace and quiet (which usually sounds like a pot of coffee brewing and perhaps a DVD of Lark Rise to Candleford playing on the set in front of me-and-my-stitching).

However, a few months ago I found myself saying "sure" to her invitation to join she and Josh at Red Rocks in Colorado, and up until the day I left, I was pretty much a nervous wreck over it. What if the night lasts too long and I can't stay awake? What if I'm surrounded by hooligans who start body surfing? What if I can't find a quiet spot to stitch in? WHAT IF THERE'S NO COFFEE?

I'm here today because I survived it. And not only did I survive it, I had one of the best nights of my life! Bre and Josh were the most accomodating, fun adult couple to hang out with, and as I was getting dressed this morning, I was bummed that I didn't buy a concert tee shirt to put on.

Here are Bre and I in the hotel room before the show:

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And with Josh:

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When we arrived at Red Rocks Ampitheater, I was amazed at how beautiful it was!

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(If you follow Bre on Instagram, you'll remember that she won that really cool Kelly Moore camera bag/backpack that she's wearing.)

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The sun was very hot and very hazy, but Josh warned me not to complain about the heat, because as soon as someone does, the sky opens up and the rain falls in bucketloads, and then it's freezing the rest of the night.

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We walked through what's known as "Shakedown Street," because that's where lots of vendors sell their wares – jewelry, tee shirts, art work – and Bre's koozies! She had some made especially for the weekend, and she sold tons of them!

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(Josh was her koozie caddie, reaching into his backpack and refilling her handfull when she'd run out.)

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(I love how talented she is… for those of you who have gotten one of my little lip balms in a class kit, she helped me design those as well!)

I bought these crazy pants to wear to the show, as well as the necklace I'm wearing (which has a clay pendant of the SCI logo), but as soon as the show was over, I gave them both to Bre.  She was happy to adopt them, as they're much more her style than mine. (But it was fun wearing something out of the ordinary for a change.)

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These two are so fun to hang out with! This was before the show started. (And by the way, Katrina mentioned once that Josh looks like a young Matt Lauer, and I have to agree!)

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Incidentally (see what I did there?), Josh is a very calm, laid-back kind of guy. He's always soft-spoken and pleasant, and I was planning on sitting by him for the most part while Bre danced the night away. However, as soon as the band members walked out on stage, I was jerked out of my comfort zone by a never-before-seen Josh that one can only describe as the mildly wild sort…

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I need my cross stitch, I need my cross stitch, I need my cross stitch….

Truth be told, I never laughed so hard! These two were an absolute joy to watch, the way they danced and had so much fun, singing along to the songs they love and stopping frequently to see if I was still breathing.

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What a fantastic night! The music, the food (hot dogs, Philly steak sandwiches, and lots of peanut M&M's), and the friendliness of everyone there; young people, old people, and lots of children, all having the same wonderful time I was having.

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But best of all, I got to spend time with my girl. My sweet, talented, artistic, music-loving girl.

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Thank you for a wonderful time, Bre. I love you. And I love Cheese.

The Fourth

Our Independence Day was wonderful, crazy, messy fun with sweet family and good friends and great food. Mom called me earlier that week to prepare the menu for our "event," as she calls our cookouts, and Mike spent hours trying to come up with a way to trick us all into playing board games with him after the fireworks were over.

Mom's menu worked. Mike's plans did not. (He did, however, convince a few good sports to play Monkey Ball with him, which is always fun.)

My mom's dearest friend Anne came all the way from Wyoming to spend the holiday with us, my sister Audrey and her family drove all the way from Dallas, and Bre and Josh and Kaia joined us from way out in western Nebraska. The only person missing from the festivities was my brother. We missed you, Paul!

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While Anne knows full well what it's like to be at a Kwaak gathering, poor Josh had not yet been introduced to such an experience.

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I'm never sure who the bigger ham is, when it comes to Mike and my sister.

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And then there's Bre (with her signature mouthful of ice cubes), pretending to be her dad (with his signature Hook 'em Horns sign)…

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I think Josh was looking for a quick escape…

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Baby Kaia was certainly the star of the evening, and got lots of love and reassuring hugs, since the fireworks had her a bit rattled…

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(My beautiful mom.)

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(I think my dad was in love.)

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Later on, we moved out front to shoot all the fireworks the menfolk had purchased.

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And the girls had fun writing things with their sparklers. It takes a lot of practice, and we usually run out of sparklers by the time the writing becomes legible, but here was one of our earlier attempts: Bre was trying to spell "I (heart) Cheese," which you can make out somewhat, if you look really closely. (Cheese is the nickname of her and Josh's favorite band, the String Cheese Incident.)

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(I think Bean was missing someone, but I'm not sure who…. I'll let you know, as soon as I find out…)

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There's my girl!

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Little Natalie, my niece…

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I love this picture of my mom and Sabrina chatting…

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My darling Bre…

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Sophie spent the whole night out in the street with her dad and Pops and Uncle Shaun, shooting one firework off after another, but she did take the time to come over and sparkle a heart for me…

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I'll leave you with this last family photo, and with any luck, someone out there will be able to offer up an explanation as to what Sabrina could possibly be doing in it.

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Poor Josh. Hopefully our event hasn't scarred scared him away for good.