Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fading Summer

Once again, summer seems to have passed in a blur.  One day, I'm wondering how I'll survive the heat, the crazy schedules (or lack thereof), and the extra doses of "togetherness," and it seems like only a few short weeks later, it's almost over.   The flowers are fading, vacations are memories, and back-to-school shopping is on everyone's agenda.  While I look forward to the return of a normal schedule and the cooler, crisper days of September, I always hate to see summer end.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from our recent vacation -
First, the beach:

Then on to Hershey, PA

Making our own personal candy bars at Hershey's World of Chocolate
 Did you know there are also Hershey Gardens near the hotel?  Even the girls were impressed with the roses which came in so many beautiful hues:

They also have one of those covered butterfly gardens.  The flutter of all those wings makes those places seem enchanted.

As a grand finale, the whole family attended a concert by Owl City on our last evening out.  It was a fun way to end the summer!  (If you're not familiar with Adam Young and his fun, upbeat music, check out this fun Youtube video clip:  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday

What are you feeling thankful for today?  Here's my list:

  1. My daughter Chelsea who turned 15 last week!  She has been spunky and delightful from the day she was born and continues to bring much fun and joy to our lives every day.  She is quickly becoming a lovely young lady who I know has so much to offer!  Happy Birthday, sweetheart!
  2. My FiberArts Northeast group (FANE) led by Jane D'Avila.  I'm so fortunate to be part of such a talented, dedicated group of women!  They are an excellent source of inspiration, encouragement, and initiative to try new things.  Together, we've grown so much over the years, supported and challenged each other, and celebrated our many successes.
  3. Good Friends!  In the last two weeks, I've had several opportunities to get together with old friends.  As the saying goes, "make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold."  I'm so lucky to have been blessed with the riches of good friends to confide in, rely on, and celebrate with!
  4. Vacation!  Tomorrow we're leaving for a few days on the beach!  We're fortunate to have the means and opportunity to get away for a little R & R every year.
  5. Our Honda Minivan which is now 13 years old!  Today the "check engine" light came on (and we're leaving for the shore tomorrow!), but the service man said the code indicated that we could wait until after our vacation to have it fixed.  Takes a licking and keeps on ticking!  Thank God for small favors!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

ArtQuilt Gallery Show

Yesterday, FANE took a field trip into NYC to visit our show at the ArtQuilt Gallery on W. 25th Street.  The kimono-inspired quilts looked so colorful, unusual, and compelling from the street, we couldn't wait to get inside and get a closer look!

The show was hung beautifully, with most pieces on the walls and some on stands on the floor.  Each one was given ample space so viewers could admire the workmanship and details.   Most people remarked on how varied they were in color and construction, despite them all being the same basic shape and size.  They are as individual as the artists who created them!

Below are some more group shots...

... and one of my own!  It was difficult for me to get a good photo of this at home, because I don't have an adequate place to hang and light it, so I had to get a good shot here.

The City Quilter is also a great fabric shop, so when we were finished photographing and congratulating each other, we had time to look around at all the beautiful eye candy!

So much gorgeous color and texture everywhere!

So many fun things to touch and admire!

Of course, I couldn't completely resist temptation and did go home with a few swatches of hand-dyed wool fabric from this display, in beautiful fall colors.

Ten of us enjoyed a late lunch together afterwards.  It was great to get out and celebrate together!  If you're in the NY area, don't miss the show, which runs through the end of August.
Jane D'Avila, Fran Osinoff, Joyce Sullivan, and Carolyn Spiegel

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

FANE takes Manhattan!

The kimono-inspired pieces my FiberartsNorthEast (FANE) group created last spring are on display this month at the City Quilter gallery in Manhattan!  (The above photo was taken when they were displayed at the Northern Star Quilter's Guild Show in early May.)  The show opened this week and will run through the 31st.  Many of the group members (myself included) will be meeting at the City Quilter on Saturday to see the show and celebrate our New York debut.  You can read a little online blurb about it here or click here for the link to the City Quilter's website (    Go FANE! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Here are five things I'm thankful for this week:
  1. My new garden:   Summer has become somewhat stressful for me ever since I started working and this summer has seemed particularly so.  It's been great to wander down to the garden a couple of times a day to escape from the emotional drama typical of a house with three teenage girls.  The garden looks better every day and it is just the diversion and peaceful escape I hoped it would be!
  2. Cassie:  Sometimes it seems like Cassie (and Mark, of course) is the only one glad to see me when I get home from work!  She never complains or badgers me with requests.  She is always attentive and affectionate, sometimes playful, but always happy to be in my company.
  3. My home:  There are three good things about our house:  location, location, location!  We live on a pretty lake in a safe and friendly neighborhood in nice family-oriented middle class town.  It's picturesque and offers just the right balance between country and suburb.  I'm very fortunate to have made a home here!
  4. Mark's job:   As much as I enjoy my job, the salary would not be nearly enough to meet the needs of our growing family.  Mark's job as an IT project manager is tough, but he is good at it and it makes our lifestyle what it is.  We are so fortunate to be able to buy whatever we want at the grocery store, to always have a surplus of food in the fridge and pantry, and to be able to buy all the things the girls need (and even some of the things they don't).
  5. Physical Therapy:   I have been having terrible SI joint dysfunction pain in my hips on and off since January.  It's been particularly bad since April and I often have trouble walking after spending a night in bed.  In June, I finally saw my doctor, had x-rays taken, and was prescribed PT twice a week.  I've only gone one full week and I'm already feeling so much better!  My hips have been moved back into realignment and my muscles are beginning to get back to where they need to be.  I am doubly relieved - from the pain, and knowing I'll be able to control it with exercise.
How about you - what are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Family Fun

On Sunday, we made a trip to nearby White Pond, a perfect little slice of heaven right here in Putnam County.  It was one of those rare summer days with clear blue skies and low humidity, ideal for kayaking around the lake, jumping off the rocks into the water,  hiking through the woods, and picnicking on the shore.  Everyone got a full dose of fresh air, sunshine, and good clean fun!  Even Cassie was able to join us - dogs are permitted and she wore herself out paddling around in the water, scrambling over the rocks, and exploring the woods.   I wish we could spend more days together like this, enjoying the beauty of the earth as well as the company of good friends and family!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I've been trying to think of ways to encourage myself to blog more often.  I thought I might try doing a weekly themed day and came up with "Thankful Thursdays," which would be posts about gratitude.  This would serve the dual purpose of getting me to come up with a few (maybe 5) things I'm thankful for every Thursday.  Although I came up with the idea last week, when I got home from work yesterday I was so tired, I just cooked dinner, ate, lay down, and fell asleep!  So the first installation of Thankful Thursday will be posted on a Friday!  Here are 5 things I'm thankful for today:
  1. My Mother!  Today is her birthday and I'm so fortunate to have been raised by her and to still have her in my life.  She is an excellent listener and gives great advice - she is always there when I need her!  Happy Birthday, Mom!
  2. Health (both mine and my family's).  "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." I think I often take my good health for granted, but I've been very blessed to never have any serious health issues.
  3. My husband.  We've had good times and hard times, but we've never given up on each other.  He's always there with a shoulder, an ear, good advice, and often manages to make me laugh, even in the worst situations.  He's a hard worker, a good provider and a great father too!
  4. Summertime.  It's so nice to wake up and hear the birds singing, and see the sun streaming through the window, to go out without a coat, to spend time among all the green growing things. "Summertime and the livin' is easy..."
  5. My job.  I know many people don't like their jobs, and I feel very fortunate that I really enjoy mine!  It's a lot of fun, I work with great people, and I have a ready supply of reading material at my fingertips!  The pay could be better, but I have some nice perks (no late fees!).
What are you feeling thankful for today?