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June 2008
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August 2008

A Love So True album


I've posted the digi layouts I have completed for my grandparents' memorial album in a photo album: A Love So True.  This is the title page for the album, and includes their wedding photo from 1944.  I love him in uniform, and how classic the image is.  And could she have a cuter smile?  :)  She passed away last summer - I'm just so glad that they're together now.

I wanted to capture the strength and joy in their relationship in an album.  In the interest of time, I haven't journaled details yet, but left room to do so on the layouts.

Breakfast at the Hy-Vee

My grandpa was a very social guy.  Actually, "social" barely begins to describe him.  He would talk to anyone, always ready with some useful advice or story, usually paired with a quippy comment or joke.  Everyone liked him - visiting with Grandpa usually took a while, because there was always plenty to say and laugh about.

I don't think I realized how social he was when I was a kid - our visits were typically pretty short, and we stayed in their little white house on Bennett Ave during most of our time there.  But thinking back now, there was an occassion that stands out, giving me insight into the kind of person Grandpa really was.

At some point in grade school, I was invited for an extended visit with Grandma and Grandpa, without my parents or younger brother.  One evening, I asked Grandpa what we would do the next day.  He rubbed his large hand over his stubbly chin slowly, and thought for a moment. 

"Ohhhh," he drawled, "I suppose we'll go down to the Hy-Vee for breakfast."

HyVee? I thought.  Why would you go to Hy-Vee for breakfast, when there are places like IHOP, or even McDonald's?  I don't think I even realized at the time that Hy-Vee had a cafeteria nook - the only food we ever got at a grocery store, we had to take home and cook for ourselves!  I remember being rather skeptical of Grandpa's so-called "plan" as I went to bed that night, sleeping in "my" room on the pull-out couch, surrounded by mounds of Grandma's sewing projects and miscellaneous supplies.

The next morning arrived and we set off for HyVee in Grandpa's long silver car.  HyVee wasn't very far away - just down Bennett Ave, and tucked down in a little valley of stores.

We walked in and navigated our way to the dining area.  I remember being a little stunned at how crowded it was.  It seemed every booth and table were filled.  Voices rose and fell as diners engaged in lively conversations. 

"Lee!"  Several voices called out warm welcomes to Grandpa, and hands stretched in greeting.  He worked his way around the little dining area, offering nods of recognition and declarations of "mornin'".  Several men razzed him about arriving so "late" - they had already had two cups of coffee!  He put his arm around me and introduced me, as if to explain his tardiness.  I stayed close to his side, uncomfortable with all the strangers, but secure under his arm.  They may have been strangers to me, but not to Grandpa, not even the people he hadn't met yet.

We eventually found a table and sat down. We scanned the large menu hanging over the register.  Well, Grandpa glanced at it, but he already knew what he wanted - eggs over easy, toast, bacon, and coffee.  Plenty of coffee.  He waited while I made my decision, then went up to the counter to place the order. 

The cashier smiled broadly when she saw him approach.  "Eggs over easy, Lee?" she asked, raising her voice to be heard over the crowd. 

Grandpa grinned back. "Yeah, that'll do for starts."  She chuckled and took the rest of our order.  Grandpa made his way back to our table, stopping along to way to chat and clap a large hand on friends' shoulders.  Just watching him talk and joke, it was easy to understand how he had earned the nickname "The Big Swede" in his younger days.  Everything about him shouted gregariousness and genuine joy of life.  The French use the term "joie de vivre", but this "Big Swede" embodied it.

Eventually our food was ready, and Grandpa brought it back to the table.  We dug in, though the rest of us probably not as heartily as Grandpa.  He loved to eat - I don't think he ever quite lost the appetite of the lumberjack of his youth.  Soon he was mopping up egg yolk with his toast, while I had barely started.  He leaned back and grunted his satisfaction, rubbing his hand over his round belly.  He gave his stomach a final pat, and declared, "Well, time for more coffee!" and headed off for the coffee pot.  But instead of bringing his mug to the counter, he went over and picked up the coffee pot and brought it back to the table to top off his cup.  Then he started to walk back to return the pot to its station.  But he didn't walk directly there.  My eyes widened slightly as he made several detours, topping off several other people's mugs as well.  Like the waiter who keeps your water glass constantly filled at a restaurant, Grandpa made his way around the entire dining area, providing refills of the steaming beverage for anyone who wanted more (and several who didn't, I think!) 

As I watched several people hold up their mugs, waiting for Grandpa to make it to their tables, I had to ask Grandma if Grandpa actually knew all those people.  She shrugged slightly and said non-commitally, "Probably," not even looking up from her plate.  I took that to mean he probably did know almost everyone there, but it was also just as likely there were quite a few he didn't know.  And it didn't really matter to her either way.  That's just how he was.

When Grandpa returned to the table, I asked him why he filled all those people's mugs. He shrugged and said, "they looked like they needed more," and took a sip of his own mug.  That's all there was to it.  "They looked like they needed more." 

To me, that kind of sums it up - the kind of person Grandpa was.  Whatever someone looked like they needed, he noticed, and did his best to provide, whether that was a cup of coffee, a joke, some advice, some repair work, a hunting buddy, or a burly one-armed hug.  That was my Grandpa.  And the world is a better place for his place in it.

A couple of miscellaneous memories...

When I was engaged, I visited Grandma and Grandpa.  I remember at the end of our visit, I gave Grandpa a hug and told him I looked forward to seeing him next at my wedding.  He ducked his head, like he wasn't sure, and said, "Well, if I'm still around, I'll be there."  I looked at him kind of shocked by the statement and said, "If you're still around!"  And he said, "Well, you never know at my age."  I informed him that he had better make it to my wedding, and to plan on being "around" to meet his first great-grandchild.  That was in 1992.  Obviously, he made it to my wedding, as well as my cousin's, and was "around" for the birth of four great-grandchildren.

Perhaps a strange thing I remember about grandpa is how hairy is arms were.  I asked him once why they were so hairy, and he said, "Keeps me warm."  I have recently noticed, much to his embarassment, my son's legs are rather hairy.  That makes me smile, and think of Grandpa.

Status Update 7/28

There are so many things I want to write about, and so many projects buzzing around my brain, but not nearly enough brain cell to process them all.

Our family black lab had a tumor removed last Monday morning, my grandfather passed away Tuesday night, then I got a call from the vet the next day saying the tumor was a stage 1 mast cell tumor, and that she'd need to go back in to have more removed.  Thursday night my father-in-law informed me he noticed all four of my tires need to be replaced.

That was last week.  This past weekend I spent madly scanning pictures and digi-scrapping an album to display at the funeral, and doing housework and grocery shopping.

Sunday afternoon and evening I was feeling a bit desperate about the few layouts I had finished, but decided to just go with what I had, and started to upload them to to print them as one-hour photos.  Huh - did you know the photo center at WalMart closes at 9pm on Sundays, and they don't take online one-hour photo orders after 8pm?  I didn't.

So, 9 o'clock Sunday I started printing layouts, hoping it wouldn't take me too late - I had to be up at 6am to get ready for the four-hour road trip to the funeral. 

Continue reading "Status Update 7/28" »

New AAM Challenge blog: So Tell Me Your Story....

A heads up on a new Book of Me/All About Me challenge blog: So Tell Me Your Story....

Have you ever picked up a photo of someone in your family from generations ago and wondered about them. What their story was? Who the person was behind the smile? What they liked and the life they lead? Yet no one can tell you tell you anything about them.

Do you want to be the person in the photos that no one knows anything about? Do you want to be the person who scrapped albums yet no one knows anything about the person who created the scrapbooks?

Ask yourself, why don’t I scrap more of me?

Is it time related? Set yourself some time to do one layout a month.

You don't have to fill up a 12x12. You can do a 6x6 AAM. I do a 8X8 and I love it.

We all have stories... So how can you tell your story?

This when I come in and get you to take part in AAM challenges.

I will be posting two BOM challenges per month and you can choose to one or both. You dont have to have photos but lets start telling our story. It will be posted on the 1st and the 15th of each month.

A RAK will be given once a month :)

No excuses now...Go Scrap Yourself! :)

Mamma Mia! Scrap-a Me-a Crop Party

Check out this completely FABULOUS idea for a crop party, hosted by a local scrapbooking store in San Diego: Scrapbook Your Life! : Mamma Mia! Scrap-a Me-a!!.

In honor of opening night of the movie version of ABBA's musical, Mamma Mia!, scrapbooking store Scrapbook Your Life is hosting a crop, including a two-hour Book of Me project (they're even going to do mini-photo shoots and print the photos right in the store!) 

Following a quick pizza dinner, everyone is going to troop out to see the opening night showing of the movie.  And not in any ordinary fashion - they're encouraging everyone to "dress for the movie! Hippy, ABBA, leis, flip-flops, long skirts, flowers-in-your hair, floppy brimmed hats...oh! this is going to be so much fun!"

Can I just say how jealous I am??  If this store was even two hours away - which it totally isn't - I would completely be there.  I am obviously a big fan of Book of Me projects (grin), and a big fan of ABBA and this musical!  I've already seen it twice, and am really looking forward to the movie.

So if you're in the San Diego area, please go to this event for me and report back, ok?  It sounds like a blast.  Kudos to the gals at Scrapbook Your Life for creating what sounds like an awesome event.

Recent crochet projects

So I've been all about crocheting lately, and a little about knitting.  My paternal grandmother taught me to crochet in 6th grade, and I've made a number of projects over the years, mostly afghans, but haven't done much in the past 10 years or so. 

My grandmother passed away in August, and it was about that time that I picked crochet back up again.  I didn't make the connection right at that time, but now I realize it was (and is) my way of connecting with her.  And I like that.

So I've been working on a number of projects lately, and can barely wait to finish one before I start another.  It's hard to wait - I see a new pattern and think, "oooh, I want to try THAT!", but I don't like to leave the current project unfinished (unless it's an afghan - I'm pretty burnt out on the afghan I'm currently working on).  So I've powered through quite a few things recently, so I can move on to the next.

IMG_4944 I made a recycled grocery bag out of grocery bags!  It turned out really sturdy and holds quite a bit!  I have a ball of 'plarn' ready to go for another one.  This bag always draws comments from checkers at the grocery store - my favorite comment was from a teenage boy sacker a couple of weeks ago: "This thing is huge!  You could fit, like...three babies in there."  I looked at him wide-eyed a bit, and then replied, "yeah, just the thing for all my black market shopping."  I don't think he got it.  What-ev.  BTW - if you are interested in crafting with recycled plastic grocery bags, is definitely a resource to check out!



I made a set of cotton washcloths and scrubbies (also known as "tawashies") for my mother-in-law, as a thank-you for picking my daughter up from summer school every day in June.

I made a large stash storage basket (PDF of the pattern) - not sure what it's going to hold yet!  :) (here's a link to someone else's basket - I haven't taken a picture of mine yet)

I've made several scrunchies for my daughter and myself - both knit scrunchie and crochet scrunchie. (no pictures yet)

I still have that afghan to finish up, and here's the rest of my 'queue'.  Anyone else working on any yarn-related projects?

Successful Knitting Party, and Crocheting with a Lefty Child

Thanks to those of you who responded to my call for menu ideas (and those of you who just wished me well in your hearts! ;)  )  My three fellow 'yarnistas' and I had a lovely time last night and dinner turned out quite well, I think.  In case you're wondering, I did decide to offer a green salad along-side the baked potato bar, and apple pie sundaes with caramel topping.  <insert Homer slobbery-groan sound effect here>

I wound up working on (and completing!) a hot pink hair scrunchie for my daughter, and started a headband.  Since my knitting starter class in January, I have mastered only the garter (knit-only) stitch, though I did learn the purl stitch also.  The headband pattern calls for k1, p1, k1, p1 (knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one), or what is called the seed stitch.  My knitting pal Allie helped me with some of the finer details and I made some good progress.  (Then, of course, she left, and it went kind of downhill from there...)  I've promised my son I'll knit him a hat (any Jayne Cobb fans out there?), so I'll probably sign up for a hat class in the near future, otherwise I'll never master it on my own.  (I mean, circular needles??  I can barely handle short straight ones!)

My skill with knitting needles aside, I had a great time.  I have met with the group only a handful of times, and am finally feeling like I'm getting to know people.

Tonight my daughter asked me to teach her to crochet.  Unfortunately for both of us, she is a lefty and I'm a righty.  I tried just showing her what I do, and trying to mirror that with her left hand, but she got pretty frustrated.  She was able to create a chain of about 20, but her hand looked pretty uncomfortable.  My MIL is a lefty, and knows how to crochet - I'm hoping she has some tips on "how to teach a lefty child how to crochet"!  :)  Meanwhile, she asked me to make a bunch of scrunchies so she can sell them at day camp (but keep all the profits herself).  Whatever!  :)

Request for Menu Suggestions

So Tuesday is my night to host my knitting group (KG) at my house, which means I will be providing dinner and dessert for 4 (in addition to my family).  I'm planning a baked potato bar, so I can cook the potatoes in the crockpot while I'm at work all day.  I'm planning to serve Apple Pie Sundae for the dessert - I'm trying the recipe out on my family tonight as a test run, and to decide if I want to prepare the apples the night before KG.

The Baked Potato Bar will include shredded cheddar, sour cream, bacon bits, chopped brocolli, chives, and some sort of hamburger/cream of mushroom soup topping.

My question is what to serve with the baked potatoes.  Ordinarily with a main dish, one might serve fruit or vegetables, but the main dish IS a vegetable, and the dessert is a fruit.  Any suggestions??  These ladies often serve some pretty impressive dinners for KG, and I feel like I'm already laming out with the Baked Potato bar, so any suggestions are appreciated!

On a related note, I'm not sure what knitting project I will be working on that night.  I have been working on an afghan, but I'm kind of burned out on that.  I plan to start a scarf as a Christmas present, but haven't bought the yarn yet.  Maybe I'll start a charity project.