Monday, March 23, 2015

Maedeup Monday!

I made a lot of maedeup bracelets and necklaces while taking care of my mom. I have a lot of them listed for sale in my Etsy Shop. It just doesn't seem like there are enough hours in the day to get all the things done I want to do. Right now I am working on some bojagi (Korean quilting) projects and I'll share that in another post.

On the new deck front, the only contractor to come out and bid gave us a great bid. It was a lot lower than Rocketman thought we would have to pay so we are going to go with him. I never heard back from the other contractors and now I don't care. We are not sure about when it will happen. The contractor mentioned he is booked out to June but we really aren't concerned about when just that we want it done this year.

April is going to be a busy month for me. I signed up for painting classes at White Bear Center for the Arts. I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 
 
This is one of the projects that was not included in my booklet "All Covered Up!" but is perfect for today.  If you would like to pick up a copy of that booklet, you can find it in my Etsy Shop. It has lots of great projects at a great price.

Spring has finally appeared with warmer temperatures here in Minnesota. We need a new deck especially since a couple of the cement footings were pushed up during the brutal winter of 2013-2014 making our entire deck crooked. Because of the cost of home repairs, we've had to prioritize the list.  Last year was the year of the new cement driveway and this year we decided is the year of the new deck. You would think I would have a plethora of contractors eager for the job but you would be wrong. So far, I have had one no right off the bat and two that were kinda "Umph, I'm sooo busy..."

But today was a banner day, a deck contractor actually came out to our home and is giving us a bid. Hallelujah! You would think this is getting to be prime time for deck builders and they would be excited for the opportunity. Rocketman and I are really perplexed with the attitude I'd been getting just trying to get a bid.

I'm hoping the guy today comes in with a good bid because he was really nice and seemed like he would love the job. Go figure. He also has great ratings.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Busy Couple of Days

 
Yesterday I spent the day babysitting the two youngest grandboys. They live the opposite side of the Twin Cities from us so I like to get over there before rush hour which means I'm on the road by 6:30am. I'm not a fan of heavy traffic these days mainly because of all the texting while driving I've seen.
 
Ezra had a really cool game from Kiwi Crates and we played that for quite awhile while I also kept an eye of little Judah. Ezra loved this game and he was really good at it. Both boys were so good and momma came home a little early from work so I could miss the Friday night traffic. I would have stayed for dinner but I had an all day class the next day and I wanted to get prepared for it and a little rested up. 
 The all day class was another sumi-e class with Susan Frame at the White Bear Center for the Art. The subject for the class was the iris. There are several ways to paint one and we went over two. These are the best of my paintings.



I had not practiced my sumi-e since the last class last fall. I always want to make time at least a couple times a week to paint but it never seems to happen. I am also taking an on-line year long class with Wyanne Thompson and I have been doing some watercolor paintings for that but still not enough. But my goal is still to make time for both. I love and enjoy it so much but it seems that cooking, wash and ironing, and other crafts get in the way. So I'll just keep on keeping on as long as it works for me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

You've Never Too Old to Learn Something New

When I was at my parent's house for those few weeks, I thought there really wasn't anything I could still learn from my mom and vice versa but I was so wrong. For instance, the photo above is the original pattern that my mom uses to knit Christmas stockings for every member of our family. She told me that when Judah was born that would be her last stocking and she would be turning the pattern and the knitting needles over to me. I'm the logical one to take over since I do some knitting although never anything too complicated.
But while I was home, she wanted me to cast on the stitches needed to start a stocking. I questioned her on it since there are no new family members and there were none in the foreseeable future. Well, she isn't ready to give up that pattern and her knitting needles quite yet. She decided to knit some stockings ahead of time and leave the name blank. I could then use yarn to cross-stitch names as they entered the family. I'm still perplexed that she wanted to do this because she really seemed stressed out about making Judah's and that she didn't want to make another one again. But I can see it would be hard for her to give it up. She's has been making them since the early 1960's and why stop now.
 
My mother is too cheap to buy angora yarn which you should use for the patterns so when she needed me to get some yarn for her at a local yarn shop, I bought a bunch of angora. And yes, the price was dear but she was so happy I did it for her. I'm also not sure why she wants me to cast on for her but I did it for Judah's and I'll keep doing it as long as she is making them.
She doesn't wind the skein of yarns when she is using them so I asked her if I could because that's the way I do it. As she saw me winding the eight skeins, she asked to do one too and then got upset because she thought mine looked better because my ball was more round. Who cares! In case you are wondering, mine is on the left and mom's is on the right.
Now to the things we both learned. I hate, hate, hate when you get to the end of a roll of toilet paper. I saw my mom doing this at her house and I thought it was a great idea so I did it at my house. Great idea!

After her surgery, she spent the day sitting in an upright rocking chair but it was hard for her at first to hold up the paper, go through the mail... so I grabbed a throw pillow and placed it on her lap to raise everything up a little. She loved it!

After dinner one night I asked, "Mom, where's the Saran Wrap? It's not with the tin foil and wax paper. "Becky, it's in the refrigerator." I had to ask her twice and sure enough that's where it was. She says it works better when it's chilled. I didn't notice any difference but I'm not going to tell her that and I kept it in the refrigerator.

My mom and dad put all the silverware together in the dishwasher. All the forks, knives and spoons are together. It makes unloading a lot easier. Why didn't I think of that?

Another thing my dad wanted me to do was to warm up the dishes in the microwave before you eat. It was really great to eat on a warm plate.

One huge change, well at least to me, my dad now lets you take a shower in the bathroom! We were never allowed to up until the last few months. Since 1973 when we moved in, you had to take a shower in the basement bathroom. It was also where my bedroom was so there was no problem and I also am not a fan of baths anyway. But I couldn't do it. My dad tried and tried to get me to shower upstairs and I just couldn't. Some things you just can't change:)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Maedeup Monday!

I spent a lot of time on at my mom's working on maedeup projects. Before a trip anywhere, I sketch out ideas for necklaces and bracelets, cut the cording I need with findings and place it all into Ziplock sandwich bags. At any one time, I can have 10-50 bags ready to go. My belief is to always be prepared with crafting projects. They go everywhere with me from babysitting the grandkids (I can craft only when they are sleeping) to trips. Books are also something I bring everywhere and always too many. My daughter and my grandson have also inherited this book trait.
These are some bracelet that I just listed in my Etsy Shop. I'll share more in the coming weeks as I get them photographed and listed.
My son also got engaged to a lovely girl this week. A fall wedding is tentatively planned and I want to make them a quilt, so I've been pouring over quilt patterns and asking Amber what she likes. She will be choosing the pattern and color scheme. The only quilting I've been doing lately is Korean bojagi which is all hand-stitched, whereas my American quilting will be machine quilted.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Taking Care of My Mama - The Food Edition

 
 I fell in love with two grocery stores back home in Rockford, IL. Mom would send me out to pick up a few things and she was always very specific what she wanted from where. She definitely knew what she was talking about. The first store is Valli Produce. It is a huge grocery store catering to countries from around the world.
                                      I had no idea what Goya food was and I still don't.
I am so used to seeing a "Deli" sign that I had forgotten what it stands for and it was so cool to me to see it spelled out. The Valli deli was also one of the largest I had ever seen. It had everything.
                                                                   See what I mean!
I thought these pickles were pretty funny.
                    I had also never seen such a large selection of tortillas. This is only one side.

                    I also loved the piƱatas above the frozen foods. It was really festive and colorful.
Then let's move on to a restaurant called Hoffman House. It is the place to go for great food and most importantly to my mom, a great price. I arrived in Rockford the day before her surgery just in time for lunch and they were anxious to get me there. This is their salad bar.
The lunch menu is where it's at. I chose the golden fried shrimp. I noticed as I gazed around the room, everyone seemed to be well into their 70's. That's when you know you are at a restaurant with great food and a great price.
The salad bar was great and their basket of dinner rolls are so good, they melt in your mouth. I was so busy eating, I forgot to take pictures of the rest of my food.
This is a common sight at Hoffman House. My mom told me that many eat the salad bar and take their entrees home. We didn't the first time but our second time (yes, we went after mom's surgery), mom and dad chose the chicken and it came with a lot of pieces so the extra went home. I definitely need Rocketman to go with us next time we visit.
My other favorite grocery store is one I know very well, Gray's IGA Foods. Do you know I don't think it has changed a bit since I lived there in the late seventies. My mom would ask me to pick things up occasionally on my way home from school or work. Back then, you could pull up and someone would load your car. The only thing I hated is when she would send me to redeem soda bottles. Do you remember those days?
My dad had bought me one of these whipped cream filled long john's a few years ago when I was staying with them. I had craved them every since and knew the first errand for my mom would include these for everyone. They prefer the Bavarian filled. When I look at this photo, I just want to drive down to Rockford and get one.
 This is where you will find them. You better get there early because when they are gone, they are gone.
I took a couple of pictures to show you the inside of Gray's. It is the same interior as it was back in the 1970's.
Some might think it looks dumpy but to me it is charming and has lots of character. I hope they never change.












Thursday, February 19, 2015

Taking Care of My Mama - Rockford, IL

A few weeks ago, I drove down to my folk's house to stay a few weeks while my mom recovered from back surgery. I had no firm plans on when I would return except that I needed to be back Valentine's weekend to babysit the grandkids but I could return to Illinois if needed. I arrived a day before surgery and we arrived at to the hospital at 6:00am the following morning.

She had her surgery in the same hospital that Rocketman was born. How cool is that! My mom is 50% Swedish and I'm sure that was one of the reasons she chose Swedish American to have her surgery. Just kidding!
 As we passed by this door, I thought, "I could use one of those in my house!" I was raised in the Salvation Army faith and it was wonderful to have several officers (ministers) arrive to pray with my family and to sit with us as we waited for her surgery to finish.

I received an apology from one of the officers for a wrong that was over 30 years old. It was so unexpected and I was surprised that he hadn't forgotten and that he felt the need to right things. I had not seen him since it had happened. It was a false accusation that had hurt me deeply at the time but I had long since forgotten. But I could tell it was very important to him to apologize and I am truly grateful that he did. 
 My mom came through the surgery with flying colors. The room was so blasted hot that I turned the heat off. But my dad was cold so a nurse covered him in heated blankets. I did turn the heat back on. Heidi and me roasted along with others who came to visit. 
This is my mama the next morning. She originally was told that she would be in the hospital from 5-7 days. When we showed up that morning, she told us that she was going home that day. We couldn't believe it, but it was true. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to stay an extra day. She had an incision about 5" long at the base of her spine and it was tough for her to get along.

My very first job was as a nurse's aide in a nursing home. I recalled many things that helped me with taking care of my mom. First was helping her in and out of bed which was pretty painful for her. The first night home with her, I told my folks that if she needed to get up, wake or yell for me to help. I awoke early the next morning to a huge bang and yelling. My dad had decided to help my mom by himself and tripped over her walker. He did a header into the closet, breaking it off it's track. I jumped out of bed to find my dad sprawled on the floor and my mom trying to get out of bed. I got my dad back on his feet, the only damage being skinned knees and his pride, then got my mom up and off to the bathroom.

I had made and frozen some meals before the trip, so meals were pretty easy. I took care of everything which kept me hopping. I can say I have never watched Fox News, Dance Moms and Jimmy Swaggert just to name a few television shows. I remember my grandmother watching Jimmy Swaggert years ago and I was surprised to see he is still on television. My mom and I both love true life murder mysteries and also watched a lot of ID television. They have satellite television and my dad had even found a Korean television station, Arirang which I watched when my mom was sleeping. I used to watch it a lot when we lived in Korea.
                         While I was there, I tried to declutter one of their closets. I found this.
                                 See when it expired and no, she wouldn't let me throw it away.
                                         But my dad did let me throw this one away:)
One intersection near my folks had this bicycle and I thought someone must have been killed there while biking. But my dad told me that it was a Ghost Bike and they were all over Rockford. They were in memorial to all that have died in biking accidents.

While I was staying at my folks house there was a deadly accident on a two lane road I drove on a lot during my visit and also when I lived there.

The day after my mom came home from the hospital, it snowed close to 12 inches. It was crazy and thankfully my sister's husband, Paul, came over to blow us out. We've had a snow drought in the Twin Cities and I can't say that I miss the big dumps.

My mom ended up kicking me out when I hit just over two weeks. She was doing great, her surgeon's assistant and her doctor were very pleased with her progress and I think she just wanted to get back to normal. She was tired of me saying, "Don't bend over!" Even if it was doctor's orders:) I am doing a separate post on the food. It deserves it's own.
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