Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas to us!

'Twas the day before Christmas, and early we rose! Scott, Chris, and Hannah on the road, and the snow blows! We drove for 3 hours to pickup our gift - a beautiful yellow puppy - and we didn't land in a drift! (end of poem, such as it was!) We left home at 8 a.m. to drive to Cricket Hollow Farms, in Galva, Illinois. Chris Anderson has a simply wonderful dog breeding (and boarding and training) business there, and we were lucky enough to find her, and our newest family member, Dora!
Here I am, holding Dora for the first time. When Chris's daughter brought Dora out to me, I started to cry, she is just so beautiful! (you can see Chris behind me)
Here is my daughter, Hannah, getting kisses from the lovely Dora. Let me tell you, it takes a LOT to get Hannah out of bed early in the morning, but she bounded out of bed in order to come along to pick up Dora! Here you can see the front room of Chris's business.

Hannah got to have Dora ride in the back seat with her, and took LOTS of pictures on the way home! A little yawn from Dora. By the way, the name has nothing to do with the cartoon character - but was chosen in honor of a favorite great aunt of mine, who was spunky and sweet. So far, our Dora has both qualitites! :)
Chris gave us a little stuffed lamb, sweet with the scent of Dora's 9 brothers and sisters. Here she is, cuddled up next to her little lamb - dreaming about what else Santa might bring to her the next day! For all of us Hudsons, though, we already had our gift - a sweet little girl named Dora. God Bless Us, Every One!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy these images - starting with a view from our front yard, looking across the street, about one month ago. Love that fall color!

Here's another stunning shot - taken from my neighbor's driveway, looking through her garden (I can't take credit for those beautiful marigolds, cosmos, and clematis over her gate), into our backyard. That maple in the background is ours, and it gives us a beautiful view from our family room (just to the right).
There was a great Mary Schmich column in the Chicago Tribune this week, on the theme of Thanksgiving. I tried to include a link, but blogger is fighting me right now. Just go to Chicago Tribune, Mary Schmich, November 21. The column is titled "Even the terrible things seem beautiful to me now."
And who could resist these cuties? These are some of the 3-week old girl pups from our litter - we are schedule to pick up OUR puppy in about one month - just in time for Christmas!
Another problem trying to include a link - type in the following into You Tube to get a real day brightener! I actually applauded after watching this one. Enjoy - and Happy Thanksgiving!
Sound of Music - Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Black Fabric Fiasco

So, I've been working on this project, piecing letters and star blocks, and using solid black fabric as the background for all of them. I had some black fabric in my regular stash, but when I used that up, I went hunting, and found a big piece - about 3 yards - in a cardboard box. I had an UFO (unfinished object, a common term for us quilters!) in the box, including many pieced blocks, and the large piece of solid black. Do you see where this post is going? I cut off a large piece of the black, about 1/2 yard, and started to press it. Black dust and lint were everywhere! On the ironing board, on the floor, and on me. I decided to wash that piece, and the remaining 2+ yards - so into the washing machine they went!
And this is what came out! I was upstairs when Scott removed them from the washer, and I could hear him exclaim when he saw it! He was shocked, to say the least! What could I say? We had a good laugh over it, and now I have to decide how to proceed.
Last night, I hand washed all of my completed blocks and letters, and I think I can salvage all but about 4 of the letters. I could definitely tell which ones had the "bad" black fabric - it left a ring in the sink! Apparently, the acids in cardboard boxes leach into the fabric, and cause it to break down. I had just never seen proof of it until now!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

15 Minutes = Fun!

I have been busy in my sewing studio. This shows a bit of the process, and just a peek at what the final product will be.

I started with an old group of hand-dyed fabrics, and a friend's quote, and started making letters.
Then I decided to incorporate some prints, and made some pieced blocks...

...and some star points...

...which became some awesome stars! More later on this fun project!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cohen Goes to the Park

We love it when Emily's dog, Cohen, comes for a visit. We went for an early morning walk on a recent weekend, and enjoyed some beautiful scenery.

This is Barth Pond in Downers Grove. Note the fall colors reflected in the pond. Cohen was too busy sniffing to pose for a picture.
Gorgeous scenery! Of course it was prettier in person.

We happened upon a great blue heron, who had just finished its breakfast before I snapped this picture. We could get really close, and he didn't seem to mind.

More sniffing to do!

Great profile shot - Cohen was looking at a small pond full of ducks! What a cutie!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Over this past week, I have returned to piano teaching, half of my normal schedule. It felt so good to be back teaching - and I really enjoyed seeing my students. I missed them! Of course, I was not actually in a saddle - I was sitting on a cushy pillow!

I will be adding the remainder of my students this week, and starting to work on Christmas music this week or the following week. That is always fun for the students, being able to play songs that they know. And I know, from hearing from parents, how much they love hearing their children playing familiar Christmas songs on the piano!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Perm

This story is funny, but it's more than that. Years ago, before we were married - it was the summer of 1976, to be accurate - I decided that I would like a body perm. I used to get them in high school, when I had the long blond hair that was so popular at the time. My hair is stick straight (note - I saw a friend recently, who remarked that she liked how I had styled my hair with flat irons, when in fact I had used mousse, hair spray, blew it dry with a round brush to add height and fullness, and backcombed believe me, my hair is STRAIGHT.). To give my hair body, I used to get body perms from my best friend's mom, in her kitchen. It seemed to simple, so I thought, I'll give myself a perm. How hard could it be?

So, to help with the process, especially since my hair was so long, I asked Scott to help with the rods in the back. We got all set up, in the kitchen of my place, and set to it. After ONE HOUR, Scott had two rods (!) in, and they were both wiggly and croocked, and after several botched attempts at the third rod, he threw it across the room, and said "I quit!" Thus endeth "The time I gave myself a perm." I think I ended up going to my future sister-in-law, who wrapped the perm for me. Thanks Marlys!

The rest of the story is - how many boyfriends would even agree to try such a thing? My wonderful boy Scott, that's who. The wonderful boy who has agreed to lots of my crazy ideas through the years, and who loves me still and all. Thank YOU, Scott, for all you have done for me, and years and years of unconditional love. You're the best.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comfort food!

Last night, Emily came out to make us dinner, and brought Gen and her dog, Remy. It was a lovely family evening, with lots of fun with the doggies (Cohen was already here), and lots of fun conversation and laughs. Emily whipped up a fantastic dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes (homemade with skins), herbed asparagus, and warm fresh whole wheat bread. And - she is my daughter, and knows that no dinner is complete without dessert - homemade peach cobbler for dessert! It was delicious!

I was wiped out by the end of the day - it was the first day I didn't have a nap! But it was totally worth it. Thanks, Emily, for the dinner, and to Gen for coming to visit me! It was great!

(p.s. I forgot to take pictures, but this one pretty much captures it!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What is family?

I love this picture. It shows my grandma, Myrtle Grife Johnson (left) and her friend, Luella Hendricks. They are young women, probably before they were married, just posing for a picture together - much the same as my daughters do with with friends. And often, these pictures were made up as postcards, so people could share the picture along with a message - sort of like "early facebook", don't you think?
Anyway - I have had lots of time to think lately, as I am recovering from my surgery, about just what IS family. Of course, for me, my family - and my life - is Scott, Emily, and Hannah, first and foremost. We Hudsons do not have any blood family any closer than 400 miles away, and we have been that far for over 30 years. Thankfully, though, we have assembled quite a large group of wonderful, close friends and neighbors, who I think of as family. These angels have sat with my at the hospital, cared for me (nurses and techs), brought me flowers, gifts, cards, meals, and many well wishes, prayed for me, and cared for me at home (mostly this is Scott, but Emily and Hannah have helped out as well). So - I am terribly blessed, and most of all - family is LOVE. Which I already knew, but it never hurts to remind ourself of that from time to time. So - remember to thank those in your family, and tell them you love them. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Daughterly Love

Here they are, my lovely daughters. They ARE just as lovely as they appear, too - sweet, kind, considerate, and thoughtful. They are also, it seems, rascally!

I am now on Facebook (I am soooo hip!), so I get messages when someone "tags" me in a picture. And, my daughter, Emily (left, above), tagged me in the picture below. She captioned the photo thusly: "This is where my parents will grow old."

It is extra funny, because the name of the camper is "crescendo", a musical term, and we are all musical (especially me, I am a piano teacher). Plus, the real humor here is, I often tease my daughters that someday, they will be living in their house, and Scott and I will be living in a trailer in the backyard. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life is Good

What an understatement! As you may know, I am recovering from surgery, which ain't easy - but it is a hundred times easier because of my husband, Scott. I knew, when I married him, that he was kind and thoughtful and loving. But, I had no idea how he would be in a crisis - and all I can say it, I picked a good one. Right now, he is outside, getting me the newspaper, after already fixing my breakfast and doing the dishes, and walking me around the house, and, before all of that, emptying my Foley catheter (true love indeed). All of that before 7 a.m., before he took a shower or had his own breakfast. Romantic love is wonderful, to be sure, but it encompasses more than candlelight dinners and walks on the beach (does anybody actually do that?). You need to pick somebody you will stand by you in the good times or the bad - and I picked the best person for me. Thanks honey!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Minnesota Trip

Hannah and I got to take a really fun trip to Minnesota this past August. This is a great shot, which tells a little story about Minneapolis. In the foreground are rental bicycles, and in the background is the new Guthrie Theatre (where we attended "A Streetcar Named Desire"), and also some old flour mills in the distance. I love Minneapolis!
This is the front of the Lerouxs house. They have lovely gardens and window boxes, shown here overflowing with light pink double impatiens. On the left are some gorgeous white hydrangeas, I think they are called snow cone or something like that. The Lerouxs are a couple we have known for many years, such a great couple and very dear friends.

This is Michele Leroux and me, somehow this is the only picture we took while on our visit there! We always leave there smiling, and with lots of good memories. Thanks Michele and Philippe!

The H Word - After

Well, it has been 4 days since my hysterectomy surgery, and I feel pretty good. I went home yesterday, which is good, but I feel pretty wiped out today. Maybe partially due to the move home, or the surgery itself, or the drugs. The hospital experience was entirely positive, everyone was so nice and helpful, and the facility was beautiful and squeaky clean. Most of all, I clearly have the best, most patient, and beautifulest husband in the universe. Scott is so helpful and supportive. Plus, both daughters have visited me and helped me and held me up with their love. I know I will survive this experience, it will just take a good amount of time. They told me to allow 4-6 weeks, and I'm beginning to believe them!

The drive home yesterday was just lovely - flowers still in bloom, sun through the trees, and the occasional tree that has turned brilliant crimson.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just for fun

Hope you have a lovely day! I will return after my hospital visit. Please visit often, I promise to give updates!

Quilt in Process - Step 1

The actual first step is not pictured here, and it took a few months! 1, think of an idea. 2, shop for fabrics - in stores, and in my stash. 3, work out the details of the actual design. 4, procrastinate while working on other projects, waiting for the muse (see blog title) to hit me. 5, THEN, start cutting strips. This shows about half of the fabrics chosen for my project. I like scrap quilts, can you tell?

My finished quilt project will have very long (the length of the quilt) strips made up of crosswise short pieces. I have decided to piece the short pieces into little units of 2, 3, or 4 pieces, and then arrange them on my design wall into a pleasing arrangement. By doing this, I can chain piece! (see below)

Then, you cut the units apart...

...and press them flat, pressing the seam to one side. This is done many at a time.

This is the completed center of my quilt. I pressed the long seams, between the rows of pinks, open rather than to one side. Gave a much flatter appearance. I am pressing toward the pink, as I add on the white borders. Step One is complete!

My Grandma's Car

We spotted this beauty a few weeks ago, at a Friday night car show in our neighborhood. It is a DeSoto, I don't know the year, but I would guess late 50s/early 60s. And, it's just like one that my Grandma Johnson had - except hers was "midnight blue", sort of a deep blue-purple color. I remember that if you rubbed up against the car, some color might rub off on you! It is just an elegant car, with all of the great chrome on the front, and of course the finish on this car is polished to a mirror glow. I hope I drive a car this cool when I'm a grandma!

The background gives a bit of a glimpse into our nice little downtown area - a variety of shops and businesses, people walking about, walking their dogs, enjoying the evening. You can see the water tower in the background. We are lucky to live in a very nice town!

Studio - After and Before

Ok, so I am still learning adding photos to blogger - they don't always end up in my preferred order. This is the AFTER picture. I got these nifty new shelves just for my fabric. Everything is now orderly and not falling over!
This is also the AFTER picture. I have a nice batik curtain to keep out some of the dust and light. Cute photos of Hannah on top.

This before photo really shows why I needed an upgrade - my attempts at dividing the shelves worked for a while, but everything was about to tumble! Now, this taller shelving unit (which is super sturdy) is now used for books, and boxes of supplies.

Before shot. The AFTER is so much better!

The H Word

I have been avoiding talking about "this subject" for a while. One, it is not pleasant, and two, maybe then I wouldn't have to think about it. But no more time to but it off! I am having surgery tomorrow, perhaps the most common surgery for women of a certain age. Yes, that's it - a hysterectomy. It is elective, no cancer or bad stuff, it just becaue apparent that it needed to be done. And right away. So - tomorrow is the day, I like my doctor, I'm going to an excellent hospital, and all will be well. Mostly due to the folks you see below. I have a wonderful family, who will be sustaining me with their love and care. I have heard from old and new friends, some of whom are bringing in meals! I am truly blessed. And I just heard from a very special friend, who sent me the most beautiful and positive message of all. I know I will be ok, and while I will be off work for 4-6 weeks (!), I plan to keep blogging as much as I can.

My beautiful family: Mark (Hannah's boyfriend), me, Hannah (daughter), Scott (hubby), Emily (daughter), John (my brother), and Collin (my niece). Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time flies!

This is my younger daughter, Hannah, about 1 and 1/2. Isn't she a cutie? This is over 18 years ago! Hannah just turned 20 this month.
And here is Hannah today - still a cutie, but all grown up - happy and strong and confident. She is so talented, she is a singer, a junior, majoring in music education. I'm pretty proud of her, can you tell? So - does that mean that I am 20 years older, too?

Kristine's a Star!

Last Saturday night, we saw "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at the Metroplis Theater in Arlington Heights. Starring in the role of Olive was our friend, Kristine Burdi. She was outstanding! It is a really fun show, with lots of great songs, and some audience participation, too. I did not know what to expect, as I had never seen the show before. It was really fun, and funny, and we loved it! The production was very professional, and I would highly recommend it to one and all. Go Kristine!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Most Scathingly Brilliant Idea!

Do you know this movie? This is a scene from "The Trouble with Angels", and while it's maybe not a "great" movie, I love it, and have for many years. It stars Haley Mills (center, above) as a teen who is sent away to an all-girls boarding school. Along the way, she has lots of crazy adventures with her friend, Rachel (left), and it seems they are always getting into trouble with the Reverend Mother (played beautifully by Rosalind Russell, above right). There are deeper issues covered than most teen adventure movies, and I highly recommend it. Haley's character, Mary Clancey, has lots of "scathingly brilliant ideas"!

So - now for my idea: I have needed storage for my cd's at home for years. I don't want to throw out the jewel cases (even though I hate them), because I often refer to the cover and inside information, especially for the piano recordings. So, then it's either a case that stands on the floor (no space) or hangs on the wall (ditto), or some boxes on a shelf. Ding! I like the idea of open boxes, but most of those available specifically for the job are either ugly or cheap-looking or expensive! I could use decorative baskets, which I would love, but they are not the right size. Then, it hit me! How about using cardboard boxes, and cover them with some nice fabric? Brilliant! But, where to find the boxes? Wait - my workplace has a warehouse FULL of cardboard boxes! I went out back, and my friendly warehouse manager set me up with 4 perfectly-sized boxes, ready to store my cds. Brilliant! Now - just to find the perfect fabric!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Change in plans...

No sooner had I posted yesterday's blog entry, about our puppy-to-be...when I got an email from my breeder. It seems that the mommy dog wasn't pregnant after all - they did an ultrasound on her, and no puppies. Sort of sad! But - the good news is, another pair of their yellow labs had mated, and those puppies are expected only 7-10 days later than the other litter. That means, we should have a new puppy just about in time to pose for a REALLY cute picture under the Christmas tree, complete with a big, red bow under its chin, don't you think? Anyway, here are some puppies from previous litters of the current pairing. Irresistible!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why another lab? Part 3

As if there needs to be another reason - here is a very adorable one! This is a picture of a sweet puppy from one of our breeder's previous litters - from the same parents that have been bred for "our" litter, which will produce our puppy in the next month! Get ready to say "oh!" And like Mary Schmich, a Chicago Tribune columnist has said, "There are people who love dogs, and then there are people with no souls." That may be a little bit extreme - but who could resist this adorable bundle of yellow fluff?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good music is timeless!

When people ask me "what is my favorite kind of music", that is a very difficult question! There used to be a great radio program called "Adventures in Good Music", I think, and it was hosted by a lovely gentleman named Karl Haas. He once said "I could never be a critic, because I love everything!". I also love many kinds of music. There is a wonderful, old clip of Peter, Paul, and Mary, singing one of Paul (Stookey)'s songs, "Early in the Morning". Just go to youtube, and type in Peter, Paul, and Mary, Early in the Morning (I tried to give you the link, but blogger wouldn't let me - sorry!). Enjoy!

Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, Walk for our Lives

   We had a pretty day in early March for Hannah and Danny's wedding shower, held at our local park district's golf course clu...