Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Friday, October 14, 2011


Spent last Sunday at a horse show - the first in decades. Brooke entered with her horse, Justine. It was the first show for her since she was a teenager, and she was as nervous as any first-timer. But, she did great! Brought home two ribbons!

She wasn't expecting that, this show was just for experience and to ease her way back into showing. Her friend was there with her 6 year old daughter, Tiffany, who, in addition to Lead line classes, performed for the first ever time in the barrel race - walk-trot type. She did a great job! Six years old and already on the barrels. It was so exciting to watch everyone having such a great time.

Lisa is a trainer, and some of her students showed up for their first shows also. One of the ladies celebrated her birthday with 4 ribbons. What a great day she had. They really knew how to do it up proud, too. They had a pavillion tent, and brought a feast. In the old days, no one ever thought of "tail-gating" as a matter of fact, I had never even heard that term until I arrived in Virginia.

I was really Impressed with Lisa's students. They were near my age. I figured if they, and they were all beginners, could do it, maybe, just maybe, I'll find myself on board a horse once again.

From age 14 - 30, I was always around horses. I think that at one time when my kids were small, we had 7 horses. I remember this horse/pony we had - named Half-Pint. He was smart, fast and gentle. Brooke took him to a play-day one day. She entered in a "goat tail tying" class. We watched with interest the kids who rode before her. Some were successful, others not. The action was that upon "GO!" the rider would take off as fast as 4 hooves could take them, across the arena to where a goat was staked on about a 12-15' rope. The object was to jump off the horse, run to the goat, and tie a ribbon on it's tail. Of course, the goat's object was to defeat the attempt. Some of the mounts took one look at the goat, and took off for the nether regions. Others riders got close to the goat, but took all their allotted time chasing the goat, trying to catch it.

Then, Drum roll, please, it was Brooke and Half-Pint's turn. At the word GO!, HP dug in his heels and took off like the very devil himself was on his tail. Then approaching the goat, as soon as Brooke took the weight off her right stirrup, HP literally sat on his hindquarters in a stop on a dime movement. Brooke was out of the saddle, and after the goat, who was standing peacefully in front of HP, having it's nose licked - Brooke was at the tail, tied the ribbon, held up her hands, showing she was finished, in show stopping time! A Blue Ribbon for Brooke and Half-Pint. It was the funniest thing to watch!!!! Some where I have a photo, but it was taken across the arena with a camera with no telephoto - but hey, if I ever find it again, I'll scan it in and see if I can enlarge it enough to see it clearly.

All three of my girls were active in 4-H and horse shows. We all have very fond memories of those times.

While at the show, Sunday, someone mentioned a horse that was for sale. They talked about how beautiful he was, and how big. So, of course, you can't ever own just one horse (They are like pistachios), after the show Brooke and I went to look at him. Oh, my. Brooke got on and rode him around the pasture, with just a halter and lead rope. He responded to everything she asked him to do. I watched him trot - my what a smooth ride that must be. We learned that he was previously owned by "Medieval Times" - He has to have been extremely well trained! His current owner says he knows the horse (Jake) probably knows so much more, but he doesn't know how to bring it out, cause he just rides around the trails in a near by park. Someone who saw Jake in a parade once says he has a high step that just won't quit.

Well, let me say this about that. If Brooke gets him, I WILL ride him. Lisa has already indicated that when Sugar foals (sometime around March) She intends to get me riding. Well, folks, my first choice would be to be on the road by the first of February - sorry Lisa.

Brooke lives in Southern Maryland, and I am amazed at the beauty of this area - small towns and farm country - and horse country, too. Many parks with riding trails. And, it's about 30 miles from downtown DC! Lots of country roads to wander down.

I just learned that plans are finally underfoot for our family reunion in Montana next summer - I am really looking forward to being there!

Until Next time,
Bear Hugs
She believed she could do it, so she did!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm still kicking!!!!

I'm staying at Brooke's in Maryland. She has no internet service so my connections
are limited to trips town - to plug in at the library. Having trouble wieath my computer, just erased the rest of this post. I'll write my next post up at home, and upload it the next time I'm in town.

Bear Hugs, Boots

Sunday, July 24, 2011


My, how time flies!

I have received a lot of feedback about my living situation while in NY.
Some of my friends were really upset I was living in such cold conditions. Here I thought I was enjoying an adventure! But, I realize these friends are from more current decades of my life. The Cousins, and a childhood friend or two will know what I am talking about.

I was born in Seattle, and lived there until I was nearly 5 years old. My parent’s’ families – or at least a major portion of them, lived in Montana. My Mom’s parents had a chicken farm in Great Falls MT - They wanted to retire, so my Mom, missing her family, and Dad decided to move back to MT and buy the chicken farm. Now, in Seattle, we lived in a nice sized craftsman style home on a large corner lot with trees and flower gardens and a beautiful expanse of lawn.

Like I said, I was nearly five, and my two brothers were approaching their teens. Gramma and Grampa’s house was three rooms – kitchen, living room and bedroom – each room about 12 x 12 with an entry hall between kitchen and living room. No lawn, no trees, no flowers. Just gumbo and weeds. Out back was a the chicken house – at that time, it was probably about 40 – 50 ft long and the outhouse was near the end of it. Ah, yeah, the well was about 20 ft from the house – no running water either. I clearly remember the day we first had running water in the house I was the “look-out” to let Dad know when it came through. It was so exciting. Prior to that – there was a cauldron (or so it seemed to my 5 year old eyes) that sat on the heating stove in the kitchen – kept warm for washing up.This was all situated on 5 acres.

I can just envision my grandparents laughing all the way to San Diego!!!

Eventually, Dad built a room on the back of the chicken house to store feed, and kindly, he built in a toilet and shower, and eventually a washer resided there, too. (Notice, no dryer)

Later on, he added a room for serve as a bedroom for my brothers.

Now, in Montana, the winters are extreme. Even more so when the wind blows, and it blows all the time. 20 below is not uncommon in the winter! And, if you have followed my description – you’ll realize it was a 50 yard dash to the bath room. I was the youngest, so I had special consideration. Every Saturday night, a large galvanized tub was brought into the kitchen and filled with warm water for my bath. How special!!!

And the shower! It was built into the corner of the feed room (remember – a 50 yard dash from the house) It was about 4’ by 4’ with concrete walls up about 4 ft, the rest just 2 x 4 framing. My brothers told the best story about the shower

The shower head dripped. And during the winter, ice started forming on the walls of the shower, and by late winter, the ice built up til you could hardly turn around in the shower.

One year, the boys got bikes for Christmas – and memberships at the “Y”. Man were they excited – snow, sleet, rain or hail – didn’t matter, about 3 times a week, they peddled the 5 or so miles into the “Y” to spend the evening. My parents thought this was great. The boys were playing basket ball, working out and making friends. What a great gift, my parents thought.

Not so – years later, my brothers admitted that each time they rode into the “Y”, they spent hours under the hot shower!

Later, when Dad put sheet rock up in the house (It had had something made out of paper mash that peeled away, we learned that the Insulation in the house was single sheets of newspaper!!!

Get the picture? This past winter in the basement apartment in NY – I was reliving nostalgia. I felt I was on an adventure. While it was cold in the living room, the space heater kept the kitchen cozy and that was where my sewing machine was set up, and after all, I had an indoor toilet and a hot shower. I was living in luxury compared to my child hood days. I mentioned the temperature so often because I was amazed I could function and I enjoyed it after so many years of having to have the heat turned up for Mom. And, if I were to spend my winters anywhere again, I would choose upstate NY - No wind. Cold weather is embracing when the wind chill doesn’t hold it at-20 and below.

With the exception of the couple days the temp fell to –28, I was quite cozy. I only watched TV for 1 hour a week – NCIS, of course and just curled up with a blanket. My bed was always warm thanks to the down comforter.

There you go – another peek into my childhood!

Until next time

Bear Hugs

Luv ‘n Boots

She believed she could do it, so she did!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Here I am, once again, house-sitting at the "Cabin in the Woods" while Holly and Dave are enjoying their new RV on a trip to Colorado.

I have charge of 2 dogs, 3 cats, 4 geese, a dozen chickens and a pond of fish. The dogs like to wake me early - very early in the mornings for their morning constitutional. First I get a very gentle nudge on what ever part of my flesh is uncovered. Then about 10 minutes later, both dogs come into my room, nosing around, and trying to climb onto my bed - that gets me up promptly.

I'm also enjoying a large dining room temporarily turned into sewing room, where I am happily stitching away at various projects. I'm trying to use up as much fabric as I can before I depart westward.

It looks as though I may not get on my way until the first of September.

Yesterday, Janet stopped by in the afternoon to play Canasta - I'm getting better, even though she bested me both games!

I'm slowly reducing my remaining belongings. The biggest concern is all the christmas ornaments and displays made by my Mother. I just can't let them go, yet. I may have an apartment at some point in my future where I could once again enjoy using them. I've gotten rid of so much that I feel it's OK to hold on to these items.

I'm taking a load of old knick-knacks and collectibles to my niece, Nicki who has offered to sell them for me. Once that stuff is dropped off, my remaining belongings will fit in the back of the pickup. At this point, I don't know if that includes the Christmas stuff or not. I got rid of all store bought decorations, and just have Mom's left - these are my personal items. I still have a considerable amount of ornaments Mom made to sell at craft shows - even though I gave away a lot of them last year.

************** CORRECTION! In one of my blogs, I mentioned my cousin's website - but gave the wrong address. The correct site is: digitalmontana.net. Please check it out for some awesome photography! ************************

It's such a quiet morning here - out in the boonies, so to speak. I think I'll go out to the gazebo and read for awhile.

Until next time

Luv 'n Boots
She believed she could do it, and so she did!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Curioser and Curioser

Last week I added a very short post, just to let you all know I was still alive
and kicking. It was the first time ever that I didn't check the post after up-loading it. Well, guess what? The post ended up on a friend's blog!!!

I've never been to that blog, I didn't even know it existed until a phone call from
the friend told me about it.

So, Sibyl, if this ends up on your blog again - let me know. You know where I am!!!

Until next time

Luv "n Boots

She believed she could do it, so she did!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Wee Beastie says he's tired of the cold and it's time to head south. We are packed up, and ready to roll tomorrow morning. Well, if Mother Nature approves, that is. We are expecting snow in the morning, and my first stop is in the mountains of Massachussetts.

I'm looking forward to some of that 70 degree weather in Virginia.

I'm very grateful to Amanda and Angie for giving me the place and opportunity to complete all my sewing projects. If not for them, I would never have been able to complete them.

Remember the 40 sewing projects I wanted to do once the quilts were finished? Well, I completed 60 of them. No, that's not a typo - the list just kept growing.

Never fear, I still have unfinished projects to keep me busy on my travels.

I'm not rushing to get on the road in the morning - I still have some stuff to stuff into Luv. Then I have to drop off books at the library, stop by AAA to see if once and for all I can catch the correct road, and miss the NJ turnpike. A stop at a thrift store - to drop off a box, and gas up and go. Oh, yeah, a stop at BJ's in Saratoga for a couple bags of Almonds on the way.

It's time to detox all the sugar I've been indulging in. It starts tomorrow - Brooke will join me in detoxing for the week I'm there, and Betsy will aid and abet (?) me while I'm staying with her. I have to lose some weight quickly - I refuse to buy any larger clothes (after having disposed of my "big" clothes before I left VA last fall) And all I have that fits are sweat pants and PJ bottoms.

I donated a huge pile of fabric to a quilt guild here in Glens Falls, managed to leave behind some storage totes I no longer needed - but I still need to reduce what I still have. I'll have Betsy stand over me and challenge me to get rid of more.

I had a plan on how to pack the truck. My grandson helped me and he had a different plan - I kept quiet and let him do his thing.

My Mother was an AAA champion packer. I remember way back when - she drove a VW Beetle from California to Montana - With my Sister-in-law, her 4 kids - age 2 years to 14, Plus all their necessary clothing, books, food, etc. In Montana, she picked up my two oldest - ages 12 and 14 at the time, and drove the 600 miles to Seattle, where my SIL, and nieces and nephews debarked, and Mom continued on to California with my two girls to spend the summer in California.

Another fond memory I was reminded of while tying up a roll of batting. Without thinking, I tied a bowline in the end of the twine, pulled it around the bolt, and secured it with a couple half-hitches.

The summer I was 8 years old, my Father had read and article in the Reader's Digest about a family out boating on a river. The motor died and wouldn't re-start. The boat drifted under a bridge where people threw down ropes (the boat was headed to the falls). No one on the boat knew how to tie a secure knot, and the family was lost.

This prompted my Father to teach me how to tie a bowline - a non-slip knot! He gave me a piece of clothesline rope about 2 foot long which I carried with me everywhere that summer. First he taught me the mechanics of the knot - when I mastered that - he had me tie it wearing mittens (using no fingers, just flat hands). Once that became easy, I had to tie it with my eyes shut, and finally I learned to tie it with my hands behind my back. To this day, I can tie a bowline, but not if I look at it.

It's getting late folks - time to hit the sack for an early launch tomorrow.

Until next time,

Bear Hugs

Luv 'n Boots

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Last Sunday, I made a list of everything I had to do during the week - a list for each day, Monday - Friday. Well, we won't do that again!!!

Monday - plan: Brooke's last shirt, Mark's tablecloth and Napkins

Actual: It rained. Hard. and I think it rained more inside than outside. Huge amount of ice on roof of basement addition caused a dam preventing run off of melting snow/ice - so, the water dropped down and escaped along the beam crossing the living room and bedroom - I had to keep emptying pots and pans, the boys came down every few hours to empty the big totes - I eventually had a row of pots and totes all the way across the two rooms.

Then, I had to move stuff around in the bedroom so it wouldn't get wet. While there, I heard an ominous sound - running water IN THE CLOSET!!! In the closet where Angie said there was no worry, (but bear in mind this was not a normal situation) The water was pouring down. The box for my printer was on the top shelf. I pulled the box down, dribbling water all the way to a bucket - and it still had about 3 cups of water in it. I had everything I wouldn't be using down here packed into that closet, so I had to squeeze in there, and pull stuff out - Bedroom was already full, so I had to drag out all the stuff and toss it in the kitchen.

Turning around, I picked up a bolt of fleece from the corner in the bedroom - It was wet!!!! - checked, and there was water dribbling down the wall. In the end, everything I had in the bedroom had to be hauled out and piled in the kitchen, bedroom or hall. My bed had to be moved to the portion of the room that was not part of the addition.

In any event, I spent the day checking water levels - once again, in the bedroom, another drip - in the corner again, but about 2 foot from the wall. Another pot.
Later, while checking drips, I noticed the ceiling was bulging above the last pot put down. Angie and Amanda were both at work, so I couldn't ask advice - so, I took a bamboo skewer and poked a couple holes where it was dripping - but first, I was smart enough to replace the pot with a big tote - good thing, too - cause about 2 gallons of water poured through those two little holes.

Tuesday: Plan: Move Ravem and kids to new apartment.

Actual - well, I did accomplish that.

Wednesday - plan: finish napkins, starts storage bags

Actual: None of the above. At 3 a.m. baby MacKenzie was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. Raven called Angie in the morning, and she relayed the info to me. I was without wheels cause Angie took Luv to work. The hospital is only 5-6 blocks from home, so I walked - it was treacherous - lots of glare ice on the sidewalks, but I made it safely. I stayed with Kenzie so Raven could go home and get some sleep, and a shower.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Plan: the rest of the sewing projects.

Actual - I spent most of each day at the hospital. Raven, and her two other children were all sick, too, so she really had her hands full. I am so grateful I was here and could help out.

Saturday - No advance plans - I stayed home, except for a short visit to the hospital to bring food to Raven and give her a short break. I started knawing at the piles of stuff in the kitchen without much success. Rain was forecast, and I didn't dare put anything back into the bedroom until I knew how bad the roof would leak.

Sunday: MacKenzie released from hospital. It was wonderful to see her feeling better, breathing easier and actually smiling! Luv and I took them home, and returned to the "Cave" - it finally began to rain, and the rain came down for hours, but NO LEAKS! Thank goodness!!!!

The rain was followed by 18-20 inches of snow - all this in one day. Monday, I started moving stuff out of the kitchen and actually got some sewing done. I've lost a week of sewing, so I'll be hopping this week.

Over the weekend, I also did some baking (Some people do Aroma Therapy, I do Oven therapy). I made some blueberry quick bread for Angie to take to work. They had given her 3 big bags of wild blueberries, tiny, delicious berries to make up for work. I made the bread with a recipe I'd never tried before - 4 loaves, and since it was for work, I couldn't test it. But, when I was upstairs later, not only did Angie forget to take the bread to work, but she let Dan have some, so there was a cut loaf. I tasted it, and it was so-o-o-o- good, I went back down stairs and made up 10 more loaves - and immediately put them in the freezer. Made some bb muffins for the freezer, too. Also, cookies for the family - 12 dozen molasses cookies, and I'm about out of ingredients, so no more baking for now.

In any event, the "week that was" is over, and I've got to move into high gear to get projects done, and stuff organized for the "pack out".

Until next time

Bear Hugs

"Luv" 'n Boots

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Today, I enjoyed an unplanned day off! I was up early to gas up "Luv", returned to the house at about 8:30. Thought lovingly of my nice warm bed, but decided projects must come first.

I chatted on-line with friend Myra for a bit - during which I checked the weather.
No wonder my fingers were so cold! It was only 1 degree outside - 42 in the living room.

The upstairs was empty - Amanda and Brayden were headed up north to spend the night with Amanda's sister, Cody was off on business of his own, Angie was off to her long day of work and won't be back til nearly 9 this evening. Dannny-boy and Danny-girl were there for awhile

I had planned to put together 3 more of Brooke's shirts then take them upstairs where it was warmer to hand stitch the facings, but my fingers just wouldn't warm up. In the end, I took the 3 shirts I already had ready (I'm making Brooke a total of 9 shirts - so far!) my scissors, pins, and a book. First thing I did was curl up on the sofa with a warm blanket - still in my jacket with my hands pushed deep within the pockets and fell asleep. Once I woke up, my hands were warmer, and I started reading the book.

As you know, reading is like popcorn to me, but I finally tore myself away from the book and stitched the shirts while watching NCIS. About this time, Cody returned, hungry as only a teen-aged boy can be. He fired up the deep-fat fryer - his specialty, I think. I thought he was making hot wings, but instead he deep-fried raviolies, mushrooms, and a chocolate chip cookie! Don't knock it until you try it! Now, I've had deep fried Twinkies, and Snickers bars, but the cookie was a first for me. Interesting, don't knock it til you've tried it!.

When I finished the sewing, I returned to my book, and in time, fell asleep once again. I woke up at about 6 p.m., and headed down to see if I could manage the cold - which I could - after all it got into the low 30's today, even though it was 0 last night - it is now 52 in the living room - and toasty in the kitchen.

While making a run to Jo-Ann's yesterday (thread and stuff for Brooke's shirts) I saw a sight that you would only see in the Northern parts of the country in winter. How I wish I had my camera with me.

The temps are inching up during the day, but we still have plenty of snow piled up, and it's quite cold at night. Amanda says the melt-off won't even be done by the time I leave the end of March. Anyway - I saw a teen-age boy, with headphones, jeans and a sleeveless shirt - shovelling snow. What a site!!!

On Friday, Angie and I are headed to Saratoga Springs to the BJ's. I need a big bag or two of fresh almonds. One to munch on - the other - well, Angie has asked me to make up some almond roca for her to take to work for her co-workers. She "says" she won't be eating any of it - well, I do believe it - she has lost 20# since Christmas (I've found some of them, and I'm keeping them safe) And..... during the same time, she has quit smoking. I call that a real accomplishment.

By the way - I have an artist friend living in Massachusetts - I hope to stop by to see her when I head south. I just love her art. So much of it speaks to my Nordic roots. Please check it out at" lindagravesartist.com. I met her when she lived in Chesapeake, and I'm looking forward to visiting her. I hope very much we can connect.

while you are at it, check out my cousin's website at digitalmontanaphotography.com.
He generously photographed our family reunion last summer - but that's not why I want you to check out his site - he does wonderful work - check it out and don't forget to see his ballerina project - it's awesome!

Well, my sewing machine is weeping - I don't know if it's because she had a day off, or she feels neglected. In any event, it's time to put the laptop away, and fire up the sewing machine! Since I slept so much today, I'll be up late tonight - maybe I'll get those other 3 shirts done afterall!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs,

Luv 'N Boots

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Finally, the quilts are finished - actually they were finished last week. What a great feeling! Now on to other projects!

And, the project list is 1/3 done, also. Although at the same time it is getting longer as I thing of other things to do!

What I have left of quilt fabric fits neatly in two large totes. It looks like I'll have virtually a whole truck load of stuff to donate to the local quilt club!

Time is passing so quickly now. I figure I've got about 4 weeks left for sewing, then it will be time to do a final sort/condense of my remaing stuff to make sure everything will fit in Luv.

On the agenda today, Cody and I are going to make another of those luscious cakes - this one will be dark chocolate with white chocolate ganache frosting - or maybe, I'll frost half in white chocolate, and half in dark! Yum. Cody loves to cook - he's like Angie that way.

It feels like spring is on the way, finally - 10 day forecast calls for weather in the mid 30's, even a couple days of 40's. The other day I got up to 3 drips from the beam in the living room. By the time I finished showering, there were 5, I went up to tell Amanda about it - by the time I got back, there were 7 - Within a short time, I had two large totes end to end catching drips, plus 4 pots, and another tote in the bedroom. I was afraid it would continue straight across the two rooms, so I took everything out of the closet just in case.

Amanda spent the next 2-3 hours chipping ice off the roof - in one section alone, she told me it was nearly a foot deep. The temperature dropped dramatically that nite, and the drips finally stopped. She says it is the first time since they lived in this house that there was enough snow to have to shovel the roof, but she's had to do it 2-3 times this year.

It's been fun hibernating here in the apartment. No responsibilities, except to work on my sewing list, while listening to Audio books. I can stay up way late, or sleep way late.

I think maybe I "killed" my cd player yesterday. I had picked up a Coke while running errands (Don't nag, I only do it once in awhile) I guess when I put it in the bag with purse, and other stuff I had to bring in, the top wasn't on securely. I pulled out some stuff and drops of Coke spewed everywhere. My first concern was the shopping bag (Why, I ask myself) It was only after cleaning that up I looked around and spotted big drops of Coke on my CD player - and watched as it blinked out.

If it definitely has died, I guess I'll put a kindle on the very bottom of my list. I never wanted one because I usually listen to books rather than read them, but I learned just the other day they play audio books as well.

I've been trying to buy my favorite book series (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon) so I would have them to play whenever I wanted. I've been checking Amazon regularly for the 2nd book to no avail. Finally one came up - through something called "Audible", what ever that is. So I checked it out. Audible is an Amazon company. You join, pay a small monthly fee - depending on how many books a month you want to get - One book is, I think $7.99 a month) You can download the book of your choice to any number of different players, or to your computer (then you can copy onto CD) AND - drum roll, please! Any other books I want to purchase are 70% off! That makes the book I'm looking for about $7.99. The original price of her books on CD is about $180 - Amazon - I paid $36 for the one I purchased - but if I can get them for around $10, well, why not. And to those of you who might question purchasing the books - this series I listen to time and time again. The story is great, the reader is fantastic. The one book on CD I have - I've listened to twice since I got here at Thanksgiving! I have another of the series on cassette, but I left it in Montana, after listening to it twice on my trip. These are huge books - like 25-30 CD's each book - which is the kind I like.

I like this series so much, that when I discovered the first book at the library - 32 cassettes, I listened to it twice in a week - then took a week off to read the rest of her books. Whenever a new book in the series comes out, I go back and listen to the entire series all over again before doing the new book - There is a new one out, but I haven't listened to it yet - and one more yet to come to finish the series.

Somewhere in the information I was reading a statement was made that the average reader reads 5-6 books a year, the avid reader about 15-17 - I check out as many books as can fit in my tote (about 15-17) every two weeks. I guess I'm beyond avid.

I'm chattering again - I guess I've been "alone" long enough to build it up. The family is right over my head, but I don't see them everyday. In fact, being alone, so much, I find that being with groups of people is exhausting. My last experience was Kyler's birthday party - well, we went to a game place with lots of little kids having the time of their life - then to Pizza Hut. I guess that would exhaust anyone.

I managed to make enough quilts that I could save my favorite - it looks like a rose trellis. I'm going to turn it into a duvet cover for my down comforter. There are 4 more quilts on my "to do" list, but two of them can wait - One, I don't have all the fabric for it, the other, I haven't even begun to collect fabric - that doesnt count the other quilts I have to make - but they are far enough in the future that they are not on the list yet.

Well Goll-y - I've run out of words!!!

Until next time -

Bear Hugs

Luv n' Boots

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Neither snow, nor sleet, nor hail. . . . . .

That about says it in a nut shell! When I started out yesterday - it was about 20.
My last stop was the library - I was there less than an hour, and while I was in the buildng, it started snowing - like a down pour - huge, wet, heavy flakes! In less than 45 minutes, there was so much snow on the truck I had to sweep even the top of it!

I made it home, and later in the evening, I went upstairs to speak to Angie - It was Raining! Not so terribly unusual, but then Amanda said she went up on the roof a short time before to shovel the snow off, and nearly as soon as she got up there, it started hailing - good size hail stones and........wait...... Thunder and lightning too! Now, that is unusual!!!!

It is warmer today - In fact, I over slept and woke up groggy just because it was too, too warm in the room - the living room registered 60 - I think I'll be so used to the cold by the time I leave here, I'll have to sleep in my tent instead of a house.

Today, we are celebrating great-grandwidget Kyler's 2nd birthday - I was supposed to be designated driver to pick up Raven and the kids - but guess what??? I can't get out of the driveway. Yesterday Angie went on about why Luv doesn't have 4-wheel drive! And, went on to say that she was too much of a vehilce for me - what was I thinking - a 3/4 ton AND a diesel???? (It kind of sounded like she was saying I was too old for this lifestyle!!!) Any way, time will tell if she is correct or not!

I didn't realize I hadn't posted for 3 weeks - my how time flies when you are having fun! I am very happy to be able to tell you that I now have 35 quilts finished - only 5 left to go! And, I finally got ahold of Denise who committed to making 10 of them - and she is on track as is Corliss - so when I get back to Virginia we'll have the 60 quilts done and can deliver them!!!! What a relief.

Of the 5 left to do - 2 are completed tops just need backing 1 is cut out and the other two - the fabric is chosen and gathered - so should have all finished by mid week!

While I'm writing this, I'm making Kyler's cake - white cake with semi-sweet ganache frosting! While I'm definitely not a fan of white or yellow cakes with chocolate frosting (it's a visual thing) I have to admit the cake - dense, moist, heavy is delicious and the frosting is perfect - not too sweet - just right. (I made the same cake last week for Angie's birthday) I think I'll try a chocolate cake done the same way next time. The cake starts with a cake mix - I can't believe I'm doing this - I, Boots Benson, who always makes scratch cakes, has discovered the perfect cake which starts with a cake mix. Oh, well - Progress? Modern technology? Age?

I will be so happy to finish the quilts with plenty of time left for all my other sewing projects - means less fabric I need to get rid of when I leave. I have to say, though, 40 quilts will take up quite a bit of room! But they are only going as far as Virginia!

Anyway, cake is out of the oven and cooling - time to see what I can get done in the next couple hours before leaving for the birthday party.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs,

Luv 'n Boots

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm Ba-a-a-ack!!! (I think)

OK – guys! I just spent 2 hours typing up this posting, then chose NOT to save the changes to the file – so-o-o- you are going to get a shorter version.

First off – Angie has requested a correction to the blog about unloading the trailer in New York. She says the “big strong teenagers” didn’t do the work – she and Amanda did it – or nearly all of it anyway. (She just doesn’t get “Poetic License”)

She wants me to hurry up and write more on the blog so she can monitor it and make me post corrections. Ha! I just won’t write about her and her’s.

I want to post photos of Luv and her soft topper cause I’ve been asked about it by more than one person. So, here goes! (And, it worked - took nearly 10 minutes per photo to upload, but here at last are the photos!)

Luv at first sight!

The prep work

The framework – Stephanie and Janet, engineers

Upsy Daisy

Which way is up?

Here we go!

99% finished. All that is left at this point is to snap the last two snaps on each side, and drill two small holes in the cross brace.

For those interested, it is made of the same material as convertible tops - made by Soft Toppers in Boulder CO - cost about $700 for the long bed, including postage, and was here in about 4-5 days. It took roughly 2 hours to install - including the committee discussions about the instructions. When not in use, it can be folded back against the cab - or removed in about 5 minutes and stored, as it is while I'm here in New York.

Luv is weathering NY fairly well - she is plugged in each night to keep her engine warm, but she has a little trouble getting in and out of the parking space. We are on a dead-end street so the road's don't get cleared much. She doesn't have 4-wheel drive or snow tires. (She is a southern gal, after all) One of the first things she did was crash into the side of Amanda's jeep while trying to back out of the spot. It was dark and raining, and I really didn't see the jeep. Luv is a big girl - 3/4 ton - over 20' long, and needs a lot of maneuvering room. Then, after our first real snow, a neighbor had to tow her out of the parking space. She fishtailed into the flower garden, and there is a rather steep, but short incline down to the house. At that time, I had 150# of ice melt in the back of the truck. I added 650# of sand bags after that point. JT suggests I add about 400# more, but I think I'd best just keep off the streets.

Well, here it is - very early in the morning after I started this post. I'm now awake and might as well just keep chattering away.

Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much is that I've been "under the weather" one way or the other nearly since I arrived here. I've also taken very few photos, actually none at Christmas which is very unusual - but I blame it on my lack of energy

The reason I am spending the winter here is to complete my part of a quilts for charity project - my part is 40 twin sized quilts - two friends are doing 10 each for a total of 60. I'm leaving here no later than the end of March, so I'm basically "holed up" in this little apartment until I finish them. The apartment is in the basement under Angie and Amanda's home. It consists of 1 bedroom, a living room, bath, and country sized kitchen! Also an enclosed entry and the laundry room is in the unfinished part of the basement.

I've been "buttoning" it up since I got here. Drapes across each door way, plastic on the windows. - that sort of thing.

The other night, as I headed for bed, I noticed the temperature in the living room was a "cozy" 35 degrees. I'm heating it with one of those oil filled, radiator type space heaters. I have a different type heater in the kitchen - and for the bedroom - well, it has no direct heat - just what flows in from the living room when I open the drapes - which is not a problem cause once I'm under that down comforter, it's like I'm in a nest - warm and comfortable.

There is a defunct wall furnace in the living room. A lot of air was coming through the wall around the exhaust outlet. After the 35 degree night, Amanda came down with some spray foam insulation and sealed around the outlet - Wow! within about 15-20 minutes, the temperature went up about 10 degrees, and right now - it is at 53 degrees and has been all night. I'm looking forward to see how warm it gets today - outside will be in the teens.

We're starting into a severe cold snap - with two days of mid 30's weather right in the middle of it. This will be the coldest it's been since I got here.

I've been asked many times why on earth I'm spending the WINTER in Upstate NY. I grew up in Montana, and miss the snow to a certain extent. The difference between here and Montana, is that here the wind rarely blows. No howling blizzards to contend with! I see the comments of friends and relatives on Facebook and I'm so happy I don't have to contend with that. I think this may be the last winter I spend in the North. From now on I plan to spend it in the south - however, judging from last years weather and this year's winter storms, it doesn't really matter much.

We had a bit of snow at Christmas - but missed the big Nor'easter. Brooke didn't! She popped in for Christmas and had to drive home through that madness. Luckily she has a 4-wheel drive SUV, but at any rate, it was a long, long drive home to Maryland.

I mentioned the large kitchen here. I have set up 5' and 6' tables - one for my machine, and one for layouts, cutting, etc. There is also a 6' country kitchen table here and my ironing board is set up all the time, and there is still plenty of room to move around. In addition to the quilts It looks like I have about 40 other sewing projects for friends and family. I think I need to go through the list again to see what can wait - I'm due to leave in about 60 days. If I buckle down, I should be able to get more than one project done a day.

Of the 40 quilts, I have completed 14, and have about six pinned and ready to finish. I'm starting to take serious shortcuts! For instance, I'm now putting fleece on the back of them - batting and backing all in one. And, I've also purchased some fleece kits to help speed the project along. OK, so I'm not a dyed in the wool traditional quilter.

Right now, I'm taking a week off the quilt making to work on some other stuff. Angie just got hired as a counselor (see, her degree is paying off already!!!) (I must say again that I am extremely proud of her!!!!) at a nursing home where her wardrobe calls for a step up from jeans and pull-overs. So, from my stash of fabric, I have enough to make her 4 blouses and 4 pair black trousers. We've done the mock-up of the blouse so I hope I can get a couple done today.

Brooke and her friend have also ordered some shirts from me, and I finally found the correct pattern yesterday - that will probably be about 10 shirts in all.

Then there is finishing up blankets for Cody and Raven (mostly done, just have to pin together and sew, PJ's for the 3 year old, back-packs for the toddlers, OMG - the list just goes on and on. Granny's work is never done! I'd better brew up a cup of tea and get busy!!!

By the way, I have a new cell phone # - If I haven't given it to you yet - drop me an e-mail. I finally have a real, honest to goodness cell phone plan.

Once I have finished the quilts and as many projects as I can, I will be donating most of the rest of my fabric to a local group who makes quilts for charity. I also realize I must go through everything else I brought with me and get rid of at least half of it. And, I thought I brought only the bare necessities. Wrong!!!

By the way, if anyone has any good ideas on how to use scraps of colored garment weight leather - I'm all ears. I plan to do Farmer's Markets in Montana this summer, and need some ideas! I'm not ready to get rid of the leather until I've explored all options.

Well, that's it for now. I'm not looking for myself just now - I'm just too darn tired!!!

Bear Hugs

Luv 'n Boots