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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Parade of My Own Schnibble Quilts

Hi Everyone,

If you are a regular reader of my blog, maybe you noticed that I haven't posted any entries for Schnibbles quilt parades lately?  There are two reasons:  the first was that I missed doing/posting the last two entries and the second reason is that we took the summer off.  Sinta at the Pink Pincushion announced earlier last week that it will resume again on September First and the new round will be called:  Another Year of Schnibbles and a Little Bit More!  The last "round" was called Vintage Schnibbles.  In preparation for the next, Sinta invited us to post our own parade from Vintage Schnibbles, so here are mine!

The first Vintage Schnibbles parade was on May 1, 2013 and featured the pattern Hat Trick.

It is made from the leftovers of my very first Schnibble, and the fabric line is Urban Cowgirl.  That is still one of my most favorite lines of fabric that isn't RWB.



The June 1 parade featured Gentle Art.  The spool blocks were lots of fun to make and looked great in any fabric.  I chose the line, Fellowship, by Jan Patek.  This quilt has since gone to California to live at my sister's house.




On July 1, the chosen pattern was Dulcinea.  At that time, I was into my "39 Days of Patriotism" where I was only working on RWB (red, white, and blue) projects.   For my version, I used bits and pieces of my patriotic fabric stash.


The parade for August 1 was made of quilts using the pattern Lincoln.  The pattern's name of a President inspired me to use a piece of fabric that I had had for several years that featured reproductions of the old collectible cigar silks with the faces of the Presidents.  I made a larger version of the Lincoln pattern in order to use each President that was present on the fabric.

Here is a close up of one of the Presidents--Mr. Lincoln himself,
and below is the entire quilt.




September First was a parade of Canasta Schnibbles.  I made my version from French General scraps and yardage and as a fun alteration, I scalloped the border.  I think it is one of my top five favorite Schnibbles!  I renamed it Colonial Canasta after getting this awesome picture of it with members of a fife and drum corps.


During September, for the parade on October first, the pattern to make was Mercerie. For this one, I went back to using charm packs and yardage from one line:  Seascapes by Deb Strain.  With such an ocean feel to it, I took it to a beach for it's photo.


The November First parade was comprised of quilts made from the pattern Clover.  For a quilt made entirely of 2.5" squares, it should have been easy, but when a quilt is named after a seam ripper, it must be for a reason!  You can read all about my drama here.   I think this was the first parade where my quilt was entered but hadn't been quilted yet.  If you remember, when I decided to participate in this group, I made myself a promise that each entry would be entirely finished--quilted, and bound.  I didn't want unfinished tops to pile up.  Anyway, I did get Clover finished a few days later and it now lives in my parent's living room.


November was now upon us and I was getting into the holiday mood, so when the next pattern was announced, Morning Joe, I decided to make it using Primitive Gatherings "Snowman Gatherings" fabric (with a solid red background) and to also make some changes to make it more snowman-like.  Another difference between this Schnibble and others is that usually I just meander the quilting, but for this project, it felt right to do something more "custom."  I love when these moods come upon me as it gives me a chance to experiment and "grow" with my machine quilting.

Here is my version of  "Morning Joe, Sam, Bill, and Ed."


A closeup showing detail of the machine quilting and embellishments.
I was completely thrilled when Lisa Bongean (Queen Primitive Gatherings herself) made a comment on my blog post!!!!

Since the holidays were now in full swing, there was a break until January 1 when the next Schnibble was announced for a parade on February 1.  

That pattern was Jersey Girl.  Again I changed things up a bit.  I had been wanting/longing for, a "leaf block" Schnibble and so far, Carrie had not delivered!  However, with the addition of some stems, the Jersey Girl block made a perfect leaf.  

I used bits of Harvest Moon by Kansas Troubles.  For the background, I pulled out all sorts of bits and scraps of fabric from my stash that seemed to be the right shade--I loved the scrappiness of it.  I also added a great "piped" binding.




The March parade was "Quilter's Choice" meaning we could make any pattern we wished.  Since my spool block quilt, Gentle Art, went to my sister's house, I decided to make Short Story, which also makes a slightly different spool block.  For it, I used Minick and Simpson's Midwinter Reds with a blue solid background.


"Hook" was the pattern for the April parade.  I was crushing on Lori Holt's Bakesale line so that was the charms I used.  I struggled more to find a good background fabric.  I tried a few options before settling on a solid red.  This pattern was a little bit more technically challenging, too, since it was made of angled pieces.  It went together fine for me, although sewing the rows together required pressing things open, and there was quite a bit of bulk where all the points came together.


The next parade was to feature any pattern by Camille Roskelley at Thimbleblossoms.  By then I was really busy with other things and did not participate.  The final pattern was Carrie Nelson's once more:  X-Rated.
We could either make the version using 5" squares or 10" squares.  I didn't blog about mine, but I did use a layer cake and made a version.  The reason I didn't share is that I made it with Grant Park fabric and it was for the backing of my Blogger Girls BOM quilt.

Here it is.  It did make a great back for the quilt, too!  This pattern was fun and quick to make.

And...  that's it!  We've been "on break" ever since, and I'm really excited for the next phase!  I hope some of you play along.  If you are interested, you can get details here.

I hope all of you here in the US have a great and safe holiday weekend!
JoAnne

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Quilt Show

Hi Everyone,

A few weeks ago down in Indianapolis was a big event called Gen Con.  Until last year, I had never heard of it.  Apparently, the board game industry has become very big and Gen Con is THE convention/show.  It's like the Comicon of board games.  If you don't understand that reference, its to board games what Houston is to us quilters!  I know about it because my daughter, who lives in the Indy area, has a boyfriend that is big into the board game world.  This year both of them worked at a booth promoting and selling the hottest game of the whole show--Heroes Wanted--as her boyfriend did some of the graphic art for the game.

During one of the days that she was there, I got an excited text from her that she found me the perfect thing!  Last Friday she drove up to spend the day and brought it.

It a game designed by Judy Martin and her husband, Steve Bennett.  They seem to be avid board game players, too.  (And yes, I should have written this post on Monday as I see that Bonnie Hunter had a post about it yesterday!)

I loved the blurb on the back:  "Award-winning quilt makers devote considerable effort to collecting fabrics for their stashes.  They shop for specific colors, often ranging into neighboring hues to achieve a nuanced, scrappy look.  If they cannot find the colors they want, they sometimes hand dye their own fabric.  They use their time and skills converting fabric into blocks, which they combine to make quilts.  Often, quilters work on more than one quilt at a time to keep things interesting.   They may embellish their quilts with intricate quilting stitches.  The best quilters make good color choices, combine blocks skillfully, use their time will, and win generous purchase awards when they enter their quilts in shows."  Doesn't that describe us quilters perfectly?  And that is what you do to play the game.

The game parts and pieces are really cute.


You have a shield that features a sewing maching.  It is referred to as your "sewing room."  See the piles of blocks in between us?  Those are the blocks.  You "buy" blocks by collecting fabric stash cards.  The fabric cards are either one color, such as yellow, or may be two colors, like red and purple.  There are a few "dye goods" cards, which are essentially the "wild cards" which can be used as any color.  Play consists of either gathering stash cards, or else using them to buy "make" blocks.  It is hard to see in the picture above, but there is a number value on each block.  That value number decides how much fabric is required to "make" the block.  It may "cost" three cards, two cards, or one card.  The card must be of the same color as the block.  So the purple blocks there will cost the appropriate amount of purple fabric cards and so forth.

We all know, though, that the clock is always ticking--especially before a quilt show!  For each block that you get, you also take a timer card.  Once all of the timers cards have run out, it is time for the quilt show!

In my sewing room, I have been assembling my quilts.  A quilt can be of two types:  all the same color and different blocks (a sampler quilt), or all the same block but different colors (a scrap quilt.)  I have two scrap quilts.  The quilts can be all sizes:  a table runner is three blocks.  A wall quilt is 4, arranged 2x2.  Lap quilts are made of a 2x3 block arrrangement, queen quilts are 3x3, and 3x4 is a king quilt.  Quilters do not have to enter all quilts they have started in the quilt show.  The game consists of 3 quilt shows--so there will be other chances to enter the quilt later, perhaps when it is larger.

Before entering, there are 3 round tokens with 1,2, or 3 on them.  This is the quilting that you can add to your quilt.  Quilts are "judged" based on the total points of the blocks and then the additional points of the quilting.  It is good to "make" blocks with high points, or assemble the largest quilt--that means the most points.

  Here you can see that my wall hanging has 3, 5, 5, and 5 point blocks.  (Five is the highest)  I added the most intricate quilting, the 3 token, so my quilt totaled up to 21 points.  It won first place!  In this case, $13,000.  There are 3 prizes chosen randomly for each show.  Cash is paid out to the winners.  Losing quilts are given $1000 and then they are removed from play.  You play the second and third round and at the end, the quilter with the most money wins!  My daughter and I only had time to play one round--to get the hang of it.  I won.  Then I got my husband to play a whole game with me.  I won.  I would really like to play with more than 2 people, though (you can have 4 players) as the game would be really different.  With 2 players, I knew that if my opponent didn't take a card, I would get it if I wanted, so playing with others would be more challenging.  Also, with just 2 players, it was beneficial to enter at least 2 quilts in each show as one of us would win 2 prizes, and the other would win 1.  That would change with additional players.

If you like this game, you can find it here.  I think it is really fun and just plain cute!  The only problem that I can see is that it will take more time away from actually quilting!

Oh, and just in case you are interested, here is my daughter at the Heroes Wanted booth at Gen Con.
She's the one in the pink skirt!  She was costumed as a butterfly super hero.  Also, Heroes Wanted was so successful that they have already sold out of the first production of the game!

Have a great day!
JoAnne

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inspiration: Found

Hi Everyone,

Last time I stopped by, I was sharing how I was having trouble getting back into quilting and what I could do for inspiration.  I asked all of you for advice, too.  I'm back to share with you some of the things that I did.

I had mentioned blogs.  On Friday, there was  this post from the wonderfully insightful Carrie Nelson.  It is a post answering some selected questions that were asked of many designers/bloggers, covering topics such as "What are you working on?"  "How does your work differ from others?" "Why do you create what you do?"  I found reading Carrie's answers to these ideas to be very thought-provoking.  It is a great post and really had me examining my quilting mentality.  (Perhaps that will be a blog post for a later date once I do some more thinking.)

Next I said that I needed to get out some of the fabrics and kits that I brought with me and look at them, and touch them, and start warming up to possibilities.   Right now, the idea of breaking up a large kit, and sorting out all of the pieces in this small space, seems too intimidating, so for now I chose one small kit.

Shopping for fabric is great motivation.  One day last week, I got an email from Michele at Island Life Quilts telling me how the Fat Quarter Shop was having a flash sale on fabric that looked like my type.  I immediately checked it out and put in an order.  It arrived on Saturday.


Linda left a comment sharing how she likes to look through magazines and books.  That was something that I forgot to mention in my post. Last week I purchased the newest issue of AP&Q.  It has a great feature article on Lynn Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles.

I mentioned that if I got desperate, I could visit a local quilt shop, and several of you agreed.  While I wasn't desperate, I did want to check out "the scene."  As it happens, Fort Wayne doesn't seem to have much in the way of LQS's, although there are some good shops in the area.  Shipshewana is about an hour away, although I haven't yet gone there since moving here.  However, while checking out the listings for the Row by Row Experience (Yes, I've been collecting some license plates,) I discovered that the little town of Leo, IN has a quilt shop!  This is amazing because the house we are buying is actually in Leo--just a few miles outside of Fort Wayne.  On Saturday, my husband and I wanted to drive by the house (we jokingly refer to it as "stalking the house") as we hadn't seen it all week, so then we found the quilt shop (my husband was checking out the barber shop just a block down the street.)

This is in the shop:  Needless to say, I felt very welcome!

The shop is called A Quilt of Many Colors and right away I met the proprietor, Sandi.  Her husband is retired Air Force(!) but they have lived in Leo for nearly 30 years.  The shop is small, but has a really nice selection including the batting I like to use as well as some Moda, etc.  Most of the fabric is for the traditional quilter--I think most of the local quilters quilt in that style and if you are a small shop, it is important to serve your customers.  I'm mostly a traditional quilter, so I wasn't disappointed.  While we were visiting, a group of Row by Row Experience shop-hoppers came into the shop.  They were from Iowa and came for the day to Indiana to visit some of the participating shops.

Most importantly,  Sandi told me that every Tuesday is "Sit and Sew" at the shop.  Wanting to meet other quilters, I gathered up my hand applique and went back yesterday.  There were four other ladies, and it was fun visiting with them and "talking quilting."  I'll be going back next week.

When it gets right down to it, though, you can have all the inspiration/motivation in the world, but as Jackie at Adirondack Urban commented:  just sitting at the sewing machine will get you going.  Once you get started, you won't have any problem!  Other than applique at Sit and Sew, I actually did get out my small kit--its one of Temecula Quilt Co's monthly minis--and I got started!  It's a slow start, but so far I have 6 of the 12 small nine-patches done and the others are all laid out.


Thanks to all of you for your advice and support!  It really means the world to me.

Have a great day!
JoAnne


Friday, August 15, 2014

Trying to Get Back to Quilting

Hi Everyone,

It is Friday, so we have been living here two weeks now, and I still haven't done any sewing!  I'm beginning to get disappointed in myself, but in all fairness, I have been busy doing other things.  Also, I had a few impediments that I will share with you.

I set up my sewing area last week.  I will sew on a "church table" along the wall of our "dining area" here in our one bedroom apartment.  As I unpacked things, I discovered that the only cutting mat I brought was this one:


It is a 12" x 18" mat! What on earth was I thinking when I packed this?  It would work if I was making a miniature quilt, but I have large quilts to trim so that I can bind them.  I'm guessing that what I was thinking was that this mat fit into the bag I was packing.  It won't do though, so I went to the store and bought this:


An 18" x 24" mat.  Never mind that I have 3-4 more of that size in my stuff-where ever  it is right now in storage.  It just about killed me to have to buy this!  Ah well, maybe I can donate it somewhere later when I'm settled.  (Yes, the picture is crooked, sorry about that.)


With the mat issue settled, my next hurdle was that my ironing board was in my sister's garage.  I kept forgetting to get it when we were over there, but finally I remembered to get it last weekend.  Now I'm all set up and have no excuses except that I've been busy doing other things this week.

Wednesday was my niece's first day of school.  With my sister out of town, she spent the night before with us and I took her.  Right now we live just 2 blocks or so from her school.  When she got dressed, her uniform skirt was crumpled, so I set up my ironing board (for the first time,) unearthed my iron, got out the Best Press, and ironed her skirt.  It felt good!  I really need to get going on a project!


First Day of Third Grade (with a starched skirt.)

I have the makings of several easy projects with me.  I have the patterns and fabrics for both a full-sized Swoon quilt and the mini version.  I also have my Hampton Ridge quilt kit with me that I'm excited to make as well as a few other kits.  Kits seemed like a great thing to bring since the pattern and needed fabric is all complete.  As previously mentioned, I have several large quilts that came back from the long-armer and the binding all ready to go on them.

I don't usually have any problems getting motivated to quilt, so this feels a bit strange.  I think it is just the upheaval and distractions of house hunting and the dreaming of gorgeous paint colors that is keeping those creative juices fulfilled for the moment.  However, the ironing helped get me motivated.  So does reading other quilt blogs.  I need to get out my fabric and start touching it.  If that doesn't help, there may be no other choice for me but to go to some quilt shops!  What tips do you have to share about how you get motivated to quilt?  I would love to hear them!

Have a great day!
JoAnne

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

House Hunting

Hi Everyone,

First of all, it was great hearing from several of you yesterday.  I'm so glad that people are still interested in my blog since I've been so absent this summer.  I love hearing from you.  I haven't been reading many blogs lately, either, so I'm looking forward to going back and catching up.  I feel like I'm missing so much!

Can you believe that the summer is almost over?  School has been starting up all across the country.  I feel like I've missed most of it, but then, I'm not a big summer fan, so that's okay, too.  Usually I just hole up in the air conditioning and quilt.  I've barely stitched anything in over a month--I really need to change that!

The house hunting has gone great.  I find looking at homes to be pretty fun.  We looked at the serious contenders with our realtor, but then looked at others during the Open Houses, just to see what is out there.  Remember how yesterday I said that we fell in love with that first house we saw?  Once we got here and began looking at other internet favorites, I thought I would fall in love with all of them, too.  You see, for most of the past 25 years, we were offered a house by the Army.  We had two choices:  take it or leave it.  We took it and made the best of it.  Consequently, I am now trained to "like" most anything that we look at.  We did have some experience:  when we rented in Virginia, we looked at 4 houses and chose from those.  But anyway, I have liked many of the houses.  Don't get me wrong, there were some that we crossed off the list.  One, that I expected to really love, seemed all wrong.  There were two others, though, that I really liked, other than that very first one.  One of those had the most gorgeous kitchen as well as a pretty view outside--the only problem was that the garage was too small for my husband.  The second was great.  It had been owned only by one couple.  They are selling to move into a retirement home, I think.  It was so well cared for.  If anything needed replacing, the did with the best possible choice.  The only problem with it was that it was set up to be a villa.  I've never heard of that before, what it means here is that the owner pays $200 a quarter for all of the yard work to be done.  Many people may love this concept, but my husband really enjoys doing yard work.  He could still do it, but we would have to pay the fee anyway.  There is no way to change it, either, so that was a huge mark against that one.

Even though we had other possible houses, I still couldn't forget about that first one.  We had gotten a call when we were back in Virginia cleaning out the house.  There was an expected offer on it, and we were notified in case we wanted to make one of our own.  We discussed it.  At that time, it was still one of the only ones we had looked at.  We wanted to look at more, so we decided not to be pressured.  If it sold, that would be okay.  There would be other houses.  Every time I looked at the real estate websites, I expected to see that it was gone or "pending," but it wasn't.  So last Thursday, we went back to look at it--this time with our realtor.

Have you ever fallen in love with something that you saw briefly and then the distance from it increases your desire for it?  And then once you see it again, it doesn't measure up anymore?  Well, that wasn't the case with this house.  Our second time visiting, I knew it was THE ONE.  What's more is that our realtor, who is awesome at looking at all of the workings:  furnace, sump pump, radon detectors, etc., could find no problems with it, either.  We decided that we would meet again on Saturday to put in an offer.

We got back home that night and were bouncing around, all excited.  Then the realtor called and said that she had contacted the listing agent and there was another interested party.  Her advice was to meet on Friday to do the offer.  We met her at 7 pm on Friday to write up the paperwork.  We left about an hour later and she was sending it to the listing agent.  We just got home when the phone rang.  I was thinking that they accepted it already!!  No, that wasn't the case.  There was another offer in and so we needed to decide what was the best offer we could make.  Our realtor was with another client and she would call us back in an hour.  We discussed it, let her know, and then went back to her office to do the new bid.  We didn't get home until after 10 pm.

You might think that there was no way that we would be able to sleep, for the anxiety of not knowing how it would work out.  However, I was surprisingly at peace.  "If it is meant to be, it will be" was my motto.  My excitement had kept me up the previous night.  I slept fine.  On Saturday, my husband I stayed together most of the morning, in case the call came in.  Finally, around 10:30, he ran out to get the car washed.  I had already been to the car wash with him and our other vehicle, so I stayed home.  We really didn't expect to hear anything, though, until the afternoon.  And then my cell phone rang.

We got the house!  We will close at the end of September.  I'm still really excited.

Have a great day,
JoAnne

PS.  Now that the hunt is over, I hope to get back to sewing soon!
 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Greetings From The "Twilight Zone."

Hi Everyone,

I know it has been a while since I last posted.  In that time, we got moved and are now "temporarily" settled.  Why the Twilight Zone?  Because last time I wrote I lived in a big house in Virginia and my husband was an Army soldier.  Now we live in a one-bedroom apartment in a town where we always visited, but never lived in, and my husband goes to work wearing regular clothes!  It's all good--it is just different and is taking a bit to get used to.

When I last left you, the packers were about to arrive.  It was a Monday morning, three weeks ago.  The packing and moving went great.  When they first arrived, there were two guys.  I thought to myself that two guys could not possibly get everything packed in the allotted three days.  Their names were Scott and Eugene, and I'm happy to report that they not only got it all packed, but they got it packed in only 2 days!  Consequently, Wednesday was mover-free!  It was such a nice, unexpected break.


On Thursday, they arrived to do the loading.  The only problem was that it was pouring.  They had brought a smallish truck and then a flatbed with 3-4 crates.  The issue is that the crates will leak in the rain, so they set about organizing everything, and then when the weather cleared, they loaded.  Luckily they had about 5-6 guys with them, so it was going pretty quickly.  Scott, from the days of packing, was along, but not Eugene.  Another of the guys, Andrew, actually was at our house when we moved it!  He recognized it by all the flags!

The weather cleared and held until just about 3 when they had finished loading the small truck.  We had some stuff left in the garage and in the house, but the big majority was loaded.  The skies opened again and it just poured.  There was nothing to do but come back on Friday--a day we hadn't planned on having movers.


So yes, we literally had a second truck, but it wasn't JUST for my stash!!!

On Friday, they had promised that it would only take a few hours, but when they arrived, it was with only 2 guys:  Scott again and Andrew.  (Yes, I'm mentioning names for a reason.)  It ended up taking them until 3 in the afternoon to get it all loaded.  Meanwhile, earlier in the morning, I had seen that one of the houses for sale that we really liked in Fort Wayne was having an Open House on Sunday.  I mentioned to my husband, jokingly, that we could load his truck with some stuff and drive there on Saturday, look at the house on Sunday, and then drive home on Monday.  That would leave Tuesday and most of Wednesday to load the U haul with our few pieces of furniture, kitchen stuff, clothes, sewing stuff (!!) and the other "necessities" we would need for our small apartment; and then clean the house.  We were meeting the landlord on Wednesday night to turn in the keys.

I was stressing a bit that we had too much stuff to fit in the truck, U Haul trailer, and my van.  My sister lives in Fort Wayne and said we could put things in her garage, so the "joking" idea became reality!  Yes, we drove 712 miles on Saturday, saw the house and really liked it:  I fell in love, to be truthful, but you can't fall in love with the first house!, and then drove home another 712 miles on Monday.

The bonus was that I finally got to meet this little guy! He is my nephew, Matthew and he just turned 6 months old!

  We loaded and cleaned on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I will add here that when we ordered the U Haul online, there was an option to hire some help.  It was 2 guys for 2 hours and the cost was a little over a hundred dollars.  We decided to hire them as I knew I couldn't help my husband get the sofa out the front door.  It turned out to be the smartest idea we had!  They did a great job--even arriving with shrink wrap to wrap the blankets (in our case, my pile of quilts that I was taking anyway) around the furniture.  They loaded everything up as well.  It turned out that we had plenty of extra room, so we probably would have been okay without the spontaneous weekend trip, but I don't regret it at all.



That Wednesday night, we staying in the hotel on Fort Eustis, and Thursday we drove the final 712 mile journey to Fort Wayne.  This time, I was driving my van, following my husband and the U Haul trailer.  Our first pre-arranged stop was the Rest Area off I-64 between Richmond and Charlottesville.   I was waiting for my husband to come back out and when he did, he was talking to someone.  It was Scott, the mover who had been with us all the previous week!  He and Andrew, the mover that helped and had moved us in when we arrived, were both in a moving truck going somewhere else.  Isn't that weird that we should meet them at a brief stop along the highway?


This was my view of the U Haul all day.  I took this picture as it crossed out of Virginia and into West Virginia--it was sad.  Our time in Virginia was really good.  I met so many close quilting friends that I am going to miss!


 I had been a bit worried about that journey, too, but again, it was just fine.  We arrived in Fort Wayne just in time for a late supper.  The next morning, Friday, we didn't have to set an alarm and hurry up and do something!  It was the first morning in over a week, so we slept in.  All the way to 7:30!  That afternoon, we signed for the apartment and carried everything in.  My Brother-in-law came over after work and he and my husband got the sofa and mattresses in, so we were all set.  We settled in on Saturday, and on Sunday we went to more Open Houses.  Monday, my husband started his new job.  So far, so good!  We met our realtor and looked at 8 houses with her last week. We got internet and cable on Tuesday.  I have my sewing area set up, but haven't used it yet.  I kept forgetting that my ironing board was in my sister's garage.  Also, I've been spending most of my time obsessively looking at houses on the internet.

I should be back tomorrow with more updates.  Today, my niece, Alex--the ice skater--is back home here in Fort Wayne from spending time with my parents.  My sister has to travel this week for her work and so Mom and I are going to get Alex organized for school--which starts on Wednesday.  We are going to help her clean her room and go through all of her clothes to see what still fits and what doesn't.  I'm looking forward to it after being a bit lonely last week.

Have a great day!
JoAnne