life:: eulogy

IMG_2924We’re going to take a moment here to mourn the loss of my Annie Annie.  She passed away of a heart attack too young, after recently retiring from the corporate life to pursue her dream and open a cake decorating business.  She was my fairy godmother and yes, I realize I didn’t call her my Aunt Ann because although she had 26 nieces and nephews, she was MY Annie Annie.  (I often stressed that to my cousins back in the day.)

On the day I was born, she gave me my most cherished childhood toy, my Buffy Puppy.  Recently, I had worked at re-creating Buffy for a pattern to share here.  I wanted other kids to be able to love a stuffed toy that much too.  That is how much it meant to me. Although it’s not done, I now feel the need to work harder at perfecting the pattern.

  That is one overly loved stuffed toy ~ poor thing has seen better days.  But hey, Buffy is 47 years old…cut her some slack.

When I was a small child, Ann moved from the country with my Grandma Amy to the big city.  She lived with my family for a time in the 70’s before getting her own apartment.  She was a godmother, a big sister, and a spare mom all in one while she lived with us.  At the time, I was still the only child so it was awesome to have another playmate to annoy at all possible moments of the day.  She was a captive audience.  And what an audience she was.  She was so present in every moment.  When I spent time with my Annie Annie she made me feel heard, cared for, and that time spent being silly was never wasted.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and never let me forget that I announced as a child I should be addressed as ‘Lisa Victoria From the First’. She would also play loud music on her record player in the basement and we would have dance parties to ‘Benny and the Jets’, or ‘My Baby Does the Hanky Panky’ which would invariably end in both of us collapsing in giggles.  She added so much to my love of silly.

In the 80’s, I had the first real and true scare in my life.  Ann had cancer.  Ann survived with courage and grace.  She lived very far away by then, but came home often and I took every opportunity I could to spend time with her finding our silly.

Fast forward to my 30’s and I got the next real and true scare of my life.  I had cancer. My Annie Annie was there for me.  There were so many questions and she was patient and helped me through all of the answers.  She coached me through surviving with courage and as much grace as I could muster.  She was a calm voice, a cheerleader, a fairy godmother.

When my father got diagnosed with cancer next, I relied on all of her advice to help coach him through too.  I tried to pass it all on, pay it all forward.  I think I helped, and I owe it to my Annie Annie for the strength be his calm voice and his cheerleader.

This spring, she finally was able to retire at 68 from her day job.  She was starting her next career.  I was so excited for her.  She had recently called me to tell me that she had finally picked a name for her new endeavor.  She was calling it Annie Annie’s Cakes.  That was so sweet, it bought tears to my eyes.

She was so special.

She will be missed.

My life has been made better by having her in it.

life:: sometimes you just can’t go home

Sometimes revisiting your old stomping grounds can just make you sad.

Recently, Frankie had to go home to Ohio for a funeral and like every time we go home, he stopped by to see our old house.  We lived there for a very long time and it was our safe place, our hideaway in the woods, our place to find peace from the chaos of the world.  We lived in Shawnee State Forest in the foothills to the Appalachian Mountains and it was a haven for too many reasons for me to blather on and on about.  Suffice it to say, it was where we healed from very traumatic events in both our lives and became the best of friends and learned to move forward.  ‘Nuff said there.

Our beautiful 20 acres was bought by an entrepeneur who saw the potential we always had, but he had the money to make it happen.  He turned our corner of the world into a beautiful wedding garden and reception hall and threw outrageously fabulous weddings.  FYI, we got married in our front yard 10 years previous to that, and the photo ops were stunning.

Our old farmhouse always stayed as the caretaker’s home behind the scenes.

Fast forward 10 more years later, and the entrepeneur lost his millions in the Great Recession a few years ago and now has all but abandoned the business.  Our old property is on the market again for many 100’s of thousands of dollars more than we sold it for back in 2002.  Although we would love to buy it back, we are love rich and cash poor.

So back to his stop there last month…

He took gobs of photos, but they are so incredibly sad.  The old place is no longer as we remember it…overgrown…falling apart…totally neglected.

I went through all the photos over and over and decided to only keep the not-so-sad…the ones that can still remind me of home.

old house 2014

~from this angle it’s not quite so bad, and my Granma Amy’s snowball bush is in the foreground and flourishing~

our creek 2014

~our mountain runoff creek is still wild and sun-dappled and just as I recall~

loveseat 2014

~and my ‘loveseat’ rock that Frankie hoisted up & out of the creek to sit and contemplate life, while extremely overgrown, is still there on the creek bank~

 Edited to add::

After writing this post, I needed to see some shots of my old life in Ohio.  This is how I remember our creek and our loveseat.

creek 4

loveseat 2loveseat 3
Think happy thoughts and make today ridiculously amazing!

photography:: even more spring from my point of view

My Mom’s magnolia tree, my Granma Amy’s legacy snowball bushes, and a wee little hummingbird nest.

I love spring.


magnolia 2

snowball 5

snowball bush 4

hummingbird nest

Have a ridiculously amazing day!

crochet:: vintage elf slippers

Gifted from my Mom recently.

vintage elf slippers

They were made by my Granma Amy somewhere around 40 years ago, and only worn a few times.

Yay 🙂

crochet:: meet granma amy

Lots of people stop by to visit me because of this pattern.  And awhile back I told you a whole lot about her here.

My Mom gave me this wedding portrait over the weekend, and I thought I would introduce to you the woman who fostered my love of crochet.

wedding photo

If someone taught you or encouraged you or introduced you to a wonderful hobby and they are still around; tell them thank you.  I would if I could.  She has no idea and I would love to tell her.

Thanks for stopping by.

crochet:: a present from granma

Last week, I was pulling dishes out of the buffet in the dining room.  I was getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner, and  I wanted to make sure I had just the right table settings for the meal.  I see no reason not to use the good china and cloth napkins.  Why wait for a rainy day?

I opened an antique covered dish and found a gift from my Granma Amy.  She has been gone for several years now, and obviously I don’t use the old covered dish often.  But it was a nice surprise and a sweet reminder of her.

bookmark cross

I think it will work nicely as bookmark for my new Tunisian pattern book…

crochet:: doll bed/purse

Hello Y’all!

I hope today finds you happy and healthy and making progress towards your holiday making & baking.

This is a little girl’s dolly bed to carry like a purse.  Kinda cute, huh???

Please excuse the poor quality cell-phone photos!  It had to work in a pinch, as I did not have my REAL camera with me.

As it opens up ~ it magically turns into this…

a snuggly little dolly bed!

I made this pattern about 20 years ago, and it is always a winner with the little girls in my life.

If you would like me to write it up so that you can share it with your little girls, just let me know.

My son turns 14 years old tomorrow, so my weekend will be full of teen-aged boys and pizza and cake and video game marathons and they want to try paintball!  It won’t leave much space for girly stuff, so I had to fit this one in before things got out of control! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend!


crochet:: Granma Amy

My Granma Amy taught me to crochet and has been gone for almost 5 years now.  She was born in 1907 to immigrants from Czechoslovakia and grew up on a farm.  She married the son of Austrian immigrants, who was also a farmer.  My mother is one of their youngest children.

As a family, they endured the hardships of farming and my mom decided she wanted to leave farming behind and moved to the city in the 1960’s where she met my father who had a similar background.  So I was a city kid for the first 23 years of my life.

As a child, they wanted to show me more of their lives as young people and I would spend about a week every summer with my grandparents on the farm.

I loved those times in my childhood.  I felt that I was where I SHOULD be during those visits.   It just seemed RIGHT.  My most vivid memories are of following Granma Amy while she fed the chickens, or took lunch to my Granpa in the corn fields, or listening to the radio and watching her hands move as she crocheted afghans for her daughters.

She had the most magical craft closet on the planet.  The woman could make ANYTHING!  She was resourceful.  She had plaster and paint and brushes and canvas and hand-dyed turkey feathers and fabric and yarn and jars full of buttons and shiny things and OH so much to fill a rainy day with color and fun.

So to keep grand daughters busy when they energetically came to visit, she would put me to work at a project so that she could go about the business of cooking and doing her chores without a child in tow.  By the time I was 10 she had successfully taught me to crochet.  I loved sitting with her, finally able to crochet my own projects with her borrowed yarn and hook from her magical craft closet.

As you can tell, my Granma was very special to me.  She connected with my creative side, she connected me more to my own mother, and she helped to make me who I am.  I would sleep in my mother’s childhood bed and imagine I was her while climbing hay bales or walking by the pond.

I have been a country girl for nearly 20 years now, and I often draw on my memories of time spent with her to create my life and bring those things that comfort me so to my family.

Granma Amy loved to sew quilts, and I have 2 of them that have she gave to me as a child.  Before she died, she had been working on one that my aunt found to be nearly complete.  That aunt finished the backing and a matching pillow recently and asked her sisters if they would like a final gift from their mother.  My mom spoke up immediately and said that she knew who would cherish it the most.

It has been hiding in my mom’s craft closet for several weeks now, tied up with a bow.  My parents’ birthday gift to me brought me to tears yesterday because it was also a final gift from my Granma Amy.

Isn’t it sweet and lovely?

And it seems to have immediately whispered “comfort” to Cali the wayward cat…