Thursday, April 24, 2008

Could I be related to the Pope?

I'd like to think so.

As I watched the masses, speeches and prayers last week, I had this comfortable feeling that I really know this guy. And then I realized where that was coming from -- he looks so much like my grandma. See?

This is my gram, circa 1973; she would have been about 70 years old.
Her German family (Breitfields and Schoenfelds) came from the same area of Bavaria as the Ratzingers. She was a strong little woman who knew the way things should be, and wasn't afraid to tell you so. When she talked, we listened, and where she led, we followed. And even when she scolded you, you knew she loved you anyway. See the similarity?

(Of course, she was confirmed in the Lutheran church; her mother, Oma, lived a block from St. Ambrose, but would cross the street so as not to walk by the Catholic church on her way to town. When my dad was little, Oma would tell him stories of how the nuns would swoop up little boys in their robes and take them home to eat for supper. Dad said Oma probably rolled over in her grave when I married Clay.)

But you know what? Grandma would have loved those red shoes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gumdrops and Pinwheels

In May's Southern Living, there is a piece about making cake decorations from gumdrops. This was something I thought my grandma had invented, (along with sculpting little animals out of Brach's Royal caramels), and I was anxious to give it a try. This cake was for Macey, a 5th grader at St. A who will be baptized tomorrow at First Baptist.
I couldn't find any pink gumdrops, but the article suggested kneading colors together, so the pink roses are 5 white: 1red. The gumdrops get very sticky, and I had to use a lot of sugar to roll them out thin enough to cut -- but it gave the flowers a nice sparkle.
Even though I am a Midwestern girl, I much prefer Southern Living over Midwest Living; ML is downright stoic compared to the frou-frou homes, gardens, recipes and articles in SL. And you hardly ever see a recipe in SL in which the main ingredient is beer.

Here is the Pinwheel Baby Blanket, still on the needles, and looking a little bit like a squid: All finished, with a crocheted edge. Edging up close:
Pinwheel up close:
This is for Emanuel, newborn son of our friends Sophia and Ernesto -- their 3rd boy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Welcome Pope Benedict!

Although I doubt he reads this blog, I just wanted to say hi.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Know Famous People

Well, famous around here, anyway.

Sister came down to the kitchen last Tuesday and told Joannie and Linda that a reporter from the Tribune was coming to interview them.
In an hour.
Which, she said, gave them a little time to "do something with their hair."
They really didn't want to do it, but in the spirit of good Catholic school girls who grew up minding the nuns, they did it, and you can read the interview here.
Because they are such good sports, I made them cake.
And because they hate having their picture taken, here is their picture.
Because I am mean like that.

Peace. And piece of cake.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Blocks and Sacraments

One of the readings this weekend was the 23rd Psalm, my mom's favorite, and one of the blocks in our crazy quilt. Between her bouts with cancer, she and dad drove out to Iowa to see the Little Brown Church.

When she started this quilt, she bought several books on crazy quilting, and they all mentioned that traditionally, a spider web is always included, so I added one to ours:

Just a couple of others:
That basket is woven with silk ribbon, and the buttons are from mom's never-ending button collection.

And, my new blog banner is one of my favorites, as my mom was big on blessing counting and songs sung by Bing Crosby.
As a certified "First Communion Groupie", (an honor conferred by my friend, Paula, the queen of the groupies) I got my fill this weekend -- I played for the mass Saturday at St. Ambrose and Sunday at Providence, and then attended the Spanish Mass that afternoon. (I'm doing better with my Spanish, but it's amazing how much more sense Father's homily makes when you've already heard it twice in English.) Here are the St. A girls before Mass:
(I took a picture of the boys, as well, but they were being goofy. What's new?)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Little Warmth

I've been quilting today. Then, on the knittyboard, I read a question about quilts. So I thought today was as good as any to post some quilt pictures (I had meant to start doing that in February, when Sew, Mama, Sew! was celebrating quilt month. I know I've said this before, but that is such a great site -- sharing all kinds of wonderful ideas.)
So here are two I made for an charity auction last summer:

This is a raggedy quilt, made with flannels for the top, and minkee (the softest fabric I have ever touched) for the bottom. I ended up making another one of these the next week for a friend who had gotten to the auction too late to bid. These quilts are so easy -- the only difficult thing is all the little snips in the seams that allow for the fraying.
This one is made up of cotton squares in a cowboy theme, with a navy minkee border, then a cotton bandanna-print border, and backed with a really cute flannel with horseshoes and the like embroidered in black. I machine quilted this one, and turned up the backing for the edge.
Since I started knitting, I just don't quilt as much, and when I do, it's easy projects like these. The one I am working on today, however, is much more intense. Story to follow . . .

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Spring, Less Cat

The star magnolia outside our garage looks more beautiful this year than ever. But when the wind blows tonight, as predicted, I'm sure there will be even more petals all over the grass.

Up close

Sasha has been renamed Toulouse, more for this guy in the middle:
than for this guy in the hat:
Our Toulouse would never sit still long enough for a portrait; I can barely get a photo of him. But here is a fairly awful depiction of his shaved body.

He looks like a little lion, with his fluffy head, paws and tail. But I can see the hair is beginning to grow back nicely. Maybe then the other boys in the neighborhood will stop making fun of him -- he has a scratch on his nose from a tussle with PK. If PK hangs around for more than a few hours, I may cart him off for the stray cat special, too.