Friday, April 29, 2011
What a contrast! In Great Britain opulence, joy, pomp, pageantry, royalty, celebrities, and a fairy tale wedding. In Alabama and other southern states were lives lost, homes destroyed, people in shelters, and a wide path of loss and destruction. Via television both of these scenarios visited my home and millions of others, and I was once again struck by the fragility of life, the strength of love, the kindness of people, and the resilience that hope engenders in people. Beginnings and endings, the cycles of life, and history making events all joining together to become part of the tapestry of our lifetime. God Bless Everyone!
Posted by Marian at 5:51:00 PM
Monday, April 25, 2011
Several years ago I joined a quilt guild, and some of the women referred to their "UFO's" which prompted me to ask what the term meant to them. Seems like lots of people start projects and don't finish them so they started referring to them as "UFO's" or unfinished objects. I immediately adopted the term for my very own use because there was a time in my life when I could have been the Queen of UFO's. When my son and daughter were 5 and 3 years old respectively, we moved to Dallas where my husband's job involved lots of travel. I decided it would be a good time to get back to knitting so off I went to the local yarn store. I purchased skeins of lovely pink and white yarns, needles and a knitting pattern book. My plan was to make an oh-so-cute pink and white striped, sleeveless, turtleneck shell for my daughter. I mean, how hard could it be since the front and the back were identical and there were few seams to sew? I started it, got bored, stopped, re-started numerous times and finally finished both pieces. Did I ever sew the pieces together? Not for quite awhile, and by the time I got around to doing it my daughter had outgrown the size shell I had knitted .......so I unraveled the front and the back, rewound the yarn, and planned to start a new shell in a larger size. I am embarrassed to tell you that this happened two more times. For some reason I could not make myself finish that shell, and she would continue to grow. The yarn finally was looking worse for wear having been knitted and unraveled several times. Fast forward to the time when I decided to start my online business selling handmade clothing and accessories for babies and toddlers. Understandably, my daughter was doubtful that I would actually finish the garments I planned to knit for the shop. She has been pleasantly surprised that I indeed do knit and finish garments on a timely basis. Recently I dug out that old pattern book and looked at the pictures of the shell I never finished for her. I have learned a lot more about knitting in the years since I first attempted that shell so maybe, just maybe, I will make a larger version of that pink and white shell to give her as a surprise on some special occasion. Good idea?
Posted by Marian at 3:18:00 PM
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Easter has always caused me to have Spring Fever. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago and depending on the date when Easter came, it could be lovely outside or we could have snowstorms. Memories of two particular Easters still make me smile. The first Easter after my son was born, my sister gave him an Easter basket of which the base was a metal drum. Of course, two wooden drum sticks were included along with all of the usual Easter candy, etc. My, how he loved that drum for years to come, and I remember how cute he looked in a little Carters knit suit given to him by my parents. The Easter after my daughter was born we had a blizzard that seemed to come out of nowhere. We spent many Easters at the home of an aunt and uncle of my husband (they were my favorite relatives of his). They never had children of their own and were very dear and very good to their nieces, nephews, great nieces,great nephews and all the spouses. The Easter of the blizzard they served the typical Easter ham, but for dessert she made the most beautiful Schaum Torte filled with fresh strawberries. Even though it was snowing outside, those strawberries and delicious white meringue were a breath of Spring. My daughter looked so sweet in a little "angel top" handmade for her by my mother who was a wonderful seamstress. That day with my children whom I adored then and now, with an aunt and uncle who claimed special places in my heart for always and ever, and that spectacular dessert on a cold, snowy day created memories for me that are just as clear today as if they were created only last month. Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover I hope you make wonderful memories to treasure the rest of your life. HAPPY EASTER!
Posted by Marian at 1:27:00 PM
Monday, April 18, 2011
I read this article this morning in an electronic newsletter to which I subscribe. I thought it might be of interest to the parents, grandparents, babysitters, etc. of toddlers since it has fun ideas which cost little to do with your favorite toddlers. Inexpensive Activities for Toddlers
Posted by Marian at 4:36:00 PM
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Today is Palm Sunday, and it is a gorgeous day here in the desert. I have always said breakfast is my favorite meal, and on glorious Sundays I especially enjoy going out for breakfast or brunch. Since a week from today is Easter Sunday I am trying to decide whether or not to go to brunch with a group of friends after church. There are SO many delicious recipes on line for Easter brunches and dinners that just the thought of hosting a lovely brunch is appealing to me. If you have favorite brunch recipes I would be interested in knowing about them. If you are inclined to share your recipes please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Posted by Marian at 3:22:00 PM
Thursday, April 14, 2011
There is an extremely talented and lovely young woman named Annemarie whose blog is sure to become one of your favorites. She is a gifted writer, she has exquisite taste, and she blogs on a variety of topics which has given her many loyal followers. Home Decor, Fashion, Food.........she writes about all of it and includes terrific photos. After you check out her blog you may also want to see some of the blogs of her followers, many of which are also interesting and creative.
Posted by Marian at 1:55:00 PM
Monday, April 11, 2011
As I work on new merchandise for our website and our ETSY shop, I remember some of my earlier knitting experiences. When I was pregnant with my first child I decided to knit a baby sweater. I knew nothing about guage and tension or what to do if my knitting was too tight or too loose. I never really had any patience with written instructions so just started out with a simple pattern, my only pair of knitting needles, and some lovely baby blue yarn (my husband was certain we were going to have a boy so I did not think of using any color except blue). I was just very excited thinking I was going to create something for my first baby. I was still working in my office job in addition to being a very slow knitter at that time. I worked on the sweater when time permitted, and soon it seemed to take on a life of its own. At one point, my husband asked me, "Just how big is this baby going to be?" I was totally miffed and just kept knitting. Sometime later he asked me, "Is that sweater going to be his first "letter" sweater?" This time I became concerned rather than miffed because indeed the sweater was looking awfully big considering how small newborns are. By that time my mother was sewing little newborn clothes and I was shopping for them. When I compared my knitting with some of the other clothing, it became abundantly clear that my sweater would be something a toddler could wear rather than a newborn baby. Totally discouraged I unraveled the sweater, rolled up all the yarn and gave up on knitting for years to come. I had to acknowledge that measurements, guages, tension, swatches, and written instructions were all going to be important parts of anything I would attempt to knit. Our first baby was a boy, and our second child a girl. I did no knitting until after she was born when I was asked to knit some Barbie Doll clothes for a church Christmas bazaar. They were small items, quick to knit, and turned out to be great sellers. After that I decided to again try knitting for my children...........but that experience is yet another story for another day. I am pleased, however, to tell you that my knitting skills improved tremendously so our customers are very satisfied with their purchases from www.malcolmfortots.com.
Posted by Marian at 1:52:00 PM
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Yesterday I was watching part of the Masters' Golf Tournament on television. I am not a golf fan, but while I was watching it seemed that Tiger Woods was struggling and not showing any of his great ability. I began to think about his career and those of Charlie Sheen, Barry Bonds, Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears and so many other tainted celebrities. They have been blessed with talents, abilities, opportunities, and incredible success.........and sadly many of them throw it all away through their own misbehavior. I don't understand it.......perhaps because I am an ordinary person with no special athletic, musical, acting, writing or other talents. I like to think that if I had been blessed with any one of those talents that I would be so grateful for the opportunities and financial security resulting from such gifts that I would share the largesse with others less fortunate, but I would NEVER throw away all those blessings by behaving badly........drugs, alcohol, infidelity, deceit.......those are all things that are bad choices. Those things don't just happen to a person but rather they are choices made and paths taken through poor judgement, vanity, fear, or stupidity. I see so many people struggling today to take care of their families, to hold on to their homes, etc. and to think that an actor who has been paid two million dollars an episode thinks he should be given a raise when he behaves like a buffoon just rankles me. The young men and women who are putting their lives on the line daily to protect our country and others from harm do it for so little money that their families waiting at home have to struggle to survive. My opinion is that we have our priorities so screwed up in this country that we no longer value decency, valor, honor, hard work, and courage as much as we seem to idolize bad boys and girls who are role models only for failure, loss, and self-inflicted pain and suffering. What is that about?
Posted by Marian at 2:54:00 PM
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
For me, learning new things is always a combination of excitement, apprehension, frustration, and finally great relief when things turn out as they should. I am learning how to use an embroidery machine which is one of the most fascinating inventions I have ever seen. The brain that conceived that such a thing is possible amazes me. Embroidery machines are expensive to say the least. I am very lucky to have an incredibly talented (and generous) neighbor who sews, quilts, paints, designs, beads, and who decided she wanted to have an embroidery machine. She bought the top of the line Bernina because she has loved her Bernina sewing machine and serger, and she also knew she would use it more than enough to justify the purchase price. She does not, however, enjoy her computer very much so she asked me to go to the training classes with her so that I could help her with the computer parts of the sessions. We enjoyed the classes because the teacher was top notch. Now my friend invites me over to her home on a weekly basis to use that magic machine. I am getting more confident about using the machine, and I must admit I am happy with the results I have achieved. I still have a long way to go before I can consider myself proficient, but I am certainly having lots of fun embellishing some new products for www.malcolmfortots.com and www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com
Posted by Marian at 7:46:00 PM
Friday, April 1, 2011
This week I have become overwhelmingly sick and tired of what is happening to the world in which I grew up and the one into which I brought my children. My disgust has been building for some time,and this week I reached my saturation point. I am furious that we have been so apathetic and so weak that we have allowed the loss of our moral compass! We have lowered our standards for everything: behavior, living, education, health care, taxpaid government leaders on every level, our reputation in the world, entertainment, and last but not least for how we treat our fellow human beings. I am sick to death of all of it, and I know I am not alone. The old movie Network had a character who stuck his head out a window and yelled, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!". He encouraged his audience to do the same, and soon people were doing just that. Well, I think it is time that all across America people throw open their windows and yell. There are SO many problems that need resolution, and we seem to have put people in office who do not want to do their jobs, who do not tell us the truth, and who are unable or unwilling to resolve the problems that make life miserable for so many Americans and ruin the future for your children and mine. Instead we are being led by a cadre of buffoons, egoists, self-absorbed gluttons who are more concerned for their own power trips, their self-appointed perks, and their re-elections to the jobs they have done so poorly. They continue to show total disdain and disregard for the will of the American people, the messages we have given them, and they are ignoring as well the judicial decisions handed down as if they are superior to the Supreme Court! Meanwhile, millions of Americans are suffering in ways that should NEVER happen in what used to be a glorious country. I believe that your babies and children of all ages are the hope of the future, but what chance are they going to have to be healthy, happy, productive, educated, employed adults if we do not band together and resolve the multitude of problems we face daily in this country and throughout the world. I am not saying that I have answers for all the problems. I am saying that it is imperative that collectively we decide that solutions are the number one priority for the citizens of the USA. Solutions are more important than on-going partisanship arguments and power grabs, graft, corruption, self-serving politicians, and all the non-stop baloney we are fed on a daily basis by politicians and the biased media talking heads who think we are more interested in what they think than in giving us "just the facts" so that we can form our own opinions and conclusions. We don't even know these media folks or most politicians so why should we allow them to tell us what is and is not in our best interest? Do we not know? Are we just mushrooms to be kept in the dark and fed a steady diet of manure? I for one am ready to throw open my windows and yell, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Do you want to join me?
Posted by Marian at 2:06:00 PM