Monday, September 27, 2010

The Greatest

Everyone has that person that influenced you the most while growing up. The person who taught you all about life and living. That go to person for advice and support. The person you knew would go above and beyond to never let you down. For me that person was my Memere.

Memere was quite amazing. She lived a fuller life than most perfectly healthy people despite having contracted polio when she was 4. She was a vibrant, positive and caring woman who persevered over a lifetime of illness to have many accomplishments. She was strong and stubborn. She was a miracle. A mother to five children, grandmother to nine and a great grandmother too. Memere was Mother of the Year. She was a wonderful cook and very crafty.

Growing up I was fortunate enough to have my Memere close by. She either lived with us or very close by. I spent practically every weekend and every summer vacation with her. We would cook and talk. She was a very wise woman and always knew what to say. She was the best mentor and role model I could have asked for. I am the person I am today because of the things she taught me.

Ten years ago today I was faced with having to say goodbye to this brilliant, sweet, loving, charismatic woman. Ten years. It seems like a lifetime. Over the years the pain of missing her has subsided and now when I think about her I smile. That's what she would have wanted.

I am told that I am a lot like her. I love babies and children. I cook and craft. I have to stay busy. I try to stay positive. I'm happiest when surrounded by family and would go to the ends of the earth for them, just like her.

I could go on for days about her. She was that great.

So because of her influence and since she passed her passion for crafting on to me, I felt it was fitting to give her a tribute today. Without her impact I probably wouldn't have learned to sew or started this blog. Everyday she is with me. She is part of how I live my life and part of who I am.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pie, Picnic, Playground

Growing up my Memere was always cooking. She watched Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. She thought she was in heaven when the Food Network was added to the cable channels. She was somewhat of a foodie and taught me most of what I know about cooking. She also taught me how to improvise when things didn't go quite according to plan in the kitchen. That last one came in handy when I made an apple pie last Sunday.

A few things didn't go along with my plans. First, Papa Bear put the butter back in the fridge that I took out to make the crust. I improvised by using shortening instead. Then I peeled all of the apples by hand, when I remembered while peeling the last one that my Mother-in-Law bought me an apple peeler that works great. Finally, the crust wasn't browning like it should (since I used shortening instead of butter) so I turned the broiler on to brown it up a bit. I got sidetracked with dinner and burnt half of it. Despite all these silly things the not burned half was delicious.

This week I started putting together some baby booties. They were supposed to be finished for yesterday so that my Mom-in-Law could sell them at the local Chili Chowder Fest. I got them all ready Thursday night to sew on Friday. Friday was very busy and I didn't have the time to finish them. I'm considering listing them on etsy when I finish them. Well the ones I don't keep for Little Sister Bear that is.

Speaking of Little Sister Bear, she's got to have the most amazing eyes ever and be the messiest eater I've seen yet. She's so independent when it comes to eating and insists on feeding herself. She has quite a personality and is such a happy baby.

Yesterday the Nicey Jane picnic blanket got some more action. We took the kids to a local park, had our picnic and then went to the playground. Big Sister Bear and Nephew Bear had a wicked good time, especially on the slides. Little Sister Bear had her first playground swing experience.

I can't even describe how fulfilled I feel just watching the cubs running, playing and exploring. A feeling of being completely content as they roam freely and happily, knowing their imaginations are bursting with possibility.

I've got a few things in the wings waiting to be done so hopefully I'll be posting a bit more often in the near future. Until then...hakuna matata.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not Our Average Saturday

Saturday was a very happy day on which we made a lot of good memories and had a lot of fun. The day started with Papa Bear making pancakes for the cubs at Nephew Bear's request.

Then we packed up a picnic and headed out to go apple picking. The place we went to is also a winery and has some very good wines. Our friends from Brooklyn came up this weekend so they met us there. They just adore the cubs. They treated us to some wine while picnicking and apple picking.

Our picnic went great. Our cubs aren't hard to please and anything outside is always good with them. We kept it simple, peanut butter sandwiches, animal crackers and juice. The cubs loved it and they love the new picnic blanket too.

I'm very pleased with how this blanket came out. It's reversible and just so pretty. I think it looks lovely spread across the grass.

It was a great learning process and I'm starting to love the imperfections. Those bumps that I pushed past and made work in order to finish the project.

I'm thinking of making another one to go along with this one so the whole family can spread out together. I'll be watching for a sale on Nicey Jane.

Little Sister Bear liked having the blanket all to herself while the bigger cubs ran and played.

We tried to get a family photo but, the cubs were all over the place. I still adore how it came out since it captures the fact that at their ages they simply can't sit still for a half a second.

After our picnic it was time for picking and playing among the branches. Nephew Bear and Big Sister Bear had such a great time frolicking around the orchard.

Nephew Bear was loving that he could just run.

Big Sister Bear strolled.

 The Cortland apples were huge.

We played peek-a-boo under the trees.

Nephew Bear ran some more.

Then we found some rocks.

So we stopped to eat an apple.

Big Sister Bear found a little rock fort.

And the bag of apples.

This orchard and winery definitely gets two thumbs up from this Bear Clan.

The day was so perfect.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Appreciation and Preparation

This past week has flown by me. The cubs have been grumpy due to all of them having colds. Other than three sick little ones the week was busy, but good. I did some sewing and a little appreciation is in order.

Beth over at modernJax had a great giveaway last month. What was she giving away you might wonder? Her scraps of Riley Blake's Rainy Days and Mondays. I entered and won!

Now I have been looking at this line for a while, but had not purchased any due to my self-imposed ban on all things fabric. I received my package on Tuesday and all this drool worthy fabric was inside.

That's not all! Beth very generously included a few boys prints for Nephew Bear. How sweet was that? It's like she knew I was planning a blanket for him. Thanks again Beth!

I finished the fabric bunting for Uncle Marine's big bash this past Saturday. I used various patriotic prints and will also use them to decorate for Memorial Day and Independence Day. I love that they are reusable and reduce our carbon footprint. I enjoyed making the buntings and look forward to making more for the cubs birthday extravaganza next year. Here's the guest of honor, Uncle Marine, in front of one string of bunting.

Today I cut into my Nicey Jane stash. I've been debating what to do with it and kept coming back to the same thing...a picnic blanket. Since we're kicking of our start to fall with an apple picking trip and picnic this weekend there couldn't be a better time to make it. I'm hoping to have it washed, dried and crinkly by Saturday morning.

While I was taking these, Papa Bear and Little Sister Bear decided to pose for a few pictures.

Earlier in the week Big Sister Bear decided she doesn't like to wear certain clothing items the way they were intended to be worn. She also hides her binkies from us so she can have them even when she's not supposed to.

Nephew Bear is having a blast and has settled right in. He's very happy.

I am also planning a fall challenge of sorts for myself. I've mentioned the wedding quilt I've been planning for my cousin. After all my plotting and planning, it will be ten rows of eleven 10 1/2" squares, for a whopping total of one hundred and ten squares. My challenge is 110 blocks of fall. The goal is to make 110 blocks between September 22 and December 21.