Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Sad Time

It has been a very difficult time here. Three days ago on Thursday, March 28, we lost an Illinois State Trooper. She was inspecting a semi truck on the side of the road. Another semi veered into the Trooper's car and the stopped semi. It was a huge fiery crash. Brooke was outside of her car and did not survive. The trucker that veered violated Scott's Law. That's the law in Illinois while it is called the Move Over Law in other states. We are beyond heartbroken.
Trooper Brooke Jones-Story

Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, 34, grew up in our area. She attended the school in our village. Ray was her school counselor. She was an athlete. Ray was one of her high school volleyball coaches. She spent time in our home. She was fun to be around and she was funny. Ray recalls the day she was accepted into a college Criminal Justice program. She was SO EXCITED! Being a law enforcement officer was what she wanted to do. She lived her dream for almost 12 years.

As we mourn with her family, her police family, and her friends, we must also remember how this is affecting others. Her family and colleagues are devastated as are we. One of our sons worked with Brooke. He is an Illinois State Trooper also; he is a command officer. So we have some grandchildren that are in a law enforcement family. We had the grands for a couple of days while their parents dealt with some of the tragedy. These children, like other law enforcement officers' children, have questions - some are voiced while others aren't. They are afraid. They don't want to lose either of their parents. I certainly can see why they may not think this is a good job anymore. Brooke was the 15th Illinois State Trooper to have her squad car hit this year with a Scott's Law violation. She is the second Illinois State Trooper to lose her life due to Scott's Law violation this year. 

Is it really that hard to MOVE OVER for an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of the road? If you can't move over, then SLOW DOWN. What is wrong with people? How many people have to be hit for people to learn? The people being hit are husbands, wives, moms, dads, sons, daughters. They are real people who have dedicated themselves to a life of service. 

I guess I have a lot of questions too. 

And just so you know, less than 48 hours after Brooke was hit, Illinois State Trouper Gerald Ellis, 35, was hit head on while driving in his squad. He stopped a person going the wrong way and saved the lives of the people in the cars behind him. He leaves a wife and two young children. Trooper Ellis was in a neighboring District. 

The last three days have been a long week and I am very sad. This week we have a visitation and a funeral. It will be another sad week.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Blue and Yellow Flannel Baby Quilt is finished

The Blue and Yellow Flannel Baby Quilt is small - just 37" square. I found the squares when I was cleaning out the flannels. They are left from a baby quilt I made a long time ago. The yellow flannel was also in that drawer.

I quilted this using Aurifil #1135 yellow thread, a walking foot, and a wavy stitch. 

The back is a blue cotton with a dot similar but not the same fabric as I used on the Yellow and Blue Baby Quilt recently. 

I guess I pulled a muscle or something Sunday. In any event, I haven't done much since I got home from the retreat. This quilt was done before I went and I just laundered and photographed it. I'm feeling better everyday and I hope to accomplish things today. We are doing some spring cleaning this week and Ray has been doing much more than his share ❤️

Our weather is definitely springlike and there is lots of flooding near us. Sadly, many people have lots of damage, loss, and cleanup. The weather is supposed to get warmer as the week goes on - 50 degrees sounds wonderful. I can't wait to just spend some time outside.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Another Great Spring Retreat

We had great retreat at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center. The best part may be that we did not have any medical emergencies like last year.

One morning, I was the first one in the building where we sew and eat. This is the area where we sew. I sit on the left way in the back by the windows.

This is my table. I enjoyed seeing all of the deer and wild turkeys out of 'my' windows. We didn't see any coyotes but we heard a pack of them howling Saturday evening when we were outside. 

This is our cutting area. In the background, you can see where we eat.

Speaking of eating, this was our snack/treat table. When I took the picture, none of the refrigerated items were out for the day yet. We did not go hungry!

We also had a few drinks on tap - juices, water, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, and coffees. 

I did not get many pictures of projects - I was enjoying the visiting too much! Here is what I have:

And my projects, which I photographed after getting home:
baseball quilt still needs borders

close up of baseball quilt
ice cream cone quilt
This is a wonderful group of women. I enjoy and treasure the time I get to spend with them.
Lucky Charmers

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A couple of finishes...

I have a couple of finishes; both are donation quilts.

First is Yellow and Blue Baby Quilt. I found the blue squares when I cleaned out the children prints in my stash. The squares are left from a baby quilt I made a number of years ago. The yellow is also from my stash. The pieces made a 49" square quilt. 

I free-motion quilted this with a large meandering stitch and hearts. I used Aurifil #1135 yellow thread on the top and Aurifil #2784 blue thread on the bottom.

I used the last part of the blue, which was a little larger than the front squares, on the back. The rest of the backing is a blue fabric with dots.

The second finish is Pete the Cat Quilt. I found the fabric when I was cleaning out the children prints in my stash. Although I love the color orange, this orange fabric isn't a favorite. I decided to do something with the fabric and move it on. This quilt finished as a 58" square.

I free-motion stitched a large meandering stitch over the entire quilt. As usual, the quilt has been laundered and you can see the crinkling. I used Aurifil #1133 orange thread on the top and Aurifil #2784 blue thread on the bottom.

I used the rest of the orange fabric with some of the turquoise on the back. The rest of the backing is a shaded blue.


I'll have another finish soon but first I'll be headed to our annual spring retreat. I've been working to kit my projects and I think I'm ready. I even cleaned the quilting studio this morning after I cleaned the machine I'll be taking along. We don't leave until Friday so I may get in a bit more sewing before then. It's amazing how much quilting I can get done when we have bad weather!

Vegetable Soup with dehydrated ingredients

It is definitely still winter here so soup sounds good. I am beginning to run out of some of the ingredients so the dehydrator will be turned on next week. I'd like to have a couple jars of the vegetable mix with us when we travel in May and June - we may want soup way up north in Canada.

Vegetable Soup with Pasta
adapted from Colleen Bohrer of 21st Century Simple Living 

You can package the following in a pint jar or just measure it out when it's time to make soup.

Vegetable mix:
2 t tomato powder

2 t parsley flakes 
1 t garlic powder

1/4 c dried diced tomatoes

1/4 c dried onions, chopped

1/4 c dried white potatoes, diced

2 T dried carrots, diced
 (I have used 2 medium raw carrots)
2 T dried celery
2 T dried corn kernels
3 T dried cabbage
2 T dried lima beans
2 T dried mushrooms
2 T dried, shredded zucchini
1 dried bay leaf

  • This is about 2 cups and fits into a pint jar.
  • Any dehydrated vegetables will work - this is just what I usually use. 
  • If you do not have dried vegetables, you can substitute raw when you make the soup, but you have to figure out how much. The only raw vegetables I have used are carrots.

To make soup:
1 pint jar dried vegetable mix

12 cups water or beef stock (I usually use 8 c stock and 4 c water)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 beef bouillon cubes
3 tablespoons tomato powder or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup pasta - use whatever you have broken into bite size pieces, if necessary

1. Add everything (except: pasta and any raw vegetables you might be using) to a large pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. 

2. Add any raw vegetables you might be using. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. If soup becomes too thick, add more water. 
I often add 2 cups water because the bouillon makes the soup a little too salty for our taste.
3. Add pasta and simmer an extra 15 minutes. 



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