Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Visiting Sister and The Cook on Fifth Street

A la Peter, Paul and Mary, my bags were packed and I was ready to go... we set the alarm clock for 3 a.m. and were on the road to the Denver airport shortly after 4 a.m. I was on my way to visit Sister and The Cook on Fifth Street.

Here follows my scrapbook of photos from the weeklong trip:

Soaring above the clouds at dawn on Frontier Airlines; note the tiny fold-down tray table.  BUT, we arrived 42 minutes EARLY with a strong tail wind.


After the plane landed, I grabbed this salad at a take-out stand and made my way to baggage claim, and then on to a coach bus to take me closer to my final destination. I love these kinds of salads.

Sister met me at the bus station and we had a wonderful lunch at The Machine Shed, with fantastic food, midwest farm decor, and a fun gift shop.

After that wonderful meal, we continued by car to our final destination where re-unions began.....

Jean (in the green) and Kay (in the pink) were thrilled to be together after years of separation. If you missed what this is all about, click on this link: The Continued Saga of Kay and Jean 

The very next day was special -- it was the first time I was able to celebrate my birthday with my mother since 1970! She treated me to  lunch at Culver's.

On another day we drove to a neighboring town to check out the shops. It is surprising how many eateries there are, even in small rural communities -- and it's my mission to experience as many of them as I can!
needlework and China

When we weren't eating, there were things we could do together back at the house. I hemmed up several pairs of slacks for my mother, emptied the china cabinet, dusted, and replaced the contents.

Two of my great nieces came to see us and they treated me as though they see me every day! I loved that! Here Sister colors with her granddaughters.

Sister, who has been building dollhouses for many years, let one of her granddaughters and me play with the farm house in her office. 

On Saturday night, Sister and her hubby took me to a local fundraiser concert that featured music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. 

Sister and me
Sister's university degree is in radio and television communications. Before children came into her marriage, Sister was a radio announcer, spinning the vinyl tunes that brought back our teen memories. (I, too, have a history with a radio station, but my job was answering phones -- nothing as glam as sister's responsibilities)

In the course of the evening, they pulled out a Wheel of Fortune and I was chosen to spin it!! The Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets would sing the song where the wheel stopped. It was a very fun evening.

Scenes from church

Saturday night kept us out a little late, but we still made it to church the next morning. It was Palm Sunday, complete with the children  happily parading down the center aisle with palm branches. 

Brother-in-law's family farm
Sunday afternoon was a perfect day for photography at the family farm. 

no cows any more

Years ago, this barn was home to over fifty cows that my brother-in-law milked three times a day! My husband, my kids and I all have fun memories of visiting this place, made all the more special because we were city people. I kind of missed seeing the cows during this visit (but I didn't miss their smell!).

We were treated to a driving tour of the farm, moving among the dormant corn fields.

the tree-lined drive and corn crib

It was an idyllic way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The Lord's creation was stunning to see.

After a busy week with lots of fun, it was time for Sister to take me back to the bus station, and I began my return home.

Before boarding my flight back to Denver, I stopped to buy yet another of those wonderful salads from a vendor near my gate. I like to take pictures of the salad and the ingredients and then make up the salad in my own kitchen.


Just barely 24 hours after my return home to Colorado, we were hit with a violent blizzard that blew in seventeen inches of snow in my neighborhood and white-out conditions so strong that at times we couldn't see past the railing on our deck! I was so thankful to not be among those travelers who got stranded away from home!

So, this completes my report about the trip. Now to get back to the normal routines!

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Continued Saga of Kay and Jean

Note #1: For those who aren't aware, every once in a while I escape into a whimsical world with my "staff" at the fictitious Grammys Place Bed and Breakfast. Truth is mixed with fantasy and this is what comes out! 

World events are so serious these days that whimsical inspiration gets dampened with reality and as a result, I don't write from my B and B very often any more. But this was one of those times.....

Note #2: As has been my habit for years, I use pseudonyms for my characters to protect their true identity. You understand, I'm sure.

Kay sends emails
Those of you who are my most faithful readers may remember a post dated January 18 titled "Switched at the Sending," in which I relayed the melancholy story of how two dolls got switched and I ended up with Sister's doll in the pink dress while Sister got my doll in the green dress. (got that?)

The mix-up happened years ago when The Cook on Fifth Street decided it was time for our dolls to live in our houses instead of hers. It was purely an innocent mistake. She didn't realize at the time that she had sent the dolls to the wrong people. Since Sister and I live nearly 1,000 miles apart, getting the dolls back to the right owners was no easy feat.  

In January Sister suggested that we should take care of the matter. This brings you up-to-date. A few weeks ago, right after Beloved made my flight reservations to visit Sister and The Cook on Fifth Street, this message showed up on my computer:

Dear Barbara,

Jean says she knows your luggage space is limited, but she was just wondering if she would be able to go home with you when you come to visit.  (She says she could be your 'carry-on item’!)  Here she is visiting with Coca Cola Bear.  He’s waiting until he can find transportation to go live with Sweet Lil' Girl.  You don’t have to take her on this trip, but she was just wondering, in case she needed to be packed up and ready to move (though all she has is the dress and shoes she’s wearing!).

Coca Cola Bear and Jean (Barbara's doll)
Of course, when I shared this with Kay (Sister's doll), things began to happen very fast. She asked if she could send an email to Jean...

Kay (pink dress) writes to Jean (green dress)
Later that night, before going to bed, I sent my own email out to those we would soon be visiting:

Dear Sister and Cook on Fifth Street,

A  little drama has been playing out here at my house ever since I read the email from “Jean” about an hour ago that she wants to come home with me if I will bring “Kay” with me. 

Since tomorrow is the day I pack my suitcase, we hastily put together a little photo shoot to record our last hours with Kay before she gets packed into my bag.  

The tears of farewell have already begun to flow profusely…

Mandy Sue
Our little drama queen is stealing the show.  

Eaves Dropping
Somebody called the newspaper, and in no time at all, the door bell was ringing and Eaves Dropping, the Home & Garden Editor from the Whistlestop Weekly was pushing her way through the front door.

Me and Grandad Bear with our B and B staff and friends

I wanted one last staff photo but Mandy Sue was so overcome with emotion that we finally had to just take the picture with her tears. It was a pitiful thing.

Me with Kay in a farewell hug
I was able to get a few moments with Kay, hugging her and telling her that although she has spent the last twenty-some years packed away in a box in the basement, she has been an anchor and a vital part of the foundation of all we do here at Grammys Place B&B. 

So, yes, with this hasty but none-the-less proper send off, Kay will soon be flying to the Midwest and shortly after that we will welcome Jean with open arms.
Sister, Jean, Kay and The Cook on Fifth Street
The reunion was very touching. After so many years apart, the girls were thrilled to be together once again. Although Eaves Dropping from the Whistlestop Weekly could not make the trip, the paparazzi still managed to show up in Sister's kitchen where countless photos recorded this very special event. 

The Cook on Fifth Street gave a sweet little speech in which she gave her most sincere apology for switching the girls in the first place, but both Kay and Jean were very gracious about the matter. After all, if memory serves us correct, it was the sewing skills of The Cook on Fifth Street who created their beautifully-constructed matching plaid dresses. The dolls came as Christmas gifts when we were very young but their clothing was not acceptable, so new and much better dresses were made for them before they were placed under the Christmas tree that year.

Sister poses with the girls
It was a delightful evening, with good-natured bantering going back and forth. Sister was up to her usual tricks of adding "bunny ears" for the photos.

During our week-long visit, we talked, laughed, and even celebrated my birthday! (the trip was Beloved's gift even though he was not able to accompany me this time)

Eaves Dropping -- never one to miss out on a good story
Back in  our hometown of Whistlestop,  we pulled into our driveway at the Bed and Breakfast and I could tell something was afoot. That Home and Garden Editor was not going to let Jean's homecoming go unnoticed.

Welcome to Grammys Place Bed and Breakfast

Sure enough, as soon as we got inside the door, my staff whisked Jean away and a welcome ribbon party began! Curly ribbons were everywhere, along with ample portions of cake and punch for everyone.

Lily, Jean, and Mandy Sue 

I was so very pleased to see that Mandy Sue had dried her tears from earlier in this story and was giving Jean the best welcome a girl could possibly hope for.

By the way, as promised, I will be posting some photos from my recent trip but I had to get this story written up first. You understand, I'm sure!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

photo credit

For Christ also died for sins
once for all,
the just for the unjust,
so that He might bring us to God,
having been put to death in the flesh,
but made alive in the spirit.

I Peter 3:18 (NASB)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Flannel and Forgiveness - a Story for Easter

Flannel graph of Joseph with the coat of many colors
in the Old Testament book of Genesis, chapter 37

My fascination with dolls, puppets, and other tactile teaching aids has intrigued me all of my life.

When I was just a little girl, my mother was preparing to teach a children's Sunday School class using a flannel graph story board. She asked me if I would like to watch while she practiced telling the Bible story, and of course I did. 

in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19

I don't remember what the Bible story was. Perhaps it was about Zacchaeus, the "wee little man" who had overcharged many people with his tax collecting. I do recall a "today" story that went along with it. There was a little girl who stole some perfume from her mother's dressing table. Apparently the perfume got on her hands, and the tell-tale scent of her naughtiness was discovered. The overall theme of both stories was that we all have done wrong and need Jesus Christ to make us right with God.

Even at the young age of six years, I knew I had done wrong things.  My little sister did not always play like I wanted her to and we had our squabbles. Nobody had to teach me how to be selfish; I had figured that out on my own. Yes, I was aware of my sins.

Through my mother's stories on the flannel graph, I understood that I needed God's forgiveness and love; I needed Jesus in my heart. I wanted that. 

So on a sunny Wednesday afternoon my mother led me in a prayer. I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to live in my heart. As strange as it sounds, I felt different. I knew I had been forgiven and I felt new inside.

One of the first things I did after that was to invite my neighbor friend, Kathleen, to come to our church prayer meeting with us that night. I wanted her to know Jesus the way I did, and I reasoned that coming to church with me was the way to go about it.

Her mother did not allow her to come with us. Years later my father told me they knew my salvation was real because the first thing I wanted to do was to share the good news about Jesus. 

Asking Jesus into your heart is the happiest thing you can do and then you want others to know that same joy. 

Easter is when we remember and celebrate that Jesus paid the cost of our sins by dying on the cross in our place, and then rose from the grave three days later. He has paid the debt for our sin and lives eternally. When we accept in faith that what He has done for us saves us from eternal punishment, we  also have the promise of eternal life with Him. 

My story is simple, perhaps too simple for some to accept. But living in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for nearly all of my life is the most important decision I ever made. This is why I celebrate Easter.

For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have
everlasting life.
John 3:16

If you would like to share why you celebrate Easter, you can do so in the comments section below. I'd love to read what you have to say!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Update from The Brown Bungalow

the view from my breakfast table this morning;
the blurriness is ice on the window as a heavy wet snow falls

I’ve got a cold again which appears to be a mild revival of the virus we had here a few weeks ago.  

Or it’s a new germ acquired when I consented to be sealed into a metal cylinder with about a hundred other humans and then jettisoned cross country. That process was repeated a week later. 

Why do we pay big money to be cooped up in a tight space with thousands of germs and no food service provided by flight attendants?! 

I have  no idea. We live in a crazy world. I have flown for all of my life (my father was a pilot)but this mode of transportation is no longer the fun that it used to be.

Yes, I have returned from my trip to see The Cook on Fifth Street and Sister, along with several other dear family members. Today I am just checking in with my fans with this brief post while doing a mountain of laundry and tackling my Precept Bible study homework (we are studying the book of Genesis). 

Before day’s end, I hope to carve out time to write a more interesting post with lots of pictures. Thanks for stopping by to see what’s happening at The Brown Bungalow!

As per the picture I’m posting above, winter is here today, expected to move out of here by tonight. Ah, springtime in the Rockies!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Absent for a While

I will be taking some time out from blogging for a week or more. Leaving Beloved at home to keep an eye on things, I will be flying East to visit Sister and The Cook on Fifth Street. 

Although I'll miss the Love of my Life (we are seldom apart from each other), I will have the special privilege of celebrating my birthday with the one who gave me life and the one who calls me Big Sister.  

Talkatcha' later!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Post Script on the Sewing Room

another view of the sewing room

For those who read my previous post about my new sewing room, Out of the Darkness Into The Light, you may be interested to see the opposite side of the room where the design wall is now complete. That is a large piece of quilt batting tacked to the wall with some "orphan blocks" displayed along the top. 

For the uninitiated, "orphan block" is a term used in the quilting world to refer to a single pieced block. It may be leftover from a quilt or a test project that never got incorporated into a full-sized quilt. Most quilters have them, so I chose to display some of mine, rather than hide them in a box.

A design wall is extremely helpful when determining the layout for blocks or quilts and is so much easier on the body than laying them out on the carpet. Now that the furniture is all moved in and everything is put in its place, I look forward to a new project and pieces will be laid out on that flannel. It's a fun process.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Out of the Darkness Into the Light

Sewing room as seen from the hall doorway

Last week we both were still suffering from that bothersome coughing cold virus that is making the rounds. 

one of my quilts, a folding screen, and a set of full-length shutters
give me places to pin up notes to myself and inspiration for projects
Thankfully, we survived it and then were able to move furniture from the main floor to the basement and from the basement to the main floor! Whaaaat?!

my sewing buddy supervised the room arrangement
Yes, that's exactly what we did with our new-found strength after weeks of coughing and blowing our noses.

needlework books and magazines

You see, although I had a HUGE area in the basement to sew, it was on concrete and below ground (not even a daylight or walk-out style basement) and the lack of natural light plays havoc with my happiness levels. I'm one of those people who needs sunny days for a sunny disposition. Too many cloudy days makes me feel cloudy.

Examples from previous projects inspire me

Beloved paid good money for more electricity and lighting but I just couldn't get myself down there to sew below ground. Then my lack of creativity got me down.

Beloved built  the sewing tables years ago to suit my ergonomic needs
(I'm short and needed tables with shorter legs)
So over the span of two days we dismantled the guest room and moved it down to the unfinished basement and brought up nearly everything from below to the main floor. 

larger pieces of fabric are stored in the closet
by color groups

We seldom have overnight guests (in the nearly 3 years in this house, our guest room has been used by only 4 people), so when those occasions arise, we will do all we can to make them comfortable in a cavernously-large basement. They will have to plan ahead to climb stairs to reach a bathroom. Maybe we will finish off that area, sometime. Maybe.

Threads are kept on a closet wall, out of the bright light and dust.
I love it that natural light filters into the new sewing room through the shuttered window, and I can slide open the window for a breath of fresh air if I want.

storage of fat quarters is in a chest of shallow drawers below the cutting table
I am also just steps away from my study, the laundry room, a bathroom, and the kitchen. As I like to say, I can do quick things in the sewing room while I'm waiting for water to boil!

Wall space is reserved for the "design wall", yet to be done

Yes, the total square footage is probably 1/3 of what I had in the basement, so careful storage options are a necessity. But I like to tackle that kind of thing, so it's just a challenge, not an obstacle.

sewing machine cover made by my mother 

I have to say that the new sewing room is my new favorite place in The Brown Bungalow!

some of my sewing room friends