Tuesday, March 22, 2016


"She came in through the bathroom window."

I am standing in line at Home Depot and Joe Cocker comes blaring through the loud speakers.  A big smile spreads across my face and I chuckle.

"Protected by a silver spoon."

I start swaying a little to the music of this Beatles song.  I look around.  Yup.  Three or four people around me, about my age.  "Gotta love a little Joe Cocker once in a while," I said.  Their faces light up and we all laugh.  "I was in high school and rocked out to this song," I continue. A bald man a little older than me said, "I did more than rock out to it!"  Again, we all laugh.

"Well I know what I could not say."

The girl at the check out line said, "I think I've heard my grandma singing this song."  The rest of us stare at her blankly.

"Didn't any body tell her?"

"Ever hear of Joe Cocker," I ask her.  "No, I don't think so," is her reply.  The bald man behind me says, "What about the Beatles?"  "A little," the girl replies, "who hasn't?"  There was a soft groan from those of us waiting.  We smiled and shook our heads.

"She could steal but she could not rob."

Sometimes getting older sucks.  Sometimes it can be fun.  Most of the time I am just where I am suppose to be and it is all good and fun.  This was one of these times.

"Sunday's on the phone with Monday.  Tuesday's on the phone with me."  

Wait?  Is it Monday?  Tuesday?   Where is the bathroom after all?

ANNUAL HOLIDAY LETTER (Better Late than Never)

Solstice 2015

Dear Family and Friends

Another peaceful year has almost come and gone.  I joke that my life is boring, but in reality it is happy and full. 

I am enjoying living in north Georgia more and more as the years go by.  This is a beautiful area and so much to explore.  Plus, it is easy to travel to the east coast, Florida, gulf area or further west into Alabama all within a day’s drive.  I have taken advantage of that added bonus.

In April my friend, Ann, flew in from Iowa.  We drove to Murrell’s Inlet, SC.  Besides eating very well, we explored Pawley’s Island, Georgetown, Wilmington and Charleston (my favorite).  We had a great time and are looking forward to a similar trip in 2016.

Over Labor Day my friend, David, visited for a long weekend.  I always enjoy his company – he can make me laugh a million different ways and his dedication to working with Habitat for Humanity is inspiring.

Thanksgiving brought Sally and Amy here for their annual visit.  Sally and I cooked up a storm and we had a great time.  It is always sad to see them go – my house seems very quiet after they are gone.

In October I quit my part time job at the library.  After 4 ½ years, it was a sad decision, but not a difficult one.  I enjoyed my job and worked with great people.  But, I woke up one morning and thought, “I don’t need to do this anymore and I really don’t want to!”  I handed in my resignation that day.  Full retirement is wonderful!

My family welcomed our newest member on August 6th.  My great, great niece, Austyn Belle, arrive very early at only 26 weeks weighing 1 lb., 2 oz.  After 120 days in the hospital she finally went home with mommy and daddy (my great nephew, Aaron and wife, Brandi).  She is now pushing 8 lbs. and is doing very well.  She is our little warrior princess and a true miracle. 

I am leaving for Ireland on the 22nd.  I will be visiting my dear friend, Anne and attending her daughter, Melissa’s, wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Melissa has been planning her wedding for over two years and it is hard to believe it is finally so close.  Not much sightseeing will occur – we will be in “wedding mode,” but the main thing is that I spend time with Anne and also get to know Melissa as a young woman – no longer a little girl or a teenager.  I know a lot of laughter will occur around Anne’s table while drinking gallons of tea!

I am looking forward to new adventures in 2016.  I have just joined the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and hope that leads to some volunteer work.  I am afraid to volunteer with an animal rescue group that I end up with more dogs!  My three keep me busy!  But, I am sure other volunteer opportunities will arise.  I am continuing to make new friends.  Gardening, quilting and reading give me much pleasure.

My sister, Suzanne and brother-in-law Marlon will be selling their house in early spring.  They will be moving to Canton, about 15 minutes from me in a 55+ community.  Their lot is purchased and the building of their house should start in about 4-5 months.  My sister, Linda, spent a few months in Wisconsin with her son and his family.  She still likes living in the greater Phoenix area.

This year Marlon built a fabulous deck in my backyard.  While the summer was too darn hot to go out there and sit, this fall I have enjoyed it immensely.   Watching the birds, bees and butterflies while the dogs sniff and sit in the sun is relaxing.  Now at age 60, I am healthy, happy and just where I am suppose to be.  Life is great!

Happy holidays and I hope the New Year brings you much health and happiness.  And, maybe a trip to Georgia?

Julie Ann

Sam, Oliver and Lady

Sunday, October 25, 2015


In 2010 (quite the year) I retired from working for the City of Milwaukee for 32+ years.  I knew that retiring at 55 I would have find a part time job and work for a while, but I decided to go for it and along with retiring, I moved to northern Georgia.

Both were good moves. In fact, the two best decisions I have ever made.

In the spring of 2011 I started working part time for the Sequoyah Regional Library System - at the local library as a research assistant.  Another good move.  I worked with wonderful people in a library - how cool is that!  And, while we had a few patrons who were real stinkers, most were great.

When I turned 60 last August I realized I no longer "had" to work part time.  Financially, if I am careful and budget, I can live a comfortable life.  So, in the beginning of October I gave my notice and the 20th was my last day.

People keep asking me how I feel, being retired for the second time and hopefully, for good.

I don't know.

I am so busy through the beginning of the year, that I really won't have too much time to think about it. With a ton of "house work" to get done, two friends coming for Thanksgiving and a fabulous trip planned over the holidays I am pretty booked.  That doesn't include friends to see, several quilting project to get done with more to start, books to read, dogs to care for and the list goes on.

My friend, Sally, and I laugh about retirement.  She is also retired from her "career" job and works part time at a local library in Michigan.  We wonder how we ever worked full time, maintained our homes, had beautiful gardens, sometimes worked second jobs, traveled, volunteered and had very active social lives.  How the heck did we do it?

Well, we were much younger with more energy.

Now, in retirement we both wonder how we will get done all we want to accomplish.

I know I will enjoy not having to be or go anywhere I really don't want to be.  I know I will love more time spend with family and friends.  I know I will enjoy more "pajama" days spent sewing, reading and doing nothing.  I know I will do volunteer work.  I know I will enjoy day trips to the mountains, hiking and enjoying the area.

It's time.  I'm ready.  Retirement - here I come!

Saturday, July 04, 2015


Moving to a new town and state in 2010, it took me a while to figure out the easiest way to get places. Here in northern Georgia none of the roads are straight and they change names.  You can drive five miles down a road and it will have two or three different names as you travel down it.  Confusing to say the least.

But, I had my trusty GPS and off I went, learning my way around.  Sometimes my GPS got confused, and it would take me on all kinds of adventures.  Some were great, some not so great.  But, most of the time when my GPS got somewhat lost, I learned a new way to get somewhere or found a place I wanted to check out.

My quilt store is in Jasper, GA, about 20 miles away.  My GPS took me on some "back roads" to get to a main road.  Now I use this route all of the time to get to a variety of places.  And, it "introduced" me to the gentleman on the swing.

I never actually met this gentleman.  He would be out there on nice weather days waving to anyone that drove by his house.  He had one of those portable swings with the canopy on top.  In the five years I have driven by his house he has gone through several of these swings.  Exposed 24/7 to the weather, they would get pretty nasty.  I am sure it was his kids who replaced the swings on a yearly bases.

I looked forward to seeing this gentleman on the swing.  Even in inclement weather when I knew he would not be outside, I couldn't help but look over into his yard.  He always had a slow wave for any car that passed by.  I would beep my car horn and wave back.  I think he was a big man for it seemed his arms were long and his hand big even  when looking from the road.

I have seen him many times this spring.  Last week when I drove by, my hand on the horn to greet him, I saw something different.  His swing was pushed very close to the road and it was covered with bouquets flowers.  There was a sign sitting on the swing.  I slowed down, stopped and backed up.  The sign told of funeral arrangement for the gentleman on the swing.  He had passed away earlier that week.

I shed a few tears the rest of the way home.  I have no idea who this man was, what type of a person he was, if he was married and really did have children.  I knew I would miss him, though.

I wrote a note to his family and put it in his mailbox.  I don't know any of them, but I wanted to express my sympathy. I want them to know that this gentleman gave me something very special.  He gave me something to look forward to every time I drove by his home.  And, he made me smile - whether or not he was out there waving - I smiled in anticipation of the possibility of seeing him wave.  What a nice gift he gave me!  The gift of two smiles - his and mine.

And, sometimes happiness is just as simple as that - a couple of smiles.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Yes, I am still quilting up a storm.  Here are tons of quilt pictures.  Some you may have seen before, but are now completed.  Some are new.  Thank you to my sister, Suzanne, friend, Barbara for displaying most of these quilts for me!  You can click on the picture for a better view.

Panel wall hanging for the month of July.  If
you look close you can see the fun quilting.  Quilted
by the Quilt Shop on Main, Jasper, WI

Side view of the Blue Hydrangea quilt.  Quilted by Cathy of Happy
Dog Designs, Garland, TX  This is a soft and pretty quilt.  I purchased
this kit in Colorado in 2008.

My Garden Quilt.  Using the Turning Twenty quilt
pattern, this quilt will grace my screen porch this
summer. Love the blues and purples.  Also quilted by Happy
Dog Designs
Nifty Nine Patch.  Again, part of a BOM through the
Quilt Shop on Main Street, who also quilted it.  

Road Trip quilt.  I purchased the pattern and fabric in 2009 while
still living in Milwaukee, WI.  I finished the quilt top a few weeks ago!
Needs to be quilted.  Fun and easy to make.

Sweet Plum (named after fabric line).  I won a couple of the charm
packs in this fabric.  What to do with them?  Well, I purchased
additional fabric, found a 24" center block pattern online and using the
charm packs, built the quilt around it.  The fabric is wonderful.  This
quilt will be gifted to a very special person very soon.

Back of the Sweet Plum 
Jeannie's Quilt - named after the owner of Ye Olde Quilt Store
in Cedarburg, WI.  Part of a BOM, every month we were given
two block patterns and a fat quarter of fabric.  We had to make
the two monthly blocks using the fat quarter in each block.  The other
fabrics of the block would be anything we wanted it to be.  I made the
center block.  I love the way this quilt turned out.  Cathy of Happy Dog
Designs quilted it.

Illusion quilt.  My Friendship Star Sisters Block Swap group did
a block swap of illusion blocks.  I purchased special fabric for it.  I
loved the fabric so much, I decided not to participate in the swap and
keep this soft and pretty quilt for my self!  Not quilted yet.

Look closely at this quilt and the one below. Same quilt, different fabric.
Offered as a BOM by The Quilt Store on Main.  We had a choice of
cotton or batik fabric.  Well, I could not decide so I did both.  Above
batik version was quilted by the store and needs binding.  When my friend, 

Sally, was here over Thanksgiving she mentioned she would
like a green quilt for her guest room.  Well, I pulled this out and
she loved it. Good thing, because I really didn't like how it turned
out.  Sally paid for the quilting and I am currently hand sewing the 
binding on.  It will be sent to her in a couple of weeks.

Personally, I prefer the red version of this quilt.  Just something about a 
red quilt that makes me happy. This version was quilted by 
Cathy of Happy Dog Designs.  Amazing what a difference the color
and type of fabric used on a quilt can make, isn't it?

Made this little patriotic quilt for my friend Shelley.  It was fun and
I know that they (her husband,  Bob, is my cousin) are enjoying it.
 Quilted by Cathy off Happy Dogs Design

As part of the online block swap group I am a part of, our
first swap was a churn dash block. I have blogged about this
before, but wanted to included it in this post as well.  I added
the middle square in reverse to make it a 25 block quilt and to
add more interest.  Still needs to be quilted.

Another block swap quilt, this time with a holiday theme.  I
added the lattice work.  I love these blocks - all so different
and all so beautiful.  Still needs to be quilted.

So, while I was making my little nine patch blocks for the holiday
block swap (see above photo) I fell in love the with the fabric. Deep, rich
colors I decided to participate in the swap and make a holiday quilt
for myself!  It is not quilted in this picture, but is now complete.  It was quilted
by Cathy of Happy Dog Designs.

Decided I needed a fall quilt.  Again, I the very simple and easy
Turing Twenty pattern.  I love the border!  Quilted by The Quilt Shop on
Main.  I had enough fabric to make a matching table runner.

 House and Log Cabin quilt.  Part of a BOM offered by The
Quilt Store on Main.  If you look closely you will notice that
each house has a different "side" design to it.  We made one
house block and one log cabin block each month.  Again, we

had a choice of using batik or cotton fabrics.  Again, I made both.
The cotton version is currently being quilted by Cathy.  

Close up of the houses and log cabins.  Cathy of Happy Dog Designs
quilted this
one.   She used a dog paw design for the quilting.
  After all, no home is complete without a dog (or cat or pet in general)! I will
be donating this quilt to help raise funds for a dog rescue group.
This is a sweet, girly lap size quilt. I purchased the kit "Weekend Retreat" in
Milwaukee around 2009 and finished it recently.  Truly took only
a weekend make, so it would be a great quilt to make at a quilting retreat..  
Once quilted, it will go to my great-niece, Shannon. I plan to 
make a more boy-ish version of this quilt for her little brother, Zachary.  
Below is a side view of the quilt.

I do have a few more quilts that are currently being quilted and are not pictured in this post, including a a wall hanging and baby quilt.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 09, 2015


While I was waiting around for my farmhouse table to be done, I did find an old, solid oak, small library card catalog in the warehouse where my table is being made.

This is what I saw buried in June's warehouse!

Well, I loved it.  I am an avid reader and work part time at a library.  I needed this piece.

I had moved my TV to over the fireplace a few years ago.  While I didn't mind watching it up there, I couldn't decorate my mantle the way I wanted to.  So, I was searching for a TV stand. What could be more perfect?
Not a great picture.

Roy, the carpenter, worked his magic adding an apron around the bottom of the card catalog and legs to it.
Close up of the "skirt" and legs

I now have a beautiful, completely unique television stand.

Better picture and I love the "moon" effect from
the flash!


So, the farmhouse table odyssey has finally come to an end!  It hosted Easter dinner and I am thrilled with the results.  It was a seven month journey and one with a lot of bumps in the road.

The table was originally delivered as planned right before Thanksgiving.  However, it arrive in pretty rough shape.  I say that because the top was rough - too rough for a table that would be used on a daily basis.  I wasn't happy.  So, June, the lady who I went through to have it made, said she would take back and plain the top down, re-stain it and bring it back.  We agreed, due to the holiday season, that this would take place after the holidays were over.
You can see the crack (left) and also
the roughness of the table.

Within two weeks I noticed a crack in the wood.  I called June and she, along with her carpenter, came to look at it.  By this time the crack was getting pretty wide and longer.  If you looked at the crack from a certain angle you could see that eventually it would run the whole length of the board.  Not good.  So, along with the top needing to be planed, this board needed to be replaced.

Seems like every few days the crack got bigger and bigger!
By the time it was picked up for repair it was over
18" long and getting wider.

True to their word, the middle of January my table top (just the top, the legs and frame stayed) went back to the shop.  It wasn't until many phone calls later and the middle of March before the table top finally arrived back home.

One view of the finished table.  Love it!
Added my quilted table runner - all decked
out for Easter

Served Easter dinner on the table!

Guess I should have ironed the table cloth!

Sam is always hoping for a piece of ham to fall
It took forever for my table top to return.  Seriously, I was starting to get upset!  But, I am so happy with it.

Camera makes everything long orange in color.
None of it is.  
So, the saga is over and the end result is great.  The moral of this story?  Good things sometimes take time and are worth it in the end!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


 Dear Family & Friends

Another quiet and blessed year. 

Lady a/k/a Ladybug
I started fostering dogs in late 2013 through Mostly Mutts Rescue Group and continued to do so for many months and many dogs.  I am fortunate my Sam and Oliver are easy going dogs!  In late June I decided to take a break from fostering when an urgent call for fosters came out for the 4th of July weekend.  “Well,” I thought, “I can take a dog for 3-4 days, no problem!”  I picked up Lady on Thursday and she never left.  I became a “foster failure.”  However, I still help out with transport of dogs and in other areas, when I can.  Lady is an interesting mix of a little dog – and her name fits her well.  She is small boned and dainty and between 9-10 years old.  Sam and Oliver have adjusted well to another female in the house and I often find them all curled up together on one of their beds.  Lady’s collar has a typical large “Southern girl” bow on it and her tag the bling of rhinestones!  Oh, yes – it is good to have another female around!

 Not too much travel this year.  I took a quick trip to Florida in February to help my friend, Rita clear out her mom’s condo.  We returned in September for a week after Rita decided to purchase the condo and needed to furnish it.  The highlight of my trips was a whirlwind five day trip to Wisconsin to attend the wedding of the son of my dear friend, Beth.  My sister, Suzanne, went with me and we stayed with her friend, Joyce.  The wedding was fabulous.  I didn’t get to see everyone on my list (exhaustion kept getting in the way), but I did get to meet my 4-year old great nephew, Zach, for the first time.  It was fun seeing him and his big sister, Shannon.  I returned home very tired, but glad I went back to Milwaukee.

Martha came for a week in May.  It is always fun to have her here.  Sharon and John stopped in for a night in July.  They enjoyed Gibbs Gardens very much and I wish they could have stayed longer.  Sally came for over a week over Thanks giving.  We had a great time, but really missed Amy, who could not make it this year.
Sam the man with the playtime plan!
I am still rather obsessed with quilting!  I keep pumping them out.  I have donated a couple of my quilts to help raise money for Mostly Mutts. 
This year my pledge is to finish up all the projects I have and only to work on one or two larger quilts.  Well, maybe three or four . . .  !  I also want to concentrate on making Quilts for Kids, which provides quilts for children in various hospitals.
We all like to read in this house!
I am still working part time at the library.  It is enjoyable and I work with really great people.  The patrons are usually wonderful to work with, but every once in a while an “interesting” one wonders in!  If the public thinks that because of E-books and more electronic devises that libraries are becoming obsolete they are wrong!  We are busier than ever and offer more and more programs as our limited funding provides. 

As the long winter nights set in my goal this winter is to listen to all of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books on CD.  I find spending time listening to books while doing hand work on a quilt is relaxing and more productive than watching TV.  For those of you who know the Outlander series – all eight books – this might take me more than one winter!  Outlander was 28 CDs and I am plugging away on Dragonfly in Amber – the second book - which is 33 CDs!  I think the books grow larger with each new one.

I have made some wonderful friends here in Georgia over the last couple of years.  I am fortunate to keep in touch with all of the friends I left in Wisconsin and throughout the US and Ireland. My job is interesting and I have hobbies that keep me busy.  I share my home with three wonderful, tail wagging souls that bring me much joy and happiness.  My family is all healthy and happy.  2015 will bring a trip to North Carolina in April and a return to Ireland at the end of the year.  I am looking forward to for many visitors and adventures in between. 

I hope you have a joyous holiday season and a safe, healthy and happy 2015.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE PART IV (will this ever end?)

Yes, these particular posts will end with the next post on this subject (I hope)!

My table is now out of the warehouse/workshop and in June's garage where she will stain and paint it. Just so happens that June lives about a mile from me so I was able to go there this morning and take a quick peek.

Truthfully, I thought it would be done by now.  When June told me it was at her house I wondered why it was there and not here.  I didn't know that she does the final work on a piece outside away from the warehouse where there is dust all over the place.  She moves it to her store, if there is room, or her garage.

Here are the pictures of the table after Roy did his magic on the pile of wood I picked out.  Hard to believe that pile of wood turned into this beautiful table.  The legs will be painted a cream color and top will be stained.  I just can't wait and am so pleased with the table to this point!

Sorry for the shadows.  I tried to
get the length of the table.

Top needs some fine sanding, but the 
"roughness" and knot holes will remain.  

Bread board piece and more of the wood details

Turned legs.  I think I had originally decided
on a leg that had more "curves," but I
really am pleased with how they look.  Perfect!
Another week and it should be in my dining room.  I hope so.  I am getting anxious!