Friday, December 31, 2010


I have my quilting room all set up.  Finally, I have a cutting table and I can't tell you how much I am enjoying it.  No more aching back from cutting and piecing over my dining room table.  And, now my dining room stays neat.  My quilting room is small and cramped, but works perfectly.  I have a nice sewing table/desk with drawer space, my cutting table, the ironing board and tons of storage.

The Underground Railroad quilt is complete with shirting fabric for the backing.  It has been sent to Meandering Mary in Wisconsin to be professionally quilted.  (I do need to find a good quilter down here in Georgia). 

Shannon's doll quilt/wall hanging

 Two doll quilts are completed, one with pink binding and one with blue binding.  The pink was given to my great niece, Cadyn, for her birthday and the other was sent to great-niece, Shannon, for Christmas.  Shannon picked out all of the fabric as well as the pattern.  She did a great job.

Finished this Christmas quilt and took it to Magical Threads in Dahlonga, GA for quilting.  Remind me never to work with panels again!  Frustrating!   I have Dickens Village pieces and it will look great over my couch for the holidays.   

I realized that when I purchased the material for my great nephew, Aaron's,  Irish chain quilt last March that I got material for the double/queen size quilt.  I pulled out the fabric to start it and realized that it probably won't be as large as I would like.  So,  I went on a search for more of the fabric to make a king sized quilt.  I purchased all the fabric in Wisconsin at The Patched Works and Jen helped me find more of the light color.  I had just enough of the green and found where I can order more of the star fabric for the backing.  The top is now completed and I am very happy with how it looks.  Simple and elegant.  I can't wait to get the rest of the backing material and have it quilted!  I think Aaron will really like it.

Aunt Grace BOM block 1

Aunt Grace BOM block 3

Aunt Grace BOM block 2 (made 4)

You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the Wisconsin quilt stores out of the girl.  I am participating in the Aunt Grace's Circle of Friends Block of the Month through Ye Olde Schoolhouse Quilt Store in Cedarburg.  I am really enjoying this BOM.  I love working with the reproduction 1930s fabrics - so bright and cheerful.  There is some applique working coming up, though.   I have more pictures of blocks 4 and the pinwheel blocks, but it is so darn difficult to work with pictures on the blog that I am too frustrated to add them.  Next time! 

I have visited Tiny Stitches and Little Quilts in Marietta, GA.  Both are great stores, but walking into Little Quilts so reminded me of Ye Olde Schoolhouse that I felt right at home.  Also, my blogging pal, Karen, works there part-time.  Karen has developed many great quilt patterns (I have made 2 of Karen's wall hanging and have a couple more in my "to do" drawer) and might be offering a class there in the near future.  Sign me up!

Monday, December 27, 2010


So, I moved to Georgia to get away from the snow.  I guess the joke is on me!  This was the first white Christmas in the greater Atlanta area in over 100 years.  Even I have to admit it is beautiful!  Enjoy the pictures.
About a mile from my house

Pond by very close to my house

Cool picture of Sam waiting in the car while I took pictures
Shrub by my front porch
Inch and a half in my backyard

This is what I see from my back fence

The slope - another view from the fence

Someone really enjoyed the snow!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


For those of you who did not receive my annual holiday card and letter via snail mail, here is the electronic copy.  The first batch mailed had typo after typo.  The second batch had only one.  Hopefully, most are corrected!  Have a great holiday season everyone!


December, 2010

Dear Family and Friends –

Well, what can I say about 2010? It has been the hardest year of my life. It has been a year where some positively wonderful things have happened. It has been the year I have deeply learned the value of family support and true friendships.

The City of Milwaukee offered a very good early retirement package and I decided to take advantage of the one year window it allowed. In late March I put my house on the market and it sold in 11 days! Over Easter I flew down to Georgia and with the help of my sister, brother-in-law and a great realtor, I found a perfect house in Canton, GA. The next couple of months were a complete whirlwind of packing, moving 99% of my stuff to my new home (closed on May 10), moving into a temporary location in Milwaukee since I still had a few months to work, saying goodbye to friends in Milwaukee, two road trips down to Georgia, finally retiring and driving down one last time. Whoosh! I arrived in my new home for good July 23.

I arrived here emotionally and physically burned out. Phil’s death in May (in the midst of the move) and having to put both my beloved dogs (Lucy Lou and then little Gracie) down within three weeks of each other nearly did me in completely. Saying good bye to friends and family in Milwaukee proved to be more difficult than I thought. Adjusting to retirement and a new life has it challenges. But, along with family and friends and my new dog Sam, I kept going. Taking Sam for walks every day helped me to move forward. In late September when the hot weather broke, I was able to get out and garden, which proved to be the best therapy. Slowly, I started feeling stronger emotionally.

I love my house. It is just perfect for me. I am very happy with my subdivision and the general Canton area. I love seeing the mountains when I walk or drive around. I am meeting new friends and slowly becoming involved in things around here. My neighbors have been very welcoming and friendly. I’m active in two book discussion groups as well as other groups through MeetUp, a social organization and Sam and I started “doggie school.” Sam has a great personality and our goal for him is to become a therapy dog. My quilting room is all set up and I started quilting again. I will be looking for a part time job after the holidays. Overall, retirement and moving down here was the best decision I have ever made.

My sister Sue and husband, Marlon stay busy, busy, busy. They took a trip to the Williamsburg area in September. Sue continues to do child care. Marlon has raised thousands of dollars for his church and a local charity by hosting his monthly Texas Hold ‘em games. Nephew Paul purchased his first home in Kennesaw, GA. It is a great house and he enjoyed working with his dad on fixing it up and making it a perfect home for him. Nephew John and his family stay busy. Coggan is in 2nd grade and John coached his tag football team this year. Cadyn loves to read and is a very advanced reader for being five.

My sister Linda is happy in Mesa, AZ. She was in Milwaukee in the summer when her son, Patrick and his wife, Pam welcomed their son, Zachary Lucas, into the world on July 30. Their daughter, Shannon just turned four and is, of course, a princess! Son Aaron graduated from high school in June. Zach makes me a great-aunt for the 5th time!

As this year comes to an end I have so many things to be grateful for. Please allow me to share some them with you:

• A career with the City of Milwaukee, ending with the Milwaukee Fire Department and my PENSION!

• Nephews Patrick & Aaron for helping me get my Milwaukee house ready for sale (you guys rock!), Paul for being supportive & helping around my new house and John for being willing to help when my Lucy Lou was failing.

• Sue and Marlon who are always, always there for me. They live their beliefs and are great people.

• Friends and family who stood by me this year, listened to me, cried with me, talked to me, held my hand, made me laugh, gave me hugs, kicked me in the butt a few times and then picked me back up, took my late night phone calls, offered me their stories and helped me through this year. Also, a great firefighter who subleased one of his furnished rental unit to me for 3 months, dogs and all! Thank all of you (not in any specific order, but here goes) – Shelley, Beth, Kate, David, Captain Dave, Judy, Terri, Nancy, Sally, Amy, Lori (and the other Church Ladies), Vicki, Peg, Robert and everyone else, including blogging and Facebook friends and great new friends here in Canton. What would I do without y’all? You light up my heart.

• Timing is everything. As bad as things were and as difficult has it has been, the timing for all that happened worked. And, as the year closes I am truly happy. What can I say?

• My new home. It is so perfect for me. I love the front porch where I can watch the world go by. I love my screened-in porch off the kitchen where I can sit and day dream. My yard is big enough for Sam and just the right size for me to garden in. It immediately felt like home.

• Sam. Still a pup at just over a year old, he is a goof ball, he makes me get up every day, makes me laugh, reminds me to play, “forces” me go for walks and is just a joy.

It will be nice to be “home” for the holidays. I enjoyed unpacking all of my holiday items and decorating for the season, something I haven’t done for several years. I am hoping that 2011 is calmer and less eventful! I also hope some of you can come for a visit. I have a room all ready and a comfy quilt or two for you to curl up in.

As much as I dislike winter, Winter Solstice is always my favorite of the seasonal calendar. It is a time of deep reflection. It is a time of wonder. Of candle light and dreams. A time of friends and family. It is a quiet time and a peaceful time. And, while it will be the first time in over 10 years I will not be physically present to celebrate the solstice with my Church Ladies, I will be with them in spirit when they meet. As, I am with all of you.

May the return of the light brighten your path this holiday season and throughout the New Year. Thank you all for being in my life, for your love and support. Have a blessed holiday season!

Julie Ann & Sam