Sunday, July 29, 2007


I have recently put the finishing stitches in two Loose Feather projects. I really like the blackbirds/cherries project. The colors are so vibrant and the blackbirds seem to have such arrogant personalities.

Unfortunately, I'm not as fond of the "grape" project (as I call it). The colors are just too muted for my taste. I did love doing all the grape eyelets though.

I get all the Loose Feather projects automatically from Shakespeare's Peddler and I can proudly say that I am getting each of them stitched before the next one comes. I've even framed a couple. I do my own framing as long as I don't use a mat. I haven't learned to cut mats yet but it's something I'd like to learn. Maybe I could go into my own framing business....hmmm.

Now I'm anxiously awaiting the newest Loose Feather. It looks like one I will enjoy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

One of the things I enjoy most, other than the shows and the city itself, at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival are the street performers. This year we saw some marvelous living statutes...or whatever they call themselves. The angel and gargoyles were truly incredible. They were on stilts and wandered through the crowds with ease. They gargoyles would chase people and then all of a sudden all 3 (gargoyles and angel) would stop and strike a pose...usually of the angel slaying the gargoyles.

My favorite, though, was the female angel. She was calm and serene with a mischiveous grin. People could go up to her and have a photo taken. Three little children went up and stood in front of her. What they weren't aware of was that that the angel moved and made rabbit ears behind their heads. I'm sure the children will be surprised to see that! Someone brought a baby to her and the angel squated down and took the baby in her arms. It was gorgeous!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I spent last weekend in Montreal at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Among other things, my friend Maria and I saw Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood on Friday night, followed by Eddie Izzard. Eddie added a second show at the last minute so we were able to get tickets and see him again on Saturday night. We got autographs and photos both nights as well. I was lucky to be able to thank him in person for the email he sent my nephew Brandon 18 months ago after Brandon's horrendous car accident and Eddie remembered sending it. I asked if I could give him a hug to thank him and he said, "Of course." He is truly a very nice, compassionate person ~ as well as one funny guy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

8th Grade Education in 1895

Show this to kids who think they know everything. What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...
Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina Journal. 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS -1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie,""play," and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punction.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt
U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus .
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent b attles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.
Orthography (Time, one hour) [Do we even know what this is??]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5 Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, f are, last. 9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vei n, raze, r aise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco ..
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.
Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.
Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!
Also shows you how poor our education system has become! and, NO! I don't have the answers!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Stitching Update

This is a recent tabletopper I finished stitching. It's by Dutch Treat and is one of my favorites. The chart called for stitching it all in red, but since red wouldn't go with anything I have, I decided to do it in a more friendly color. This one is called Java and is in browns, black and pinks...very pretty. I liked stitching this tabletopper because each square was different, unlike all the others I have done.

And on a more humorous note, I have proof in my garden that there are such things as male tomatoes!

Another Monday

Bah humbug...another Monday. As much as I like my boss, I really hate coming into work, particularly on Mondays. I so need a new job with new challenges, but I'm not going to make any changes until after Aimee and I get back from Scotland. I have a good thing going now with only working 4 days a week, being able to take days off whenever I want and get paid for them, being able to be late (this morning it was 20 minutes) and not getting in trouble. I'm just burned out in this job. I have so many other things I'd like to be doing with my time. Our lease is up on our office at the end of February 2008 and I'm thinking that my boss may retire at that time.

On a more positive note, I spent Friday and Saturday at the Midwest Scrapbook Convention in St. Paul. It was held at RiverCentre which is huge so there was lots and lots of space to get into the booths (where I spent too much money, of course). I took 3 classes which were all fun ~ and I won doorprizes in 2 of the classes., something that NEVER happens! One of the classes was using normal office supplies when scrapbooking and it was a lot of fun. I wanted to make a beeline to Office Max!! They used name badge holders tied together with a ribbon as additional photo holders or journaling pages. I also took a heritage class in which we made 4 - 12x12 pages plus a magnetic canvas. I loved that class and got so many great ideas for making the heritage album I intend to make as a result of my family research. And I found Lego brads which will be fun for all the photos I have of Tony and his Legos, followed closely by photos of Ellie at the Lego Store at Mall of America.

Sunday I spent a good portion of the afternoon stripping wallpaper from the kitchen walls. I'm so glad I thought to put sizing on the walls before I hung the wallpaper oh so many years ago. It's making stripping it fairly easy. Unfortunately I ran out of stripper solution so I had to quit. It was almost harder cleaning up the mess afterwards than stripping the wallpaper itself. I have the paint for the kitchen walls. I'm hoping it is the color I want....kind of a cafe au lait color. We have picked out the silestone we want to use for the new kitchen counters. Now to decide on a sink and fixtures, whether to paint the cupboards or not, etc. In the end, whatever we decide on will be a definite improvement! Then it's on to painting the exterior of the house.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my birthday. My birthday present from Tony and Darcy was tickets to the Children's Theatre for Ellie and me to see High School Musical. I had originally planned to take the day off, but at 400 on Monday my boss got a call from an attorney on the other side of a divorce proceeding and we needed to have a Marital Termination Agreement prepared for signature on Tuesday (and in the end it didn't happen anyway) so I volunteered to come in until noon. I got the MTA done and then went to Lakeville to pick up Ellie. She was wearing the High School Musical shirt I bought her at Disneyland and was so proud of herself! We headed off to the Children's Theatre. She was so excited because she loves High School Musical and because we got to spend the afternoon together. We had seats in the 4th row and really enjoyed the performance. Darcy takes her there a lot so she knows the routine. She was telling me that there was a "little break" and we could get cookies. So when intermission came, she headed right for the cookies! After the show, I bought her Sharpay, one of the dolls (the size of a Barbie). She was so excited! As we were leaving I told her that was the best birthday present I had ever had and she said, "I knew you would say that. Sometimes I think I'm a genius." We decided to stop at Target on the way home and get the movie. Ellie then decided that we should see if they have more dolls because if we got the Gabriella and Troy combo then we could have a "mom, dad and sister". She has everything figured out!! And at Target we did find the movie and Gabriella and Troy. As we were leaving Target she was beaming from ear to ear and she said it was a High School Musical day. She got a shirt, she got to see the play, she got 3 dolls and she got a movie. It was almost her "best day ever."

We then went back to our house where Chuck was busy grilling. He made hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken breasts; he had picked up some salads and a birthday cake from Cold Stone. Tony and Darcy arrived shortly after we got there. During dinner Ellie decided that she and I would celebrate my birthday together every year ~ and next year we'll celebrate it at Disneyland! Tony and Darcy were laughing so hard that Darcy had tears rolling down her face.

Besides the Children's Theatre tickets, Aimee sent me a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of pink, white and lavender roses with a balloon; Erik gave me a gift certificate to Coldwater Creek; and Chuck gave me a 5-ticket package for the Minnesota Vikings including the Green Bay game. Erik also gave me his Blackjack phone which he has only had about 2 months because he got an iPhone. Chuck said if he could have found an iPhone he would have gotten me that because I really want one. I had so much fun playing with Erik's.

So I had a nice birthday. Tonight Erik and I are going to see Harry Potter. I've seen all of the movies on opening day and didn't want to break the tradition.

OH...I got a call from Ellie this morning to tell me that she's going to have a sister!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I read recently in my friend Jenn's blog that she liked colors and that got me thinking. The more I thought about it, the more I became aware that I also love colors. The best part of school starting each year was when I got my new box of Crayolas, and to this day I love opening the boxes in the store just to look at the rows of different colors. Whenever Crayola comes out with a "new" collection, I want a new box of my own.

The last couple days I have been working on sewing crafter's aprons (a take-off on carpenter's aprons) which I will (hopefully) sell at my table at the Minnesota Needlework Guild retreat in August. In preparation, I started going through the bins of fabric I have collected over the years (or in some cases inherited!) and realized how much I love just handling the fabric and looking at all the shades of color. I washed up oodles and oodles of pieces and, being conscious of the heat and the demand for electricity, I hung all the fabrics on the clothesline to dry. I found myself being drawn to the window or door to just look out at all the colors floating in the gentle breeze. Fortunately I am finding a use for some of the wonderful pieces of fabric I've collected. The question much of it can I stand to part with?

That got me thinking about the massive amount of paper I have accumulated for scrapbooking and how, again, I love to just lay it out, sort it by color or design or whatever. And again I am atrracted to the colors. I love buttons and floss and fibers and paint swatches and beads.

So, yes, I think I am in love with color!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


So far today, after making the requisite run to Starbucks for my daily caffeine, I have spent cooking. I haven't quite figured out how I end up spending half a day in the kitchen for a meal at someone else's house, but it seems to happen. Darcy wanted me to make potato salad since she says my potato salad is the "world's best". It's just potato salad...nothing special. I just make it the way my grandmother taught me to make it. Then I made a new "fruit surprise" for Ellie. This one is made with lemon pie filling and Cool Whip ~ and all the fruit I could pack in. I thought a lemon fruit surprise would be a refreshing change. And, since Tony is planning on grilling chicken breasts, I made baked cinnamon apples for Ellie, a la Famous Dave's, her favorite restaurant. Nothing was complicated; it just all took time. Now we're off to Tony and Darcy's for food, fun and fireworks!