Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Sleuthing Sister Celebrates Another Year!

Way back when, my sister used her babysitting money to buy her own Nancy Drew mystery books. So when I saw The Lost Files of Nancy Drew shown above, I knew I had found the theme for 2010! (We sisters always do themed birthday gifts you know.)
However, the gifts were not going to just fall in Sis' lap...she had to do a bit of sleuthing to get to them! First she had to paint a bit, then look for a hidden clue on the easel board. Once found, the clue had scrambled letters (she is a word geek like me) telling her where to look for her next clue. She quickly mastered the leathery box and dishwasher clues, but mattress totally stumped her.
Of course, Nancy Drew would need a flashlight, notebook, pens and magnifying glass to solve her mysteries, so Diann found these along with her clues.
Here she celebrates the victory of finally finding the mattress clue. Sweet victory at that.
Once all the clues were found, she had to solve yet another mystery with certain letters in the scrambled words being circled. If you do the newspaper JUMBLE puzzles, you'd know what to do. The circled letters were R E R Y D....or dryer. This stumped her a bit, too.
Once located, there was a bag full of goodies. And each gift related to a certain title of a Nancy Drew mystery with a tag on it featuring said title. For example, this gift had a tag of The Clue of the Tapping Heels (let's hear it for Google search for images of book jackets!) and inside the package were cute little red-heeled gardening shoes.
Though difficult to not keep these shoes for myself, they were just right for Sis and she slipped them right on...threatening to wear them on the train for our soon-to-come downtown trek.
Once all the packages were opened there was one final secret message with the little circles on the lower right side of the tag...can you figure out the message?
And then we left our condo to take the train downtown. It was a gorgeous clear day!
The building on the left is our destination --- the John Hancock building. We were going for lunch there on the 95th floor to the Signature Room because, just like Nancy, she had solved the clues and there was a victory lunch to celebrate the success of yet another case...er..ah YEAR!
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Macy's Flower Show...more on that later.
Happy Birthday to the Best (Sleuth) Sis in the World!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today this earth lost a very special young man, Peder Hedberg. He fought such a long fight, and touched so many lives in the process. He would have been 24 in just a couple of weeks. My heart breaks for his family: parents Hope and Paul, his brother and his wife, and for his girlfriend of many years, Taryn. Our love and prayers go out to all of you.
The picture above was taken in January of 2010 at the wedding of Anne and Petey.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The First Official "Gig" as FGM*

* Fairy Godmother When lovely Katie became engaged recently, I offered to be her FGM - just as her mother was the FGM when Anne was married a few years back. My, oh my, do I love this job! My presence was requested as Katie went to look for her dress - THE dress. We went to the same place that Anne got her dress: Wedding Belles in Barrington. In my opinion, this is the best place to go looking for the dress for the big day. This sweet little veiled lady greets the guests coming into the charming bridal gown house. She's about three feet tall, and has the most pleasant dispositon.Short gowns, long gowns, lacy gowns, classic gowns - all are uniquely wonderful and one-of-a-kind. They may have made a trip down a runway show in their past life, but now they rest in the shop waiting to accompany the bride home from her visit (with the proper monetary compensation, of course).
Sitting pretty is possible here while you wait for other brides to take their turn. And also while waiting the for final transaction between dress and bride. So cozy!
The rooms upstairs have such charm as well. Dresses spill out of wardrobe closets. Unlike other bridal shops, the bride may flit here and there looking for just what she might be looking for. Or finding something she has totally not considered, but once on her frame is seemingly the perfect dress. Katie looked stunning in every gown she tried on; making a choice would be tough. But, she did have her, "Oh, this is so me" moment and like she was told, "When you know, you KNOW!"
Back downstairs, this model bride awaits with a table full of tiaras and such, while nearby a
lone arm holds fancies for the wrists, sparkles and flowers for the hair.
Shoes sit waiting on the stairs to slip onto the feet of the bride to elevate or minimize her stature as she tries on the dress - THE dress.
Once the bride has on her dress, the consultants foof and puff, swirl and twirl the bride's hair into a coif to simulate the whole wedding day presentation. Brushing, pinning, fussing.
Of course this FGM won't be showing any pictures of this bride with her selection. But, let me assure you that she will look stunningly beautiful on her wedding day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wearin' O' the Green (Copycat Challenge #12/#13)

Little Miss Ellie has some droplets of Irish blood in her, thanks to the other side of the family! (Does it count more if Jed lived in Ireland a short time after he graduated from college?) Luckily, this Copycat Challenge/Blogging project based on the book by Vicki Haninger has some wearables included in the patterns! And luckily the blanket I'm using just happens to be green! The two patterns chosen ---the hat on pgs. 70-73 and the Elf Slippers on pg. 98 (again a freebie pattern available online at http://www.jennybharris.com/nnybharris.com/ ---were my inspiration.
What a jolly good time we had dressing Miss E in her St. Paddy's Day outfits. Her little Bumbo seat even got a covering of green. (How did we ever raise our kids in the old days without a Bumbo - they are amazing little contoured seats which allow even a little peanut to sit upright on a table or countertop supervised, of course, allowing the baby to be a part of food preparation activity or dinner conversation.)
Here's the model in her hat and elf, er, leprechaun shoes:
The shoes are pretty big on her tiny little feet...all the better for stuffing those gold coins in from the pot at the end of the rainbow I guess!
Ellie also modeled a green shirt with cute little shamrock-shaped pockets on the front side for her close-up head shot:
I learned something new with this project and that was how to use felt roving and a needle punch to insert the little green flower design right into the fibers of the green blanket.
She was such a dear to let us fuss over her and pose her here and there.
In fact, she seemed to rather like it. She is smiling these days and here's proof to Wes (again) that I beat him in this friendly little ongoing contest we have between the two of us.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to one and all!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Words, Words, Words

It must be stated here, right from the start: I am a word game geek. As long as I can remember, playing word games has been a favorite past-time. The first game I remember playing had orange letter cubes and a plastic orange cup for holding the cubes. You shook the cubes in the cup and then spilled them out and tried to make words out of the letters. The game: Spill and Spell. Happily, this game is still in my possession!
No Junior Scrabble for me as I got older...the real Scrabble was my next favorite. My whole family enjoyed this game, and my Mom was even playing it with finesse into her 80's.
In fact, my Nelson side loved to play all kinds of games. We'd get together for family reunions and learn new games --- and the word games were always my favorites. Enter Boggle, Perquackey, and Syzygy.

The good and bad about playing these games, however, is that they need two (or more) to play. Once the kids moved out, I was out of luck---Wes is not a fan of word games. My sister and I enjoy playing together, but again, she is not available around the clock as whim dictates.

How to solve this problem? Computer, of course. I play my CD ROM of Scrabble. And Facebook Lexulous is fun. I find "Lex" the robot to be a good partner these days. Funny that real "friend" people playing online caused me more stress due to my apparent competitive nature surfacing, so I have put that on hold for now.

Further proof of my word game geekiness is that as I try to fall asleep at night my brain gives me random letters to organize into words. I work on word endings, what words have the letters v, q, and k and w in them; I work on prefixes and compound words and words with many vowels and consanants. Sometimes I think counting sheep would be a whole lot more restful!

What do YOU think about as you are trying to head off to the Land of Nod??

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Oscar Dog (Copycat Challenge #11)

While watching the Oscars/Academy Awards on Sunday night, I was stitching away on yet another green wooly project. It seemed fitting to root for Meryl Streep in her role as Julia Child because she (and Julie Powell) inspired this whole Copycat Blogging Challenge thing after all as I create 40+ projects from the Blanket Statement book by Vicki Haninger.

The adorable Scottie dog on page 98 of the book is actually a freebie pattern! You, too, may find the pattern available at www.jennybharris.com/ if you search long enough. This is one saucy little dog. And I named him Oscar.

I gave him a zippy collar of striped ribbon. And, inspired by another Oscar name --- T-Bone Burnett who wrote the music for Crazy Heart (way to go for Best Actor, Jeff Bridges!) ---I "tweaked" this project with a detachable bone for little Oscar.

My thinking on this detachable bone for Oscar is that Ellie and I (eventually) can play a hide- and-seek kind of game based on the rhyme "Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone?" I can picture us searching high and low for where Oscar might have misplaced his bone. It's possible that this Gramma might hide it in the most unusual spots.

What were you doing while you watched the Oscars? I hope you had as much fun as I did...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Four Generations Strong

Not only is it a new experience for us to be grandparents and Anne and Jed to be parents, but the topper lately is seeing Wes' folks as GREAT grandparents. They came for a visit this past weekend to meet Miss Ellie.
It was so special to see them holding dear Ellie. I admit there were many flashbacks to the times they held Anne and John as little ones...they were about the same age as we are presently when we first introduced them to their first grandchild. Again we ask, "Where did the time go?"
Thank you so very much, E and M, for being brave about traveling here when we couldn't come there. We know that travel is harder with the passing of time. Thank you for climbing all those stairs to our place when an elevator would have been so much easier, but not possible with our City Nest. But most of all, thank you for the years and years of love you have given to all of us, and are now passing it on to the newest generation --- she's so lucky she could meet you!