Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

What a year! Shew! I'm tired just thinking about it. But smiling, too! I have travelled and seen so many things that I never dreamed. Visited with friends and family that I hold dear in my heart. It has been a great year. I won't bore you with the details, but you can take my word for it!

We will be spending the evening quietly, here at home. Sounds so lovely. I made a pot of funny soup- it'll be funny if anybody eats it! Just some of this and that- with almost no carbohydrates- something else I did this year. I ate way too much! Time to moderate!

These little blocks were designed by Sandra Peterson. (Check out her gallery at ) She is a local quilter- who got 2nd place at Paduccah, this year. Nice to know a celebrity, huh? And she's just as nice as she can be. Well, she made up these blocks for a paper piecing class that I had the chance to take this fall. I choose most of my fabrics from a new line of Tonga batiks. You didn't expect more than a brief foray into the world of flannel, did you? I was hoping to finish a small wallhanging of 4 blocks in time for the holidays... but somehow, time got away from me. Wonder how that happens? So, two blocks are done and I am hoping to finish the next two in the coming month. No hurry now that the year is at an end, right? As I get older, I have started to appreciate the winter months more. No, not the cold, but the time. Months stretched out before me with no weeds to worry with, no getting out because the roads are treacherous... just some time. When I was a kid I just hated this time of year- the months between Xmas and Easter. Cold and lacklustre. But now, I see it as a perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy the time. Time to cook a pot of slow-simmering soup. Time to read to the children- who aren't busting to get outside to play. Time to sew, and quilt, slowly, with no deadlines or obligations. Ahh... winter. It's not so bad as you might think!

Have a blessed year, my friends in blogland. I love our time, together, learning new things, meeting new people, and just laughing at ourselves, sometimes! ~Nina

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Smiles all around!
We have returned from our trip to Alabama. Most of us had never been there and, I think it is safe to say, we all had a wonderful time! It was much warmer there than here at home. Imagine that. When we visited one of the state parks(Tannehill) down there, the girls sighed and said they sure wished they could put their feet in the water... and I figured, well, why not? It was 45* and that seemed rather springlike to us. So in they went. And I'd just like to say for the record- not a sniffle has been heard and the water exploration happened days ago. I whispered to Bill that I didn't figure they'd last very long. I gave Eva 10 minutes- 'cause she's a duck and Bekah 2 minutes- 'cause she really doesn't like the cold. 30 minutes later, I was having to coax them out. I'll say it again. What a wonderful time we all had.
I am too tired to get much done, today. Just spending the day loafing and sleeping. Trips will do that to you, but my mental batteries have been all charged up and I am full of ideas of things that I would like to get done as soon as my old body catches up with my old brain!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays From Our Family To Yours!!

Holiday Cheer!

Told you I was gonna work with something other than batiks, eventually. I had a pretty good time, too. These are all flannels- Maywood Studios, Benartex, Marcus Brothers and Moda. I haven't worked much with flannel- it seems that people either love it or hate it. I thought it worked nicely- you do have to open some seams when there is a lot of bulk, but I do that with the batiks, so nothing too bothersome. I found this pattern in an old magazine- sorry, can't find it right now. But it was super simple with just hour-glass blocks and bear claws. Guess what? I put a dark green/watercolor minkee on the back- talk about a snuggly quilt! Hope you all have a wonderful Xmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Evabeth's feast...

Last, but not least... Evabeth is 8. She is a sweetheart, in a grown-up kind of way. She tends to take things seriously. She was with John when he last fell on his face and she promptly checked him out, said he was bleeding and then burst into tears. Give that girl a job, though, and you can count on it getting done. She is very attached to her younger sister. When Eva and I went shopping for her feast, she must have asked me 5 times, "What do you think Bekah is doing, now?" The only time you find them apart is when Bekah gets too cold outside and Eva still wants to play. Eva would stay outside all day if I let her. (Every 6 months we take her picture in this exact spot. It is at Riley Childrens' Hospital, in Indianapolis. My nephew is a patient there, also, and I think my sister should take his picture there, too. OK, Lisa?)



Her feast was scrumptious. While she and I were in the kitchen preparing her feast, Joe hollers in that she needs to hurry up because he is starving- he likes to tease the girls. She yells back, "The longer it takes, the gooder it will be!" Joe had a good laugh over that one! I think she was trying to create the atmosphere of a fancy restaurant, because she had Jacob stroll around the table playing his violin. He has a very loud violin-did you know different ones sound different- like a personality? Finally, she had to ask him to go ahead and stop, so we could hear ourselves think. She had chocolate dipped strawberries- she dipped them herself and they were soooo good. And she also had orange wedges in a big trifle bowl. She had to have candles at her feast because she knows how much the boys like to squeeze the oil from the peels and make sparks over the flame. You haven't tried that? Well, it is a lot of fun and I don't normally condone such behavior... but it WAS feast day!(Bill is getting nervous that the boys' table manners are going to shock the southerners... I have a feeling I know what he'll be talking about during their 9 hours of captivity on the drive down to Bama.) She had chocolate milk in stemware- Abe is going to be so happy when the fancy glasses get put away. He has to cover the top of the cup with one hand as he lifts it and brings it to his lips- to keep it from spilling over! He is so careful. Her main course was waffles, polish sausages and poptarts. giggle. But they thoroughly enjoyed everything. Her dessert was angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. She went around the table and used her best British accent to take their orders for dessert. When they said they'd have both strawberries and whipped cream on their cake she'd thank them for co-operating!


We found a deal on her gifts. they were clearing out some shelves at Walmart- making these little stationary kits down to 10cents. We bought about 20, at least. They had a stapler, extra staples, tape and a hole punch- all in a cute little plastic duffle bag. She was so tickled with the find- she loves to draw and doodle and paste and punch. She could stay quite content in my scrapbook supplies- she has her own collection of less expensive papers. All in all, the feast season passed very well.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Paper garland...

Do we take Xmas cards for granted? I sure don't! I just love them!! I get all excited when we receive them. Will it have a wonderful pastoral scene? Or better yet, glitter? Oh, I do love the glitter ones. Or maybe something funny? Or whimsy? Or some adorable woodland animals? They are just so much fun to get! Of course, the fact that they come from loved ones and family and friends... well, that's nice, too! But can you imagine what a cool thing it would be to get these colorful little creations say, 100 years ago? What a treasure! I do have a problem with them, though. I can't bear to part with them. Just throw them away? Oh, say it never comes to that!! This is just one of the uses we have found for cards around our house. We make garlands out of them. Isn't it just too festive and fun? We crop them down to a nice size- I love the cropper- it has done for scrapbooking what rotary cutters have done for quilting. Sometimes, we even get 2-3 peices from a card. We punch holes in the upper corners and string them on satin ribbon- I get a whole roll for 50 cents. Ivory usually looks best, I think, but blue would be pretty as well as traditional green or red. I go under the card with my ribbon so that it doesn't cover any of the picture. They look great over the mantle- if you have one, or across a window sill or sash. I have ours hanging on the wainscoting. We also make gift tags from them and even hang them on the tree- very pretty. But the one most people rave over is the garland. It makes a really wonderful, homemade, thoughtful gift- at no expense! It is kind of victorian and just charming. And it saves a beautiful peice of paper from being thrown away. So it's "green", too. Cool.

Closer look at garlands...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

John's Feast...

Some of you may feel that this isn't a good picture of John. Trying to find a picture of John where his lip, eye or mouth isn't bashed in... now that's a challenge. His older brothers keep threatening to teach him to put his hands out and catch himself. And yet, to no avail. John is like that. He's funny and happy. Happy and funny. He is 11 years old and a bundle of energy and enthusiasm.

His feast was an extravaganza of kingdomness. At least, that's what he said! He had the table decorated with a golden lame table cloth, lots of candles, the good china with the gold edges... and colored twinkle lights. His gift was an assortment of mugs. His meal... well, his apetizer was Totino's pizza rolls and a pomegranate- (have you ever eaten a pomogranate? If you haven't you really need to try them. They are yummyliscious. Even if I can't spell them correctly. We just score the peel- like you do when you are peeling an orange and pull it apart. Now, there are a lot of seeds but well worth the effort.) His main course was home-made macaroni and cheese with little smokies in it and... beenieweenies. Wouldn't you just love to visit this kingdom? "Sire, your beenie weenies are served." A regal dish. And he had pomagranite floats or rootbeer floats. His dessert was orange dream popcicles. What a kid!
And I forgot! He also made crowns for everyone out of gold foil and glued little plastic jewels on them. So I had a table of royalty!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do you see what I see?...
do you see what I see?... a star, a star...
Nope, scratch that! ...a pucker and a pleat, just waiting to be quilted in...
It's not nearly so poetic. And it ain't pretty, either. See how taut the quilt is on the bottom- which is the right side of the quilt- and how floppy it is on the top(left side?) Today, I'm going to take a minute and describe the problem, the cause and the remedy. Just in case some of you are mystified. And I know that this has probably happened to all of us, but we don't want it to ever happen again, now do we? This is not by any means an exhaustive study on the topic, just what works for me...
This quilt is basically a quilt of borders. Just long vertical stripes. I think it is a cute quilt- love the colors. It's for a 3 year old's daybed. (Guess what? The backing is horizontal stripes. Another quilt of borders.) The cause of this extra fabric on one side of her quilt is simple. She started on the right side and kept adding to the left. She would sew on a strip- until she came to the end- and then lop it off, add another strip, lop it off. Guess what happens? Yes, the fabric that is being sewn stretches and grows with every additional strip until the finished quilt is 7 inches longer on the left than on the right! No kidding. Now that the quilt has lots of fullness sewn in, there is no way to quilt it out. No way to cut it out. One just has to ease it in. And I consider myself the queen of ease, but there is only so much one can do with 7 inches. I did get the finished quilt to be only one inch longer on the left side, but with a fair amount of puckering in the quilting. You just can't tighten it flat because the right side is stretched to it's limits. Understand?
Now that we have shown where the fullness/length comes from, and some of the things that won't fix it (I don't consider puckers in a quilt top an acceptable fix) let's look at a more reliable remedy. Any time you are adding strips to the side of a quilt-such as in borders- always measure the quilt across it's middle, cut the strips to fit and then with a few pins, make it fit. Please avoid the temptation to make the quilt fit a strip. There is just too much room for variation. But think about it. If I am adding a 50" strip to both top and bottom of my quilt and a 62" strip to both sides- my quilt is going to be the same size all the way around. The sides are the same and the top and bottom are the same. Ain't that cool? Now for a quilt of vertical stripes, I'd think the best way of tackling it would be to cut all of your strips to the desired length and then, starting with the middle stripe, add a strip to each side, pinning, until completed. It only takes a few pins to hold the strips in place- one in the middle, one at each end and maybe two more in between the middle and the end. No more oddly shaped quilts! And it is such an easy step to do- a little measuring and a little pinning. No puckers, no floppy borders... ahh... all is right in the world.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jacob's Feast...

Jacob(14y) is our third son. He's very quick on the up-take- you know, the kid who always gets the joke a few seconds before anyone else. He has always been a very easy child to be around- as long as you didn't expect him to do things like the other boys. He is more than capable of entertaining himself and never minded being different. He's very creative and loves being outdoors. He loves to read- especially books about survival or animals. He has an extensive rock collection and can spot a geode a mile away. He plays the fiddle and likes bluegrass music. Not your typical teen. And we like that about him!

His feast was uniquely his own. He popped in a bluegrass cd and took the children their gifts before they were invited in- bandanas in different colors and designs. The had to wear them to the feast. His bluegrass music was a hint- he was having a hoe-down! He had removed the kitchen table and had set up a "fire ring" in the middle of the kitchen floor. He had gathered some big rocks from the borders of my flower garden- no simple feat considering that they were covered in snow and frozen to the ground! Inside of his fire ring, he had stacked some wood, some flickering light bulbs and a kerosene lamp. It was really cool. We all sat around the "fire" on quilts and he served up a super feast of down-home food, all offered up in big cast iron skillets. He had boneless bbq chicken wings for an appetitzer, pop in bottles, and then steak, mashed potatoes, corn from the garden and white rolls- I don't rememer the last time I made rolls with white flour, but there was a whole lot of pounding on the floor, that night! Apparently, they liked them alot. We had also sweetened our butter with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon. His dessert was Texas sheet cake- which everyone groaned as they ate because they were just too full! It kept, and I noticed the whole pan had disappeared by lunch the next day. A couple of the older boys cringed over the choice of music, but they were good-natured about it. It really was a great feast!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Joe's feast...

Meet Joe. He's 17 and a perfectly nice fella. People tend to really like Joe. What's not to like? He has a ready smile and a quiet way. I was trying to think of the right words to describe Joe and I asked Abe, "What's a good thing about Joe?" and Abe answers back real quick, "He loves us." Yep, he does. He is very sweet with all of his brothers and sisters. I've never heard him complain about them getting into his things or bugging him. Joe likes to read and draw and is working, full-time, for Habitat For Humanity. He does have a facial hair fascination, but no one's perfect.

Joe's feast was a great event. He had decided that he would buy the kids a movie to share as their gift and then he would serve up a "movie night!" How fun is that? He bought them the new Harry Potter movie and you should have seen the raptures over that! Joseph got a big kick out of the girls' squeals and their big eyes! Because he works and doesn't get home until dinner time, he kept his feast simple but full of the things that the kids like the best. We had our Bible reading and prayer in the living room and then he shooed all of the kids up to the family room. He served them pizza and soft pretzels and, of course, popcorn. He had a 5 gallon bucket full of ice and canned pop. His dessert was the biggest bowl I have, filled to the brim, with candy. Talk about a sugar high! It took Abe two days to mellow out!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

July 4th...

Well, yeah I know it isn't July... You see, this is how it starts...

Every spring, around April, I get all geared up to make a Quilt of Valor. A quilt for a soldier. I figure that I could finish it by July. Seems, kinda, more patriotic that way. Does it ever happen? Nope. The quilt always gets done, mind you, but closer to Christmas than 4th of July. And every year, I have no idea where the quilt is going...but by the time I am finished, someone has told me about "this soldier" and suddenly my quilt has a home. It just works out that way. Quilt done by Christmas and going to a soldier that knows somebody that I know. So I don't consider it a failure. Just a slight delay.

I think this quilt has a cool story. I started it in, yep, April. Some of you may remember the starter block. I messed around with the design until I came up with something I (and the guys in my family) liked. I loved the printed batik. Maybe not traditional patriotic fabric, but it works for me. So I have my design and a stack of fabric and I start cutting and sewing. I had to put the project up at the end of May because I was going on a big trip out West, to Oregon. Here's where it gets kinda fun.

I waited in the airport for 5 hours. No, this is not the fun part, but it had a vital role in the unfolding of this story. There was a rainstorm in Ft. Worth, so the planes were all delayed. When we finally boarded our plane, I was a little stir crazy and knowing me, I strike up a conversation with my flight companion. Now, I don't always do this. I flew all the way to Boston with nary a word passing my lips aside from, "Diet Coke, please." See? I can be quiet when I wanna be. But I had sat and sat and sat at the Indianapolis airport... and I was ready to reconnect with the human race. So... my flight companion. He was an older gentleman. A sweet face. I said hello and aren't you glad we're finally taking off and why are you traveling to Ft Worth? Yes, it was nosy and I hate to say it, but I'll get a whole lot worse in just a few minutes. He says he is going to help his daughter take care of her new baby while her husband comes to Indy for the 500. I said how sweet that was. Then I ask if he's retired and he said no, he was going to retire, but then his wife passed away and what was the point of being home all day, alone? Well, that is very sad, indeed. How did she pass?- oh, yes, I did. Can you believe it? Well, he starts to munch rather slowly on his package of trail mix... She had been sick for a while and then she took her own life. Oh! I am so sorry! And incredibly shocked- not at all the answer I would have expected. But you know what? He seemed to really want to talk about it. I'm not just saying that because I pried it out of him. He didn't get into details, thankfully, but he was really working through his grief and it was, oddly enough, a beautiful thing to hear and watch as he described how he had finally decided that her actions weren't a reflection of him and their 40 year marriage. She was a good mother and wife, but she had diabetes and mental illness and a failing mind can kill you just as fast as a failing heart can. That made a whole lot of sense to me. Chronic illness takes it's toll on the whole person.

He had a very gentle way about him. He went on to describe his family and you could just see how proud he was of his son and daughter. His son was in the Navy and was due to retire in 2008- he loved the Navy, but he knew he needed to be home with his wife and three small children... Eureka! Yep, I just got my military quilt an assignment! (I was even more forward and asked him for his address and his son's name... and believe it or not, he gave it to me. I guess I looked harmless enough.) And then he was telling me about his daughter who had finally had her first child at nearly 40 years of age- after years of wondering if it would ever happen- guess who that "Leaping Lizards!" quilt is for? Alex Rex is his grandson.

It's funny how a little conversation with a complete stranger... who had such sadness in his life... made me feel better about the world. Yes, there's a lot of brokenness around us, but there is a lot of strength, too. And that should encourage all of us to keep trying. Maybe, to be more watchful of opportunities to serve and help. Service seems to be politically incorrect, but really, it's a pathway to joy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bekah's feast...

This is Rebekah and she's 6 years old. And her favorite color is purple. She's a very sweet girl with a timid soul but a very courageous heart. I say she is my bravest child because the others are so fearless, they have little to overcome. Bekah isn't like that. She's plenty afraid, but she pushes herself past that and is just a really lovely person. She loves taking care of people and is, oddly enough, our only child to have suffered a broken bone or stitches. She's good company and a pleasure to be around. She loves hanging out with me and is most often found wherever I am, drawing pictures of beautiful princesses with long flowing hair.

Her feast was last night and we had such a good time in the kitchen, together. "Mom, you just keep cooking there, while I take care of this bread." She's a natural at the cooking, herself, and even I was amazed at how much she knew. She made "nuthins" for her appetizer- blueberry muffins. Her main dish was spaghetti- 'cause it's daddy's favorite- and italian bread. Her dessert was chocolate chip cookies-also daddy's favorite... do we see a trend here? and ice cream sundaes. We had to get vanilla ice cream because... yep, it's daddy's favorite. As you can tell by the picture, he was very appreciative. Apple cider to drink and "chrismassy lollipops" for her gifts. Every now and then, she would holler out through the curtain to her siblings, "I hope I'm not taking too long! I'm certainly trying not to!" So funny. Such a responsible hostess.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Abe's Feast...

This is Abe. He's four. He's been called a lot of things...snickerdoodle, buggerhead, snugglebug, and sugarplum...just to name a few. Abe has a very sunny disposition. He is the youngest of our eight children. He is adorable and it would be very easy to baby him...if he didn't have 5 older brothers. His brothers have pretty much made a stand that he isn't to be babyfied- just 'cause he's the youngest. They treat him like a man, and usually he lives up to their expectations. He does get a whole lot of attention, but what ya gonna do with 10 people living in the house? He ran errands with me a couple days before his feast and we were gone for 9 hours- not a whine or a wiggle. As good as gold. One and a half hours was spent with the dietician- he ate breakfast there and drew on the paper napkins. I spent an hour in the quilt shop- he sat and played with his one puzzle. The rest of the day was spent in and out of the car and he just kept hopping... in and out, commenting, ever so politely, about the weather and the state of the roads- they were "slick as snot." OK, that was my observation, and he spent the rest of the day amazed by the quantity of snot on the roads. "It's really gross, Mom." I finally explained what a "metaphor" is and he seemed quite relieved.

Abe planned his own feast. He's been plotting for quite some time, because when I asked what he would like to serve his guests, he immediately listed off his appetizer, entree and dessert. If it didn't sound so much like him, I might have thought he had been coached. The older boys like to use him like a ventriliquits does his doll. "Abe say, What's up with the dealio?" And he's a brilliant mimic. He had apples with dip- that caramel stuff. When we were shopping, he saw the mini marshmallows- the rainbow variety, and says, "This would work, Mom." And they "worked" very nicely. He served fetticini with bread sticks- which he twisted himself and dipped into garlic butter. His dessert was jello. What 4 year old doesn't love jello? With fruit in it, of course. And whipped cream on top. He picked the brightest of my tableclothes for the table. (A vintage one with red morning glories on it.) We found some chandelier parts from the thrift shop and paired them up with a couple candlesticks from the dollar store- sweet! Added two red tapers and Abe had his feast. I almost forgot about his gift. He found these glow sticks that are attatched to these funky mouthpeices... anyway, when you are all standing in a dark room it's a riot!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Daniel's Feast...

Daniel is 16. He's the coolest dude I know. Without even trying or caring. He loves to hunt- and is very good at it. If he's home, he's either studying or shooting hoops- Indiana has a basketball hoop in every yard, I'm pretty sure. He volunteers at Habitat For Humanity for more hours than they can admit, and is a real hard worker. He loves to eat- must have a tape worm 'cause he is just so skinny. But every time I make soup, he comes in and sniffs and says, "Oh Mom!! I knew you loved me!" What's not to love? Can I just get off-topic for a moment... See that hat? Daniel loves his hats. He has a camoflage Ted Nugent ball cap that he loves. It is tattered and torn and that's what he likes about it. Some of you may only know Ted Nugent as a rocker, but he is some kinda crazy hunting enthusiast, too. Well, a friend of Dan's "borrowed" his hat and took it to Alabama. Daniel didn't know where it had gone, but you should have seen the moping and the searching- he even secretly accused "Elder Carter and Elder Campbell" of lifting it! Those poor baby-faced Mormon volunteers... When Daniel found out that it had been "borrowed" -as a joke, he was so aggravated- stomping around the house, accusing his brothers of being disloyal, as they were in cahoots with the hat-napper- Dan was cahooted. All in good fun, mind you. So the friend sent this Alabama hat as a substitute- it's a very cool cap. He's been wearing it, but we all tease him about being unfaithful to his beloved "Nuge" hat. We're hopefully headed down to Alabama at the end of the month- Dan thinks for the primary purpose of retrieving his hat.

So, about Daniel's feast... he had a cheese theme. Only a 16 year old guy could think of that. He decorated his table with little white lights and Cheeze-its. We kept eating the decorations! His appetizer was cheese and crackers- several different kinds. His entree was what we call Cheesy-Burger buns. My friend, Kim, started that. You use your favorite roll recipe, let rise, and divide it into pieces- layer cheese then a meat mixture(hamburger seasoned with some tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, paprika...whatever, to make it tasty) and then another piece of cheese. Wrap it all up into a ball that is about the size of a tennis ball. Let rise, again and bake with the sealed-side down. The cheese gets all melty... mmmm. He also had chili-cheese fries. Two bucks for what he had for dessert...yep, cheescake with cherries. I could feel my arteries clogging as I ate. I probably don't have cheese even once a month, and here we were eating it by the bucketful. Wallace and Grommit would have been in cheese-heaven. Daniel had Coca-cola in little bottles for his drink. He gave everyone their own pack of bubble gum for their gift. He was annoyed that he couldn't find anything "cheesy" for a gift, but the kids are still chomping on the gum, so it was a big hit.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Leapin' Lizards!

This is a little quilt for a little feller. His name is Alex Rex. Now, I thought that was an odd combination for a name, too. But I'm not one to talk. Nothing near as odd as my kids! Turns out he is named after both of his grandfathers, so I think that's real sweet. Alex is celebrating his 1st birthday this month and I still need to get the label on- it's all printed up and only needs about 10 minutes of attention and then it'll be on it's way. This is a Twisted Sister pattern- called "truly twisted" because the fans run in alternate directions. That was accidental, because I forgot to lay out all of the fabric right-side up when I was cutting around the template. But hey! it's fun, right? And I thought that the lizard fabric was bright and cheery and he'd still think it was cool when he's 5y. Can't wait to show you the one that is going to his uncle. But I didn't have my tallest helpers here today and I could only get a corner in the frame... Maybe next time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Paul's feast...
The feast days began with Paul this year. (For those of you wondering what a "feast day" is, please feel free to peruse the archives from last December.) Paul is DS #4. He is still waters. He doesn't say a whole lot, but what he does say has been carefully thought out and pondered for days and days. Then it all bubbles over and it is... kinda amazing. He is brilliant- I never taught him to read. He taught himself. Just listening as I taught one of his older brothers. I never had a clue he was learning until he sat down and read me a book. Quintessential Paul. Unless you think he is flawless, let me just say that I am always in-the-know of where he has been and what he has been up to by the "Hansel and Gretel" trail he leaves behind. A trail of shoes, socks, wrappers and miscellaneous objects follow him. I apologize now to his future wife- I really have tried to train him better, but he's something of an absent-minded professor type. His mind is just too busy to pay attention to silly things like picking up after himself. But a sweeter, more conscientious young man, you'll never meet.
Paul is a huge Redwall fan. Redwall is a series of childrens' books written by an Engishman named Brian Jacques. These stories revolve around a group of mice and their woodland friends- and enemies. Paul's feast had a theme- Redwall. Think lots of nuts and fruit! Brian Jacquess spends an inordinate amount of time describing the feasts that take place at Redwall Abbey. Paul loves detail. His appetizers were tiny, little mouse-sized tarts filled with cheese or fruit. He made them himself of Pillsbury pie crusts and Black current jam mixed with blackberries and raspberries. His beverage was "black current wine" (grape juice mixed with 7-up) and "strawberry fizz" (Hawaiian punch mixed with 7-up.) He had dishes filled with dried fruit and honey-roasted peanuts. Then things got interesting, because he started getting concerned that there wouldn't be enough food. You can't appreciate how concerned he was. Paul is not a "whatever" kinda guy. Everything's deliberate and thought out. So he had creamed corn from the freezer, a fruit salad, cheese sticks, and then potpies. (Redwallians are, of course, vegetarians, but Paul was thoughtfully considerate of his brothers who are not the biggest seafood fans.) His dessert was cherry and apple turnovers with whipped cream. He made these with just pie filling and crescent rolls and we all agreed they were very tasty. I think Brian Jaques would have approved! He had the cutest gifts- he found 4 wooden spoons for a $1. So we bought two sets and cut all of the handles down to the same size. We wrapped those in a peice of homespun- for napkins- and tied them with raffia. So they had to eat their meal with a wooden spoon! So funny, as the spoon was a mite bigger than Abe's mouth. He managed. Paul needn't have worried about there being enough food- we all had to be rolled away from the table. That's all part of a feast, though!