Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This will explain my absence...........

This is my Dad. I have just finished the first draft of his obituary, and sent it off. I've included it below, because it says it all. There are a few blanks that someone else is going to fill in, but they aren't central.


CLINTON – Raymond James Nile, the elder son of Irene Lillian Nile Childs, ended his battle with cancer at his home on Sunday, April 26, 2009. Those who knew and loved Ray knew that he lived his life with strength, dignity, courage and humor, and battled his cancer in much the same way.
Ray Nile was born at home in Langtown Plantation, Maine on September 28, 1939. He attended Stratton and Kingfield schools, and graduated from Stratton High School in 1958. Throughout his boyhood, he hunted and fished and worked at logging in the woods of Maine’s Western Mountains, learning alongside his grandfather and uncles. After high school graduation, he worked full-time in the woods before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He trained extensively in radio repair, and served in Evreux, France in the 37th Air Support Group. Although that airbase was eventually closed, the airmen who served there continue to hold regular reunions, and Ray delighted in traveling and meeting with his fellow servicemen. Upon returning to the U.S. and civilian life, Ray was employed by IBM in Boston in the Customer Service division, starting as a Field Engineer, and retiring after 4x years as a ?Service Manager? His expertise and skill continued to be sought out, and he contracted his services as a ?Fiber Optic something-or-other? Ray retired in December 2006, and took up his battle with cancer in January 2007.

Ray married Laurie Jo Scribner on December 27, 1958, and together they raised 4 children. Their marriage ended in 1979. Eventually, Ray met Susan Kowalczik and they married on November 25, 1989. Ray and Sue divided their time between residences in Pembroke, Massachusetts (during the workweek) and Clinton, Maine (on weekends).
Ray loved to keep busy, and was perpetually active, whether working at his job or on a project at home, or bringing a lively and competitive spirit to his recreational pursuits, particularly golfing, riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle, and gardening. He loved to travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. on golfing excursions, and he and Sue were very happy to purchase a home at The Villages, where he looked forward to golfing, dining, and tooling around in a golf cart. Even while fighting cancer, he golfed, gardened and traveled to Florida when he was able.

Ray is survived by his devoted wife Sue; his 4 children and 5 grandchildren: David Nile and his wife Paula, of Stratton, Maine, and their daughter Emma; Wendy Nile Black and her husband Jeff, of Biddeford, and their sons Ian, Evan, and Sean; Michael Nile of -------------, Massachusetts; and Jonathan Nile of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and his son Sovann, of Oquossoc, Maine. In addition, he is survived by all of his 5 siblings: Donna Maine and her husband of Stratton, Maine; Richard Nile and his wife Carla of Mexico, Maine; Hazel Nile of Evergreen Manor in Farmington, Maine; Genevieve Dubois and her husband Carl of Clinton, Maine; and Bethany Redmond and her husband Marc/k of ------------, Maine. He also leaves behind 8 nieces and 4 nephews. [ Ray was predeceased by his parents and a stillborn daughter.]

A private graveside service is planned. There will be a Celebration of Life for all who knew and loved Ray, to be held soon. A date and place are being determined.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ray’s honor to:

The American Cancer Society

Disabled American Veterans
(these addresses need to be filled in)

*******Me again************
We have a service on Sunday and I'll be gone Sat. and Sun. to travel for it. So I might continue to post a bit unpredictably............
In the meantime, enjoy this YouTube video . (Get your hanky!) You can also view by clicking on any of the pictures in the video bar in the upper right.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Home Decorating, start with new paint!

Do you remember I finally chose Behr Paints Cheyenne Rock for my dining room walls? In no time, my husband had it up on the walls! It is gorgeous! I need to take more photos...he has since painted the chair rail a creamy white called Pearl Drop, and it really pops. I forced a vase of forsythia, and you should see how awesome screaming yellow looks against it.Okay, you will see it. I'll cut some more and when they're open I'll take daylight pictures. With the fresh and clean chair rail in the pics. The next picture shows you my lame valances--too small, too shallow, too blah, and cheap brass-tone hardware too boot...Has anyone painted over cheap metal hardware? I wanted to put up robin's egg blue/aqua sheers and top them with a bigger valance, maybe in a red toile de Juoy (sp.? ) on an aqua/pale green ground...already have the fabric, pics to come... Would love to paint all the wood trim white, but hubby cringes when I say things like that, so I'll be content with the white chair rail for now. I think I'll install the curtain rods higher and wider over the window, too, for a more expansive look. (No, I didn't mean more expensive.) Anyway, I'd like to get some touches of red into the dining room, as accents, and to make it more cohesive with my red kitchen and sitting room. Yes, that's right, my husband also painted alotta walls alotta red for me! Imagine the shock for us, after 12 years of white walls, and I ain't talkin' tires here! Okay, this is a tiny bit redder than what I wanted (and what the swatch looked like). I should have seen it coming, since it's called: Behr Paint Daredevil Red!

When we moved in, my husband, who is more partial to beige, and brown, and beige and white, accented with beige, said that the first thing that would have to go were the red countertops in the kitchen. I said "Over my dead body! If anything goes it's the heavy '80's oak cabinets!", a statement which he found equally as shocking, feeling as he does about wood and beige tones. I wanted (and still want) to paint the cabinets white, or at least one of those lighter "pickle" finishes. Well, having the inertia of glacial movement (hey, well, ya' know, it's cold up here in Maine), our kitchen counters are still red, and the cabinets still that dated (now, more so), honey oak. And now everything's 12 years' worth more worn and dingy. But I still love my red counters. And I still envision white cabinets. Since that time, we've put up a tiny apple print wallpaper (a little dated and trite, but I still like it okay), but nothing else has changed, and it needs a good sprucing up. I really should take pictures, but gee, there're dirty dishes in the sink, and the counters look cluttered and the windows aren't clean , and, and --well, we'll see. I envision a kind of Alpine Chalet look with red gingham and eyelet curtains and kitschy vintage aprons and lace shelf-edging. Next thing you know, I'll be out milking the goats in my wooden clogs and dirndl skirt, and yodeling....
I suppose you'll want pictures of that too....don't hold your breath.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is risen indeed!

Oh, welcome and happy day! At the break of dawn, I was up with poster board, poster paint and the lousiest paintbrush making the poster for the door. And taking the black drape off of the cross and adding the white lilies, garlanding the grapevine with yellow gingham ribbon. What a celebration I had all by myself in the quiet of the morning!
And the whole time humming to myself, (but hearing choirs of angels singing in triumph), "Jesus Christ is ris'n today, a-a-a-a-a-lle-e lu-u-ia!" Humming because I didn't know the rest of the words. But I got to sing all the words today at the top of my lungs. My voice was cracking because I'd get teared up. But it didn't matter, there were so many other voices joining and covering my own. And the majestic organ ringing out from the choir loft. Soooooo uplifting..i wish you coulda been there. But if you weren't, I hope you were rattling the rafters in your own house of worship.
And feasting and celebrating with your loved ones this afternoon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

This is how my front door looks today.....I wish I had a crown of thorns to attach at the top of the cross, but in the absence of that, the grapevine wreath left bare, reminds me of one.
When I first hung this, this morning, I couldn't set up the camera and take a picture... I was too overcome. Good Friday affects me this way. Tonight at our tenebrae service, we'll hear the soulful spiritual: Were you there when they crucified my Lord?, sung a capella from the choir loft over the congregation, sitting in utter and desparate darkness. I can hardly type for tears....
And I'll be thinking ...."they crucified my Lord? they nailed him to the tree? they? WE crucified him,, I crucified him, I denied him, I nailed him to the tree....." and when I don't think I can take it anymore, Pastor Horner, will bring the Paschal candle back to the sachistry, and one single tiny flame will cast its light upon us all, flinging its illumination to the far corners, glistening off teary cheeks, reminding us of the Hope that remained, then, and the Hope that remains now...........
Oh, if you have Good Friday thoughts, traditions, prayer requests to share, please leave a comment.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Week & Sewing, What's the Connection, You Ask?

Sew, a change from knitting and embroidery and home dec. Let's talk for a minute about sewing.....

I shopped today.............

And if you've been paying attention, I've said I wasn't going to do that............

But it all started when I read an awesome post on the Living Proof Ministries blog yesterday (see it here); and I couldn't help but post a comment. (Okay, I wasn't trying not to-as a matter of fact, I post comments a lot now, because I know what it's like to wonder if anyone is reading, whether anyone's lurking, whether anyone's connecting....) It was about Easter traditions and memories. And I realized I had done nothing to prepare for Easter. Although, I'd love to have a new Easter frock every year, I don't spend the money unless I have to. And by have to, I mean, have I outgrown everything pretty and decent I own? The answer is yes, not that I'm bigger than last year, but I can't even remember what I wore to make do last year....

So this is why I'm excusing myself from the stash moratorium. I went fabric shopping today. Just Walmart in Scarborough, and JoAnn's in Portland. And here is what I found...
The 4 fabrics above, and below are 2 chiffon-y prints and 2 solids. The lighter print is from Walmart, 58", and only $2.44/yd. I'll use it for the short-sleeved 2-piece dress on the pattern. The dark chocolate print is the Easter dress material; I'll make it into the long dress with the 3/4 flared sleeves. However, these fabrics are too sheer to wear unlined, but rather than an attached lining, I'll make a slip/underdress with the taupe and the pink. (See the long sleeveless version of the dress? It's pink on the pattern envelope) I'll make the pink right away for Easter. The beauty is both prints look lovely over both solids!
For fun, I'll show you the other fabrics I found. I wish these photos had come out better, still on the learning curve with DigCam. Both of these fabrics are lightweight sheer polyester georgette, like the prints above (I called them chiffon, but maybe I meant georgette). They could be used for dresses in a similar fashion, lined or with a separate underdress/slip.

Now, these are more home dec. The pale blue solid is more of a mint, and is a sheer, like for under a valance in the dining room. I have some already in the stash, not even sure if they match..... The red gingham was so cheap, and all that was left in red, so I had to get it (2.25 yds for <$4.00). I've been wanting to try my hand at smocking and ric-rac embellishment on retro-style aprons, and my kitchen is red (and begging for white trimming and accents, but that's another post). And finally that blue lattice/pink rose is so vintage-looking.....perfect for.well, I'm not sure, I think it needs to age further in my stash..........The best among these is on the bottom, kind of a homedec herringbone, in lovely soft turquoise and chocolate......not exactly sure what it's destined cushion covers (very small swatch, though). There's also a big hunk of yellow fleece, so sunshine-y, plain white flannel (I have a nightgown that needs modifying), and a white shiny polyester fabric shot through with a little glitter-y something or other. I have ideas for fabrics like that, but I'll go into that another time....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Praying for Jonah

I was reading Rhoda's blog for decorating tips yesterday, and followed a link to the blog of one of her commenters and I became curious about a badge I saw in her said "Praying for Jonah". (See sidebar to the right) Funny how a little click can open up a whole new world unfolding nearby or far away of which you are completely unaware. I spent the next few hours reading the "Williams Family Blog", and weeping, and praying.
I'll summarize: Patrice and Matt are young twenty-somethings in NC, probably married a couple of years. Patrice started the blog (about a year ago) about a month before their first baby, a boy named Gabe, was due. And then almost immediately after the blog begins, Gabe died in utero, and had to be delivered stillborn. The doctors were unable to determine any specific cause of death. Patrice faithfully records her and Matt's grief, with pure and honest references to their faith. She shares their sorrow and their joy, and chronicles time with their families, including the handfuls of toddling nieces and nephews they enjoy at every event. In no time, (for the reader anyway), Patrice discovers she is again pregnant, and the long months of anxious waiting begin. All check-ups are reassuring of the new baby's health, but naturally Patrice experiences a great deal of anxiety - like any new mother, but amplified by the raw emotion of Gabe's all-too-recent demise. Finally, the waiting is over, and the doctors induce Patrice's labor at 37 weeks . All goes as planned, and Jonah finally makes his triumphant entrance into the world.....and into the lives of countless hundreds, even thousands in the blog world. Patrice and Matt are immediately faced with the nightmare of health problems for their little one, as it is obvious that Jonah has a serious skin condition, he has blisters, and in some areas, his skin has sloughed off. He was only just born this 2/27/09, and spent the first 5 weeks in NICU at a children's hospital. His diagnosis is EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa), which is a connective tissue disorder which causes the skin layers to be inadequately adhered to one another, rendering the skin impossibly delicate. It also affects the GI tract, creating blisters in the mouth and throat just by the normal sucking forces of natural breast or bottle feeding. The fragility of the skin and oral mucosa represents a breach in the body's natural barrier against infection, these babies are constantly at risk.....I'm not sure what Jonah's prognosis is, but it's clear that the degree of severity in these cases varies widely, and apparently Jonah's case is on the more severe end of the spectrum. Jonah has rallied like a champ, and Patrice and Matt have their hands full, learning how to bathe, feed, and handle him. He truly requires "kid" gloves, and cannot be firmly snuggled, swaddled, or even conventionally diapered.
Reading about their battle is wrenching and exhausting, but compelling. There are people all over the world on their knees, praying for this little guy and their young parents. How can I help it, I am now one of them.....but I am so aware of my own limitations, even as I pray for Jonah, I am aware of how much more motivated I am because of the blog, with pictures and detailed descriptions. If somebody had said to me, "Oh, by the way, pray for a baby with a serious disease", I would likely pray once and barely remember it the next day. But to have become invested emotionally in the life of a stranger, I have required Patrice's skillful blogging, plenty of baby pics, and the eloquent blog posts of others, and the community feeling of a "movement". In the back of my mind, I know there are thousands of babies in children's hospitals, NICUs, and even at home, facing similar challenges, some harder, some easier, all of whom merit our love and makes me glad there is a God, because he does keep track of them all, cares about all of them, and is not limited by our human worries, fatigue, lack of imagination, selfishness. Which brings me to why I'm writing. Jonah may be just one baby in thousands who need our prayers, but he's the one I "know". I think it is good for me to weep and pray and wait. Isn't that what Jesus asked the disciples to do in the garden of Gethsemane? And aren't I just like any one of them, sleeping on the job? And aren't I like Peter, denying him three times, before the cock crew?
You see, I started this blog timidly, keeping it light and superficial....yes, domestic cares and considerations are important to me, but I have not share the reason why---I have kept my proverbial light under a proverbial bushel! I am a Christian, a child of the one true and living God, and my very existence should proclaim his Sovereignty, over my life, my family, my household, and that includes what I post in my blog. I belong to the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America), specifically Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kennebunk, Maine. I intend to blog more about that in the future, and include more topics on service projects within the church. In the meantime, give up some knee-time for Patrice and Matt and Jonah, if you are a believing and praying person, and if you aren't, spend some time reflecting on why you aren't. If you have questions on what it means to be a Christian, and the power we wield with our prayers, leave me a comment, pick up a Bible, follow that spirit of inquiry. If I know about you, I'll pray for you. I pray to hear from you...........

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In stitches...................

Have you ever considered stitching projects for wall art in your home dec projects? I have been greatly inspired by two of my favorite bloggers: Alicia Paulson from Posie Gets Cozy and Mary Corbet from Needle & Thread. Mary Corbet just posted about one of her favorite purveyors, The French Needle, and I found the above chart available on that website (seePaul et Virginie). Ironically, it is just the chart that is up for sale, and it was the colors that caught my eye! Don't the colors remind you of this pretty fabric? But with a little imagination, I could apply the same color palette to many of the charts available, but it is this one that caught my eye. I assume that there is an alphabet for the stitcher to consult, and so I could stitch "Jeff and Wendie, (Ooops! I mean 'Wendy')", and "1989" to personalize it......if you decide to shop, read all of Mary Corbet's 4/2/09 post to get the code for 10% off (any purchase for the whole month of April!)
I'm not shopping for projects now, as I am on a moratorium for the time-being. I am stitching (knitting, crocheting, sewing and embroidery) out of my stash until further notice.
But, lucky me, look what I have in my stash:
I bought this kit from Alicia Paulson's website. (Warning: these kits were offered on a limited basis, and I'm sure you can imagine why there are none left! But the website is worth watching for Alicia's next inspiration!) I haven't started it yet, and I have a very realistic goal of having the ornaments ready for next Christmas season. At first, I thought they'd hang on my tree, but now I think they'd be adorable hanging from evergreen roping across my dining room hutch. If you are interested in lovely and slightly sentimental projects, indulge in Alicia's book, Stitched in Time. I ordered mine through my local bookstore, and it is quite a treat.
I especially like the little 8-point star on the stocking cuff ---it reminds me of my newly-finished Nordic Lights Socks, (see below), don't you think? Hmmm...maybe I should make a pair of the Nordic Lights in that colorway (aqua & red), with hat and mittens to match? Hmm, maybe a project for next fall, so I have them in time to go ice skating....Oh, if you could see the lovely outdoor rink near here!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Nordic Lights Socks Make Debut as "FO"

I finally finished the Nordic Lights Socks! They were a bit tricky, (see my Ravelry post here for all the groaning and gory details). Now, I'd kind of like to make them again in the opposite colorway, but I don't know that I'll have much use for such a light-colored sock, or for the brown-pink combo. Now, since I still have plenty of brown left, and 2 pairs of brown pants that I wear with aqua/turquoise, I can see doing them again in a brown/aqua or brown/turq combo.....
BTW, in case you aren't an internet-savvy knitter/crocheter, "FO" is a "Finished Object".
Oh, and BTW, that lovely taupe wall behind the socks in the dining room, Behr Paints' "Cheyenne Rock". It rocks, huh?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ooooooo! Pretty Fabric!

I just love pretty fabric, don't you? And I usually don't make a big distinction between apparel & home dec fabric. So, even though, I have selected this for a home dec purpose, and found it on a home dec website, I can easily picture this as a quilting fabric, or used for a pretty little day dress or blouse.....but that's another post...

Isn't this adorable? I love aquas and coral-y reds together, and I also love twiggy browns on cream - reminds me of brown-on-cream transferware(see below). This fabric is probably destined for dining room chair summer slipcovers and window curtains, but would look equally as appealing in my kitchen. (Another post also-coming soon...) I have a swatch coming from Warm Biscuit Bedding Company. This is a particularly good website for retro home dec fabrics, particularly geared to nursery and children's rooms. (But I obviously wouldn't limit the use of these fabrics!) If I were a quilter, I'd take a good look at the selection.

The plate on the left and the cup and saucer on the right are Johnson Bros. Harvest Time Ironstone. the cup in the middle is ?. I included it as a good example of vintage brown transferware. I have a collection of Harvest Time, thanks to me Mum, and I loooove the way it looks against my dining room walls- I'll display it better and take and post pictures. You'll see what I mean. It makes me want to get started painting the inside of my hutch-like cabinet in the dining room. I'm sorry to say that it is now an ugly Wall Unit component from This End Up, that has faithfully served its purpose, and is now sitting in the DR alcove. I will paint some of it a creamy color, and probably paint back behind the shelves a soft aqua (or possibly salmon), and again ---I will post pics. This would be a perfect backdrop for my JB Harvest Time collection. Ahhh.... I love to dream home dec!