Monthly Archives: August 2010

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Number 35

Before I start the Number 35 story, I should tell you that I’m not a sports fan.  I grew up in a female household, except for BigDaddy and he wasn’t big into sports.  We didn’t grow up with that incessant drone of monotone announcers and crowd noise on holidays and weekends.  My idea of sport was the occasional bike ride.  But, that all changed when my two boys came along.  I made an exception for baseball.

I think I’ve mentioned here before, that from a very early age, TheFirstChild would sit to watch those long baseball games on TV.  He talked so much about baseball that he made TheManoftheHouse crazy.  But not me, I was thrilled that my little guy was so passionate about something.  I became the only one who would talk baseball with him.  We cut our baseball teeth on the White Sox — he learned from them and then he taught me.  For several years I even knew the all White Sox players, their positions and their usual batting order.  And most importantly, I knew about The Big Hurt.  Frank Thomas.

Frank Thomas Day

Frank played first base and designated hitter for the White Sox from 1990 to 2005 — TheFirstChild’s entire childhood.  TheFirstChild idolized Big Frank – Frank was the topic of so many dinner-time conversations that he was practically a member of the family.  So, in February, when Frank retired from baseball, TheFirstChild called.

Him: Mom.  The White Sox are going to retire Frank Thomas’s number on August 29th and we have to go.

Me: We do?

Him:  Yes!  You and Me and The Big Hurt.  Remember?

Be. Still. My. Heart.  Of course.  Of course I remembered and of course we must go.  And Yesterday was the big day.

It was awesome.  We had seats in the nosebleed section, but we were behind home plate, so we didn’t care.  Many of Frank’s old teammates were in attendance.  Big Frank was presented with a few mementos and then he spoke.  Or sobbed rather, as he thanked all the people in his life that are so important to him.

Frank Thomas Day

I cried too.  I don’t know what TheFirstChild was thinking but I was remembering all those baseball games during his childhood.  All the times I was making dinner and heard “Mom!  Frank hit a home run!” or “Mom!  Get in here!  You have to come and watch the re-play!”  All the times I’d come home from work and listen to the play-by-play of an afternoon summer game that I had missed.

Frank Thomas Day

I remembered the little guy who would be so excited when the White Sox acquired an exciting new prospect.  There’s nothing quite like seeing a 7-yr old boy jump out of his seat yelling “You can PutItOnThe boooaaarrrrrdddd – Yesssss!”  And the little guy who was so sad when one of his favorite players had been traded.  All the times I said “It’s only a game” to try and cheer him up after a particularly painful loss.

Frank Thomas Day

Frank Thomas, circa 1997 — Twins Stadium

I remembered the excitement of being at the ball park with my wide-eyed little boys, hanging out by the dugout or the team bus in hopes of getting an autographed baseball. And what an exciting moment it was to hear the euphoric college junior on the other end of the phone declare “Mom! The White Sox are going to the World Series!!!” He went to the first game of the 2005 world series all by himself because we couldn’t justify buying more than one ticket at the obscene ticket prices.  But to send him was worth every penny.  I was in England with MeMum and BigDaddy on the day of the big game and I remembered standing in an old red phone booth in the dark, late that night as he told me all about the big game. What a thrill!

Frank Thomas Day

The ballpark was jam-packed yesterday and the heat was intolerable.  I heard comments like “I’ve been coming to these games for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”  We waited in long lines and they ran out of parking spaces.  Yesterday’s game was a mastercard commercial writer’s dream.  Ticket Price.  Frank Thomas Bobble Head dolls for the first 10,000 fans {score!}.

Frank Thomas Day

And memories.  Priceless, lifetime memories.  I often wonder if Big Frank has any idea how many little boys’ lives he affected.  If he knows how much joy he provided to those who cheered him on as he broke hitting records and hit home runs.  Thank You, Thank You Big Frank.  From the bottom of my mother’s heart.

Frank Thomas Day

And thanks to my little boy.  Who pinched that heart when he called up and invited his mom to the baseball game.  I love, love, love you Sweetie.

XOXO,
Anna

The Children’s Zoo

We’ve had absolutely gorgeous weather here for the last two days.  The august heat and humidity have disappeared, so I decided a little outdoor play was in order for my friday off of work.  I called MeMum and BigDaddy and convinced them to go with me to the zoo.

Zoo

We have a wonderful little children’s zoo here in northern Indiana and I haven’t been to visit since the kids were little.  Our zoo has three main attractions — an African Veldt, a Rainforest, and an Australian Adventure.  Plus a few areas with typical zoo animals that don’t really fit into those three areas.

Zoo

My favorite area has always been the African area.  Jenny asked me in an e-mail today what I thought of the African area. I loved it Jenny!   It’s much nicer than it used to be and I really enjoyed myself.  There are some really interesting animals, and of course, the old standbys.

Zoo

We had fun watching the little striped mongoose colony — babies pictured above.  You can’t tell by the picture, but those little guys are pretty tiny — they’re about the size of your hand.

Zoo

My very favorite part of the day was watching all the kids feed lettuce to the giraffe.  Lots of giggles and excitement when that very long tongue (the picture only caught about 1/2 of his tongue!) brushed up against some little person’s hand.

Zoo

I was especially excited to see the new baby giraffe, as there’s been a lot of advertisement about it since his (her?) arrival.  She(he)’s adorable!

Zoo

Gotta love those classic stripes.

Zoo

We skipped the rainforest, thinking we might not be able to see it all before we got too tired.  On the way to the Australian Adventure, it’s fun to stop and watch the penguins play.  It amazes me how they can survive the summer heat.

Zoo

The Australian Adventure was fun for me since the animals that we saw seem to be fairly common non-zoo animals that I see on some of my Aussie friends’ blogs.  They have an aviary that you can walk through.

Zoo

Another nice thing about the Australian area is that it is more open than the other areas.  There are no cages between you and the birds.  Or the kangaroos.  There are marked paths to stay on, but if a kangaroo choses to come onto the path, you can just reach out and pet him.

Zoo

So, my Aussie friends, is this what it looks like when the neighborhood ‘roo decides to pay your porch a visit?

Zoo

I thought the dingo display was the most interesting.  The info talks about how split Australia is on dingos — many people think they’re pests, while others value them.  It sounds a little like the struggle that we have between ranchers and environmentalists over wolves.  These dingos were born last year in Australia.

Zoo

The dingo display said that it’s believed that there are only 75 pairs of pure dingos left in the world.  This pair is the only pure pair in the U.S.

Zoo

After Australia, we made our way to the exit, stopping to see the giant tortoise on the way out.  This muddy old guy was fun to watch for a few minutes.  They can live up to 150 years of age.  Kind of fun to think that my great-great-great-grandchildren may someday visit this fella after I’m long gone.

Zoo

So that was our fun day.  Tomorrow it’s back to work, cleaning out the garage.  Then, another play day on Sunday.  In the meantime, the bandaids are proof that I’ve quilted every night this week.

Bandaids

Well, the bandaid on my pinkie isn’t a quilting injury — I smashed my fingernail three months ago and it’s at that stage where it wants to rip off so I have to protect it.  Man, those things take a long time to grow out!

Have a nice weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Edward and Alexander

Do we have any Edward Gorey fans out there?  Here in ThimbleannaLand, we love Edward Gorey and his fabulously fun dark side.  (If you’ve ever watched PBS’s Mystery Series, those cute little black and white characters at the beginning of each show are Edward Gorey-esque characters.)

One of my very favorite Edward Gorey books is The Gashlycrumb Tinies.  It’s an illustrated alphabet book that starts out “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears. C is for Clara who wasted away.” And so on.  It’s dark, twisted, and hilarious.  I love it!  So, when I found this Alexander Henry fabric called The Ghastlies, I knew I had to have some.

Ghastlies

Finny commented on my last post that, in addition to the C-word, I’m not allowed to use the H-word.  Fine.  I won’t say it.  But, I’m starting to think of a little quilt for that dark holiday that will fall right in the middle of fall quilt market.  I have to reward myself with a new project to work on because I finally finished the piecing on my beehive wallhanging.  {WooHoo!}

Beehive

I had fierce arguments with myself about whether to hand quilt, machine quilt, or quilt with pearl cotton and big toe grabber stitches.  In the end, hand quilting won out and, now that I’m working on the quilting, I’m really happy about that decision.  The quilting is clipping along at a fair little pace — much better than I expected.  Hopefully, I won’t burn out before it is finished.

Ghastlies

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to catch a little quilting this evening.  The Ghastlies are having a bath, because, as you know I’m a pre-shrinker!

XOXO,
Anna

A Post for Jody

About two years ago (or could it be three by now?), my sweet blog friend Jody posted that she had some heirloom hollyhock seeds to give out, if anyone would like some.  I’ve never had hollyhocks, but I remember seeing a beautiful row of Hollyhocks at Piper’s Quilt Shop in Salt Lake years ago, so I jumped at the chance.  Hollyhocks are biennials which means that they need two growing seasons to bloom.

Hollyhocks

Last year, the green parts came up, but it sure didn’t seem like they did much growing.  Turns out, the bunnies were nibbling on them, so I thought that they might not return this year.  They did come back and I watched that plant like a nervous hen, all spring and into the summer.  Poor Jody, every now and then, I’d e-mail her wondering why they hadn’t bloomed yet.  There were buds, but they weren’t doing anything.  “Patience” she replied.

Hollyhocks

And finally.  Bloom, bloom they did.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  Look at all that yummy pollen there, just waiting for some lucky bee.  And I love the pretty green stars that peek out from behind the petals.

Hollyhocks

Thank you, thank you SO much Jody.  I’ve enjoyed these beautiful flowers immensely and I think of you every time I see them.  If you, dear reader, haven’t been to visit Jody, you are missing a true gem.  Jody writes beautifully about life on the Prairie where there’s never a dull moment.  Her latest post is a classic case — there’s even a very cool video that would be perfect for your nature-loving children.

Hollyhocks

And now, I fear, I owe ALL of you a BIG apology.  In my last post, Karen correctly pointed out that I used the “C-word”. The shame! I make it a point to harangue anyone who uses the “C-word” in the summer (in fact poor Karen was my victim last year), so it’s especially grievous that I have sinned. What comes around, goes around. Please forget I ever mentioned it, and I do hope you’ll forgive me as I retreat to my little corner.

XOXO,
Anna

Bunnies and Kitties and Bears, Oh My!

Those of you who have been hanging around here in ThimbleannaLand for any amount of time know how much we Looooove our Bunny Pincushions.  Love, Love, Love them!  From time to time I make a batch and have a giveaway or sell a bunch in the Thimbleanna.com store.

Pincushion

And almost every time that happens, someone asks me for a pattern for the bunny pincushions.  Sadly, I always have to say that the pattern is a 1989 pattern by Lori Karper and it’s copyrighted, so I can’t give it out.  Then, I’ll usually do an internet search, just to see if any information on Ms. Karper has popped up since the last time I did an empty internet search.  All I ever find is maybe an ebay link or two to one or another older pattern by Ms. Karper.

Pincushion

So.  Imagine my GREAT excitement and surprise one day last spring, when I got an e-mail from THE Ms. Karper herself.  Only there’s been a name change which is why I couldn’t find her.  Lori Karper is now Lori Valley and it’s been my great delight to be able to get to know the mother of all my bunnies!  Lori  has had an unbelievable 20+ years since the original bunny pattern was published — full of ups and downs and she’s come out on this end as one of THE sweetest people you’ll ever meet.  AND, BIG BIG exciting news — she’s re-issuing the bunny pincushion pattern AND she’s added a Kitty, a Bear, and a Puppy.  WOOHOO!!!

Pincushion

It’s so funny, because, over the years, I’d always thought how fun it would be to make other little pincushion animals.  I had a chance over the weekend to make up a Kitty.

Pincushion

And a Bear.  The original bunny pattern had the stitching on the paws, but I always made my paws plain.  For the kitty and the bear, I did the extra stitching and I love how it turned out.  (Both the Kitty and the Bear are made from City Weekend by Oliver + S.)

Pincushion

One of my favorite things about the bunny pincushions over the years has been the fact that the ears can be used to hold needles.  The Kitty and Bear ears are big enough to do that too.  (And you thought your teen had ear-piercing problems.)

Pincushion

Look how sweet — the kitty (and the puppy, who I didn’t have time to make) both have little tails.  Those might make good needle holders too.

Pincushion

Another thing I love about Lori’s patterns is that you can make them your own.  My faces are a little different than Lori’s.  And I thought this time I’d have some fun experimenting with a contrast fabric on the inside of the ears.  I really like how they turned out.

Pincushion

And one last very special thing.  Lori calls her patterns “You Are Loved” Patterns and she’s included a “You Are Loved” tape that can be sewn into the side seam of each pincushion.  The whole time I was making the kitty and bear, I kept telling myself “Don’t forget the You Are Loved Tape”.  So, of course, you know, I forgot it.  I pinned it on the side of the bear though, so you can see how cute it’s supposed to look, sticking out of the side of the pincushion.

Pincushion

I’ll stop talking now.  I’m sorry this sounds like a big sales pitch — I really don’t want it to be.  You know how much I Love my pincushions, and I know many of you have been wanting these patterns.  Lori is working on her own website (which I’ll link to when she’s done) but until then, you can buy them in the Thimbleanna.com store.  You can also get extra “You Are Loved” tapes in case you want to make more than one pincushion with a message in it’s side.

Pincushion

‘Cause Christmas is coming soon and I think these make great gifts for all of your crafty friends!  ;-)

XOXO,
Anna