Monday, June 29, 2009

Dusted it off . . .

After a year plus of non use, got new tags for it, checked it out, cleaned it up and started packing for a trip to the Texas Panhandle. With this Texas heat, HD suggested I make some covers for our folding chairs to keep us from the "hot seat" when we sit in them. We will only be gone for about a week . . . this time!

We are going to see Mom, and hopefully sisters; Faith, June, Barbara and Teresa and brothers; Joe Pat, Harold and Tom. Sister Marge might be in that area but doubt that sister Kathy will be. Brother Robert won't be there this time either. We sure need some new group pictures of all of us.
It is really hard to get that number of siblings together in one spot at the same time with everyone busy with their families and lives. I have been giving a family calendar every year for Christmas for the last 20 + years and the count seems to go up every year. I make them for my family, the in-laws and each of our kids. I counted 102 entries for this year on my family calendar and 39 on in-law's calendar. Didn't even look at the kids calendar count. Our DD caught a great picture of my father-in-law. Don't tell him but I will use it for this year's calendar cover!
 I have been keeping genealogy records for several years now. It makes it easy to update the genealogy database and the calendar events program at the same time with any additions or corrections. I have records dating back to Ireland and even have a copy of the ship's log when my great grandfather came over.
Wish I had been closer to my grandparents growing up. I am sure they had lots of stories they could tell. My grandfather acquired his ranch land in New Mexico from the land rush and bought out neighbors when they decided to move on. We spent some time out on the ranch but it was sold some time ago. Lots of good memories there!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mmmmmmmm Good Neighbor!

We had just pulled out of my father-in-law's driveway from a Father's Day last minute get together in Ft. Worth, when our cell phone rang. It was a friend and neighbor from home who asked us to stop by on our way back into town for a "beverage".

When we got there he was bragging on a portable sink we had given him because it really helps him with his gardens. He said since it is light weight, he takes it wherever he needs it. He grows most all his vegetables and doesn't use any pesticides on them.

He had the sink full of fresh corn on the cob for us. He said it is so sweet, you can eat it raw. I tried it after we got home and ate three pieces that way. It is so good. We put most of it in the freezer, but did have some with our salad and yellow squash for supper. I heated it up this time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bulgaria – a beautiful country!

  Our new daughter-in-law, Lili, was absolutely the best tour guide and did a wonderful job showing off her country to us. I hope there will not be a test on it though, because my memory is not nearly as good as hers and I don't remember half the names of the places of interest that we visited. It is very unfortunate that we lost many pictures we took the first few days there, due to a computer glitch.

 The first two pictures are taken from their terrace and the next two are the hotel we stayed in. This is just a small sample of the many pictures we took.
The city of Sofia is surrounded by mountains, green with trees, that were very nice and still had snow on them. We had several shopping trip in Sofia and trips to the mountains, villages, churches, museum and a monastery. We enjoyed the food, the wine, beer and the people. We couldn't speak the language but the people were very happy and friendly.

 These were taken from the terrace of the hotel we stayed at.  Very beautiful!

 We went on a country trip to the city Plovdiv and got our exercise doing a lot of walking with most streets being uphill and paved with cobblestones. It was difficult to walk but had a beautiful view. They have a large city fair twice a year there. Plovdiv is an hour and a half drive southeast of Sofia.

Sofia from the air.

 The Rila monastery is south of Sofia and is a very isolated site in the mountains. There are many people who visit there. We had a monastery tour guide to take us all through and explain the exhibits to us. The Church was beautiful with paintings on the walls and ceilings. It is an active monastery. One of the monks was gracious enough to let us take his picture.


  Lili took us to her office where we met her colleagues who were kind enough to fix us a snack and drink before taking us to tour the office. We also drove to the mountain where their satellite dishes used to be located before they moved them into Sofia.

It was all very interesting. We saw the Alexander Nevski Memorial Church, the St. George Church and the Russian Church. A museum was also a place of interest.

There were huge fruit and vegetable markets. Fresh fruits were very good, along with fresh bread for breakfast. Fresh cherries were for sale along the roadside on one of our trips and were very good. We went to several very nice restaurants and the food was great I particularly enjoyed the salads. The basic salad was made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion and cheese. One restaurant, called The Spaghetti Company Italian restaurant had the absolute best spinach lasagna. Of course we tried out a SMALL order of fries that proved to feed six people and the beverages were very good as well.

Of course, I can't leave out the delicious dinners that Lili and her Mother, Toni fixed for us. The day we got there, Lili had a very good dinner of salad and baked chicken with mushroom sauce (her secret recipe). The next evening, staring off with a toast of Rakia (brandy), Lili's Mom fixed salad, sliced meats and cheeses and lamb with rice for us. It was all very good.
 One very interesting (crooked)  building we saw in Sofia really caught our eye. Take a look at this:

It was a wonderful trip and something we will never forget. The wedding, the trip, everything about it was great!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fussy Cuts Forward and Backward

Our wedding gift to Mike and Lili was a Dresden Plate quilt called Fussy Cuts Forward and Backward.
This quilt was made in 2008 and finished in 2009 and was given for their wedding on May 31, 2009. I scanned the graphic from their wedding invitation and printed it on muslin to include on the quilt label.



 This was an interesting quilt to make as each piece was cut individually at the same place on the fabric to form the pattern on the Dresden Plate. It was the second in a series. The name for this once came from the fact that to reduce wasting fabric, I cut one wedge right side up and the next upside down. The flowers on one Dresden block are right side up and the next upside down.

There are only certain fabric patterns that work well to do this. I just happened to have a couple of them in my stash. For the center of the plate, I machine embroidered flowers on gold fabric and appliqued them on to the Dresden Plate. The quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted. It is queen size.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bulgarian Wedding Traditions

 Following some traditional Bulgarian rituals added to the excitement for the wedding and reception.

 There were negotiations to get the bride from bribes through a closed door first. The master's (Lili's Mom) negotiator, Vera, told the Groom's negotiator, Wayne, that the bride was VERY intelligent and VERY expensive, so she would cost much money. When they filled the Brides shoe with coins, Vera said “Are you kidding?” A little more negotiating and they finally pushed their way in the door but the Groom had more bribes of chocolate and wine, just in case they were needed.

At the reception, a loaf of bread held by the Bride's mother was presented to the Groom's mother to feed a bite dipped in salt to the Bride, then the groom.. Then dipped in honey to each of them. This is a wish for a long and sweet life together. Bread with just honey was for best man and matron of honor. “Kicking the bucket" of flowers was to determine sex of first child. If the white flower falls out first, it will be a girl and red one for a boy. Lili's kick got the white one first. The breaking of a loaf of bread by the bride and groom, with it held overhead, signifies the one getting largest piece is to be the dominant one of the family. You can see who did that.

Unfortunately I left my camera charger at home, thinking my HD had one that would work, but that was not the case. DH bought a nice new camera but being a bit unfamiliar with it, some pictures were a bit fuzzy. With all the cameras being used, a professional photographer and videographer on the scene, there will not be a lack of pictures. It may be a little while to get them all. Mike and Lili make a beautiful couple.

The Wedding and Reception

It's official! Mike and Lili are married!! Congratulations to both of them. Our very best wishes go out to Mike and Lili for much happiness and a long life together. The ceremony took place in a civil wedding hall and was very nice. Vera, a friend of the couple, stood behind us and translated and a translator stood behind our son, Mike, since the ceremony was in Bulgarian. Afterward, pictures were taken in the park and the reception followed in a very nice restaurant, all decorated with balloons and streamers.

The theme of their wedding was monkeys – Lili calls Mike her “monkey boy”. He donned a monkey tie after the ceremony and all the place cards at the reception were held by little plastic monkeys. There was dinner and a lot of dancing to celebrate this special day.