Saturday, July 31, 2004

Holy Cow, I have exactly 15 minutes this morning to zip out a blog entry! How on earth does this happen that I get so tight with time? (As if it's not my fault at all....)

I had a little stitching time yesterday. And I do mean little. I stitched ONE letter on my DT sampler (seen at the left - still no progress pics because it would seem too pitiful). I stitched the letter "V", then I had to be off to drive various children to various places. But at least I have it out again, so that - as Martha would say - is a good thing. Up until then, I couldn't even find it....

I promised earlier to write a little about the visit I had from my German pen pal....so here goes! My friend Hella and her family were here for an extended weekend during the first week of July. Now, Hella and I have been writing for almost 10 years. And over those years, I've come to know a lovely woman, with great creative talent and with a stick-to-it attitude...meaning that she puts me to shame with all of her finishes! Her quilting and cross-stitch skills are excellent.

So - This was actually Hella's second visit. She and her husband came to our home about 8(?) years ago for a couple of days. We had a nice time back then - I brought Hella to our sewing group, and we did a little shopping. Despite the initial nervousness about actually meeting a pen pal in person, we really enjoyed their visit. But they only stayed two nights and then were anxious to get on with their traveling. And over the years, we had talked about her coming in the summer with her family - so this year it finally happened. Hella and her husband and two of her children came here and swam in the lake during the day and hunted for lightning bugs at night and ate grilled burgers and Kraft dinner with us. How much more American can you get?

We had a great visit - Hella and I escaped away one afternoon to a quilt show in Grantsville MD, and there was a crafters fair going on at the same time, so we wandered around there a little. The quilt show was a little disappointing. I've been there other years and it was much, much smaller than before. Some lovely, well-done quilts to be sure, but not the quantity and variety of past years. I thought the show was put on by an organized group of quilters in Frostburg - maybe they don't exist anymore. Well, anyway, I found a neat little painting on slate at the craft fair - it's a mountainscape, and it says, "If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains...you're lucky enough." My sentiments exactly!

Then on the way home we stopped in Four Seasons Stitchery - a fantastic quilt shop, but with a nice needlework section, also. I found fabric for one of those great fleece no-sew blankets for DD - blue with horses. And Hella found some fabric and magazines she couldn't live without either!

Of course, one of the great things about having a stitching friend come visit is the whole Show and Tell part of the trip. It's actually kind of funny - before they arrived, I was really fussing over my sewing room/office. Partly because it's also our guest room, but mostly because I hate to have a fellow stitcher look at my room and see that it's an ungodly mess of things. I may not BE totally organized, but I sure want to appear that way! So I had spent time straightening and filing and putting away....only to tear it all apart when we started with "Oh, let me show you...." or "Do you have any...."! And did I put it all back neatly? Cripes NO! So poor Hella and her husband found themselves sleeping in a room where charts and fabric fell off shelves, floss stuck to their socks, and needles - well, let's not go there. Hopefully they haven't inadvertently found any...

OK, I'm way, way out of blogging time here, but I'll end my pen pal story by saying that I'm truly blessed to have found such nice people. Both this year and last year I've had great visits with friends from across the world, who I only knew via their letters. Yet somehow we connected on a deeper level over the years and their time here was as comfortable as if they were my sisters. Our initial conversations were always about stitching or quilting, (I'm always a little nervous at first about meeting a pen pal) but as our physical time together went on, our talks drifted to our lives as women. And suddenly the nervousness is gone, and your paper and pencil friend is alive and standing in front of you. It's a very cool thing.

Oh Jeez, my 15 minutes has turned into almost an hour and I have to head to work and I'm still in my pajamas!!

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