Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Words seem inadequate to express what a comfort it was hearing from each and every one of you who took the time to write, call, or leave a comment on my April 6th post about my dear kitty, Teddy. Thank you SO much for your kindness and compassion. Hearing from each of you was like getting a much-needed hug. I replied directly to every comment that came through with a reply email address. For those that didn't, my only way to reply was with a note to your comment in the comments section of my April 6th post. So if you did not receive a reply from me, please take a moment to look back there for my note to you. I wanted to share a beautiful poem (below) that Merilyn so kindly sent me as well as a beautiful quote about cats sent from Béra. I know you fellow feline lovers will appreciate them!

A lovely poem shared by Merilyn:
'My best friend
died last summer -
that lovable little character
who wore his own fur coat -
He was my confidante,
my comfort
and my clown - he was my warmth, 
my welcome home -
We burried him near wild mint and thyme -
I wept for him all winter, 
then in early Spring
white daisies
made a garland for his grave
where passing birds and butterflies
call in to visit nature's shrine -
Who knows
what happens to us when we die -
I like to think
his spirit's running free,
perhaps to grace a person
in some other life -
what a wonderful human being
that would be.....'
--Nan Whitcomb
'The Thoughts of Nanushka -Vol XV - XVI

And a lovely quote sent from Béra:

"Little by little, cats become the soul of the House".  —Jean Cocteau

Getting back on track has been slower than I anticipated, and I'm afraid that is the reason for my longer-than-usual blog absence.  The house has been so quiet without Teddy as he was the more active of our two cats. Hopefully, Poe will get used to being an only cat. I've been thinking about making a memory quilt in remembrance of Teddy and came across this sweet little paper-pieced pattern that my mom gave me last Christmas. Doesn't it seem fitting? I would love to get back in the sewing room to give it a try. Unfortunately, my workload isn't making that very easy, but I'm in the process of making some changes that will hopefully help with that in the future.

A few days after Teddy passed away, my sister from Berkeley, California, came for a visit and it was such a blessing to have her here. I wasn't planning to get out much during that time as the grief from Teddy's passing the previous week was so fresh, but she got me out and about for a day to look for bikes at a nice bike shop in West Des Moines. She is an avid bicyclist and knew that my husband and I were in the market for some new bikes that we could take out on the local bike trail for longer distances (I have a fun pink bike I blogged about here but it's only a one-speed so is only suitable for in-town riding). I was not anticipating getting a bike anytime soon (and certainly not while she was here) but I ended up buying the first one we saw, which also happened to be the one that she recommended! My new mint green bike has 21 speeds, so now my husband and I are well equipped to take on the bike trail. We'd like to eventually make a 21-mile round trip but are only up to 12 miles so far.

As life returns to normal here at Ashton House, I thought our surroundings could use a little cheer, and what better way to do that than with flowers?! I spotted these pretty orchids at the local grocery store and decided that they should come home with me. I planted them in my urn in the kitchen and topped the container with colorful chartreuse reindeer moss. They made a wonderful display for our Easter gathering last month and are still gracing my island with their beautiful blooms.

We had a grasshopper cake for dessert, and for a little treat with our tea, I fixed little toasted coconut cookie thins sandwiched with cookie butter from Trader Joe's. They were yummy!

I suppose I should get back to work now. I'm working on a Quilt Sampler article today. Every time I write an article, I think about Beatrix Potter's quote: “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.” I guess that's part of what makes writing an article such a fun adventure!