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Friday, December 24, 2010

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans
Three more flying in on the right
We were greeted by nine Trumpeter Swans along a open channel at Vadnais Heights Regional Park, Sucker Creek yesterday. The "Groomer" set a wonderful set of tracks to Cross Country ski on. We were amazed that the Swans stayed through the winter, along with hundreds of ducks. It's a good thing to always have a camera handy, you never know what you will see around the corner.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

" Memories Become Treasures" During The Holiday Season

Sandy and Richard
My sister Sandy is the "Matriarch" of our family now that our parents and grandparents are deceased. She is the oldest, the wisest and assumes the huge responsibility of Grandma, Aunt, Mother, Sister and Wife. My father was a very sentimental man, a trait that Sandy has acquired in her life as well.  Several years back, Sandy and Richard created a "Memory" wall in their living room for Richard's father Orvin, our Grandma Kate, and our parents Earl and Marlene. Each "Memory" box is filled with wonderful "Things" that have lifetime memories. I always find myself standing and looking at these wonderful memories during our Christmas gatherings. I feel as if they're all here with us as we celebrate the holidays. Thanks "Big" Sis for keeping past memories always as a present reminder.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Meet "Mona Rae Cich" A Very Intriguing Women

Mona Rae Cich

Mona Rae Cich is a very intriguing women, a designer, crafter and artist of handmade quilts and handmade collectible dolls.  For 35 years she lived in Duluth, Minnesota with her husband Ken and children. Mona Rae was a daycare provider, and received a distinguished award on April 3, 1989 as “Daycare Provider of The Year” in the State of Minnesota.  Mona Rae said; “Senator Rudy Boschwitz flew to Duluth and all of the TV stations were there when he presented it to me. “ With the words he spoke, I wanted to cry. I told the press that I was receiving this award with great honor, but it was for all of the great daycare   providers who are protecting and teaching the children who are our future. “I really do not believe that one person should be  awarded, there are so many that could have received that award every year.”
From  there, came a 6 part series on the local TV station in Duluth. She recalls , “They followed me around for 5 days, it was a bit stressful,  as I had 10 children I was taking care of”. It was inspirational for her in helping other daycare providers get their business off the ground and promote “Professionalism in their business”.  In addition to these accomplishments, she was an advocate for the safety of all children called the “Rules for Home Day Care” and spoke in front of State Legislature on behalf of all daycare providers, as the “Rules” needed to be updated.
 Back in 1981, Mona Rae awoke from a dream that changed her entire career path.  Her Great Grandmother was standing at the foot of her bed wearing a “Babushka” (scarf) on her head and said; “Mona Rae pick up a needle and thread and you will find your hidden talent, you have not yet discovered.” Her Great Grandmother died when Mona Rae was eight years old, and she was a quilter. Mona Rae remembers as a child sitting on her lap for hugs while her Great Grandmother worked from her large floor quilting frame.  She said; “The dreams kept coming  back”.  I purchased a Lee Wards magazine and found a cross stitch quilt kit as I felt she was guiding me.”  In 1982, Mona Rae purchased a tax ID license and followed her dreams, and established her business called “Hidden Talents.”  
Oh, but  her story does not end there.  Mona Rae had her quilts for sale at a gallery in Minneapolis, an inconspicuous woman made contact with her and wanted to purchase  one of her quilts for a “Local” movie being made in Minnesota.  They met, and she looked at all of Mona Rae’s creations, she said; ” I am sorry, but I don’t see what we need”.  Mona Rae had a” used” quilt that caught the designer’s eye. Mona Rae said;  “That one is not for sale and but they could borrow it for the movie”. The set designer                    immediately  turned to Mona Rae and said;  “ You have two women standing  next to you”. “One is a short woman that has her hand on the quilt and telling me that this is her quilt.” That is when Mona Rae broke down crying because she knew at that point her mother saw that her quilt was done.  The other woman was described as wearing a “Babushka” on her head.  It verified to Mona Rae that she had guidance by her angels. It was at the moment that Mona Rae said; “ I made that quilt in memory of my mother,  she was able to touch the center before her death, it was made with her favorite colors. I finished the border that contained a point for every month of her life”.
The movie turned out to be “Grumpy Old Men 2”, and the Mona Rae’s mothers memory quilt was featured in a ”Nanno” second  during the church scene.  That quilt had the same colors of Ann Margaret’s dress in the movie and Mona Rae proudly displays her quilt under her sign in their booth.
In 2005, Mona Rae and Ken moved to Ramsey, Minnesota to be closer to their grandchildren.  She thanks her husband of 43 years   as “ Ken has let her follow her dreams”. The “Team” travel to 24 crafting events each year.  When asked “Where do you draw your inspiration from”?  Mona Rae replies, “I keep a journal of my customers, their stories and the support from my family”.
In addition to the handmade quilts, her collectable dolls are “Unique”.  All of her dolls are inspired from her dreams. She will see flashings of colors, a design, or object .  Mona Rae says; “There is a story behind every doll, and the story continues after someone buys it”.  When at home in her studio, she works 15-16 hour days, she surrounds herself  with 969 bolts of fabric. The colors are  comforting and bring excitement and passion to her work. She only uses “Top of the line” fabric called “Moda”.  Her dolls come to life as she creates them with her hand’s, she even admits talking to them. They have names like Chilly, Nicholi and Forest. In fact, Forest is in his 4th color design edition, and one of the most popular, she has created and sold a 1,000 of him.  Mona Rae’s biggest event is at Canterbury Park in Shakopee Minnesota, held in November and April of each year. They feature 500 artists and crafters from 30 states.


My name is Forest
I am so cute up close
My booth is stroller and handicap accessable
Fall Friends
Quilts of all sizes
A family of Customers
Snowman quilt with stand
Here are some tips from Mona Rae on getting started:  Start by going out and doing a church craft show, and smaller shows. Climb the ladder, it teaches you how to find your price points, what sells, and what works. Surround yourself  with family and friends to help you along the way. Build a customer  base and you are building long lasting relationships.  Most important of all “ Don’t forget where you came from”. Facebook is a great social net working tool , create a website, start a blog, and continue to do shows. Mona Rae recently joined Etsy, and sold her first doll in a week.  For more on Mona Rae reach her at http://www.monaraeoriginals.com/

Happy Holiday's From Patty, Joe and Snoop

Happy Holidays, enjoy our Elf video

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You Are Never Too Old When It Comes To Inspiring People

My Godmother Phil Savage

Meet my Godmother Phil Savage, she lives in Hastings Minnesota and is now 84 years old. Phil, was the talk of the town when she painted a tree in her front yard and decorated it. She said "The neighbors probably thought I was losing it." But her "Rainbow Tree" brought so much attention that her local newspaper featured her in a article. We are blessed to have such an amazing women in our lives.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Handmade Quilts Touched with Love

graduation gift

The unfinished quilt suprise

I have never been a quilter, or mastered sewing, but boy could my mother sew. She made clothing for my sisters and I when we were kids, and even created outfits for our barbie dolls. When we were in high school she took up quilting. My Mom learned to quilt from reading books, and she convinced my Dad to help her cut the material for her. Believe it or not, my Dad began working side by side with Mom. When my twin sister and I turned 18 years old, Dad gave us each a quilt he hand stitched himself. Mine was a brown and white star burst and Pam's blue. My parents created quilts only during the winter months and gave them to their children and close friends. My father died eleven years ago, and the white log cabin quilt was half complete. Mom stopped making them after Dad passed. My sister Pam, took the unfinished quilt to a women for her to complete, my mom was so surprised. Mom passed away two and a half years ago, I have kept their quilts on a rack in my bedroom for years. Family heirlooms, keepsakes, gifts made with love. The holidays are a time for family, friends and remembering our loved ones. Receiving a gift that someone made with their hands is the greatest gift of all. I encourage everyone this holiday season to make, create, and give a gift  made with love. Happy Holidays, Patty

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finding A Childhood Friend

High School Graduation- Kelly came to visit

Kelly, Pam and Pat

When my sister Pam and I were in elementary school, a new neighbor moved in from Oklahoma. All of the other kids on our street were either younger or older then us, and most of them boys. At last, a girl our age, we were so excited. Kelly Jo Bridgwater was her name, she was high spirited and adventurous, and we instantly became friends. Her father Don, was appointed Director of The New Minnesota Zoo, in Apple Valley. I remember seeing a model of the zoo set up in their garage, as it was under construction. Her mother, Gloria, was a beautiful women, and her younger brother was named Johnson. The three of us were inseparable, we rode our bikes, fish and swam in the lake, and slid down the big hill behind her house in the winter. We even had a club we called "The Tigers", and converted an old dog house into our fort. I almost forgot, we made musical instruments and had our own band.  In 1978, the zoo opened and Kelly's family moved to Apple Valley. We tried to keep in touch, but back in the day there was no internet or email. We visited back and forth in high school, and Kelly came to our house the day of our graduation and we took a picture of us together. Then during Kelly's junior year, her father accepted another position, and she moved to Yukon, Oklahoma. Again, we tried to write when we could, but time passed on. Kelly joined the army, married and had two sons. My sister Pam married, and had two daughters. Pam named her first daughter Kelly, in memory of "Kelly." I got married as well, and we lost track of each other. I remember getting a letter from Kelly and a picture holding her baby son, Keith. She came to Minnesota in 1987 for a visit with Pam, but I was not able to see her, they went to Camp Snoopy with the kids. Over the years Pam and I talked about Kelly, always wondering where she was, and what was she doing. Then one night almost a year ago, Pam went into the internet and found her, and she was on Twitter. Kelly remained in the Army all these years, and holds rank of Sgt. 1st Class. She is a photo journalist and works in Public Affairs in Fort Eustis, VA. We finally reconnected after 23 years. No wonder why we lost touch. She lived in Germany for four years, had done tours in Europe, Egypt, Africa, and recently Haiti, and I don't think I have listed them all. Our goal, someday soon is to reunite and get back together once again. Kelly- Happy Thanksgiving!  

Pat and Kelly

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Handmade Crocheted Washcloths


I have been making crocheted blankets for many years. Recently, a friend showed me a crocheted washcloth. I said; "I have never heard of them before." She replied; "Oh Patty, where have you been, they have been around for years." Of course I had to try it, so off the the craft store I went in search of "cotton" yarn. The colorful selections were outstanding. I had a sample to work from which made it easy. I thought, what a great Christmas gift idea, but I better make one and try it first. I would hate to give a gift that was a flop. Oh my gosh, I love them...they are absorbent, clean so well, and do not smell. Best of all, inexpensive, and can be used forever.  I use a "J" size crochet needle. Single crochet 25 stitches, add one to replace first stitch of the first row. Then a second row on single stitch. Third row through tenth row, use double crochet chain 3. Last row, single stitch to finish it off. I was able to make two dishcloths per skein. For my family members, guess what you are getting this year for Christmas. A special thanks to my friend for sharing this new, fun and easy idea.
25 single stitch, add on one to replace first stitch on new row
add second row single stitch, always hook under top two loops
double crochet chain 3 for 10 rows, then add single row at the top to finish off
what a great idea for a Grannie square blanket

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fudge Sauce- Phil Savage's Recipe

double click to enlarge recipe
 My God Mother, Phyllis Carol Bridget Galvin - Savage is one amazing women. At 84 years old, she has been battling Lymphoma cancer for 8 years. There is not anything that can keep this determined women down, as she just whipped up a batch of her home made fudge sauce last week with her daughter Pat.
Phil's family secret to her fudge sauce is: "Stir with an old wooden spoon, and take your time."  What a creative idea with a recipe card to enjoy and share lasting memories.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Apple Crisp Recipe Made Easy

I recieved this recipe from my sister Sandy, and just love it. It is so quick and easy to make. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
8 Granny Smith green apples, peel and slice into half moon pieces
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (stick)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. , bake for 45 minutes. In a 9x12 baking dish, coat with butter and fill with apples, sprinkle white sugar and cinnamon through out the layers. Place flour, brown sugar, and oatmeal in a bowl, cut the remaining butter into the flour, do not stir. Sprinkle the entire mixture over the top of the apples. Note: fill apples higher then dish as they will shrink.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or cool whip. Nummy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Patty’s Favorite Pumpkin Recipe
Pumpkin Bread
2/3 cup shortening
2-2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1  can (16 oz.) pumpkin
2/3 cup water
2 tsp. soda
3-1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking power
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2/3 cup raisins
Cream shortening, sugar and add eggs
Add dry ingredients and mix in pumpkin
Heat oven at 350 degrees, and grease pan
·         Makes 5- mini-pans, or 1- 9x12 loaf pan
·         40 minutes for mini, 70 minutes for pan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Favorite Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread
In one bowl add:
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
*cream shortening and sugar then add eggs, mix

Next bowl:
1-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Last bowl: 1 cup of mashed banana's (usually 3 make 1 cup)

Add dry ingredients to shortening, sugar and eggs, then mashed bananas. Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts if desired.
Place in a well greased 9x12 bread loaf pan, pre-heat oven at 350 degrees, and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Note: the darker the banana the better the taste. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pressed Flower Creations

Pamela Vincent

Pamela Vincent lives in Andover, Minnesota. She works full-time, but at the end of the day she retreats to her studio and creates pressed flower creations. She started out by taking photographs of her flower gardens, and then painting or drawing from them. At an early age, she began gardening with her Godmother and Father. She even worked at a well know nursery in the Twin Cities, and that is where she became a "Master Gardner." Five years ago her Godmother gave her a shirt box filled with dried flowers, along with a wooden press. She shared with her how much fun she had pressing the flowers and would make book markers with them.  Pam said; " I thought if I could paint a garden with watercolor, why not pressed flowers." Pam has been given a talent to visualize color schemes and patterns before she creates her garden.  Recently Pam had a very rewarding experience."My sisters best friend  is fighting cancer. She asked me to create a special piece with all of her flowers from her walks. Pam, was honored and called it " Serenity Garden."  Everywhere Pam goes, she brings a bag or container and is always looking for something to pick. She says; " I feel like a kid in a candy store." Like so many of us, Pam has been inspired by surrounding herself with creative people. Pam has named her flower creations "Bringing Life to Art."  Contact Pam at vincentcreations@gmail.com or click on our Creative Chicks  "Sites We Love" and view her work.

 Serenity Garden