Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Painting & Memories

This kitchen may look slightly messy, but it is greatly improved from just a few hours before!

I needed something mindless to do.

Something that required enough concentration to do a good job, but nothing that would require a great amount of creativity.

Something that could be interrupted by wanders out to the front porch, or taking a break to arrange and rearrange some area of the house, every addition getting it closer to being habitable. 

The kitchen is a big job – and one that really needs to be DONE so that I can get the boxes of kitchen “stuff” out of the den and start getting that room ready for quilters, too.

Everything needs to SHIFT – because the kitchen stuff is in the den, which means den stuff is in the dining room, etc.  Bags, boxes, totes and piles.

I love this kitchen, commercial range and all.

On a whim I brought a take & bake pizza over for my lunch and actually USED the oven for the first time.  Of course, it involved finding the manual and actually READING how to turn it on and heat it up.

(Will have to have this manual blown up and laminated for guests!)

My kitchen objective?


Re-paint to cover these pine knot stains.

These cabinets were originally from IKEA, and this is the “shabby chic, instantly vintage” style – to let the pine knots be visible to age the look of the cabinets.  I just think they look dirty.

And there was some wear around drawer and cabinet knobs from fingernails grabbing – and so I set in.

And as I painted, my mind wandered back to a much earlier time -

One of my first memories of my brother Mark was living in a little brown house on The Strand in Minnetonka, Minnesota. With a 5 year old and a 2 year old keeping her busy, my mom invented the summer "game" of Paint the House: giving us each a colorful plastic sand box pail full of water and a paint brush.

"Let's play Paint the House!" she said, our wet paint brushes making the old brown paint dark with soggy, dripping brush strokes. "Look, mama! We're doing it!" we exclaimed, so proud of our hard work.

It didn't occur to us that the water was evaporating just as quickly on the siding behind us, and the next day we would start the game of Paint the House all over again.

Yes. There were many tears that fell as I added another brush stroke over the kitchen cabinets, but this new fresh coat of paint covered the old pine knot stains on drawers and doors and made everything fresh… a new start.


Dad, me & Mark, Scott in front.

Flight arrangements have been made.  I leave for Arizona on Thursday the 13th.  I’ll stay until Wednesday the 19th.


Bedroom Switch.

To keep Jerry and Jean’s bedroom set together, I had to switch things to the largest bedroom.  I’m so happy seeing these pieces in bedroom number 2, the big bay window and side windows add so much light to this room.


Tall dresser on the wall at the right – Mona’s wash basin and pitcher on top.

Finally I feel this is the arrangement i need for this room with plenty of floor space to walk around.  And there are plenty of dresser drawers for occupants to unpack and make themselves at home rather than living out of a suitcase.


Back hallway vignette.

This is the perfect place for the “UNIQUE" treadle that was brought to Hershey, and for the sewing cabinet gifted in the parking lot at Costco!  On the machine are a couple of pottery vases – a housewarming gift brought to Pennsylvania last week.  Ladies, you don’t even know each other, but look what you are doing together!


Cute patchwork runner looks perfect on the machine bed!

The doily?  That’s one I crocheted myself back in the early 2000’s while we lived in Texas.  I made a few of them, gifted them – kept this one for myself and then never picked up my crochet hook again.  Thread-work is too tiny for these eyes.


Deby’s Victorian marble-topped hall table has found a home.


As has another Debbie’s framed quilt piece, also brought to Pennsylvania.


Seek to have eyes that see the best in people.

I told Debbie that there was a nail already in the chimney just waiting for the right thing – and this couldn’t be any better.

I’m heading home this morning – I will start order filling today, things will begin to ship tomorrow.  And in between I’ve got my last round of book PDF corrections to make – it can’t be put off.  It needs to be done before I go to Arizona.  This is it - this is the FINAL book edit.

In talking to my dad last night, he said “Be happy you are busy.  It’s good to be busy…..”  At 78 he is finding it hard to keep his mind occupied with other things, he lives alone and his house is too quiet.  And he’s right.  Staying busy, just busy enough is a good thing.

And then some thought or memory comes and I succumb to tears once again.  Text messages from Mark are still on my phone.  I can’t delete them.  I wish I had kept the voicemails as well – because I’ll never hear his voice again.  Why did I delete them?

Breathe in, breathe out, cry it out, breathe some more – and just do the next thing.

September 05, 2018 at 07_37AM

Quiltville Quote of the Day.

I am determined to find joy every day in spite of grief, starting now.

I love talking to random strangers. Grocery store, airport, in line at the pharmacy. It makes my day, that bit of connection.

Which one of these things will you do today?


  1. That's why I quilt. To just stay busy.

  2. The inn is looking so good! Hang in there,love you!

  3. My heart hurts for you. Perhaps you have some home movies and can hear him that way. I always talk to random strangers how else do you make new friends .lol.my sister passed two years ago and I still try to phone .keeping busy is helpful. ..sending many many hugs

  4. I love trying to get the grumpy looking people to smile. It is hard not to smile when someone is smiling and talking nicely to you. Hope you will heal a little each day. Quiltville Inn is really coming together. XO

  5. Busy is good. Fill those orders, organize a space, file some paperwork, do that computer work, feed the machine some pieces, just put one foot in front on the other. That's all you can do for now. Just be. xoxox

  6. Hugs to you. That’s all I can give, hugs and prayers.

  7. Such wonderful sentiments! Just think how your busy work will benefit so many quilters when the inn is up and running...we’ll be remembering Mark too as we recall what you were doing during your time of grief.

  8. Grief is so complicated, personal. Dealing in your way actually has a double benefit. Quilting literally saved my life. My Dear Son totally supported my sewing efforts and knowing that my quilting process actually is to honor him. While this work is so much of your life I suspect your brother would totally approve, expect it. Let the "grief attacks" happen, they will cleanse your soul and help you to move on in this new reality. God Bless.

  9. You have this wonderful way of bringing people together. The furnishings at Quiltville Inn are just one of the ways you do it. I love that you have made an entire community of like minded people in just the way you are putting the Inn together!
    My hope for you is that you find some peace in these hard times. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. I love how Quiltville Inn is coming together with pieces from quilters everywhere. It makes us all feel like one big family. Hugs Bonnie!

  11. Maybe another sibling has voice texts from Mark still? I know my mom is still with me at 96, but I keep her voicemails for that very reason...so painful to lose the ones we love too early.

  12. Thinking about you and your family. Love each other and keep busy. Grieve as you need to. It is always hardest on those left behind. Prayers for you and your family!

  13. Yes, one task at a time. Paint it out, stitch it out, let the tears flow! Be safe traveling to AZ. Family is forever!
    Even after a year I can see a picture of my Brothers that brings a memory and I melt in a puddle of tears. I deleted my voice mail from my brother too. Sad!! My heart and prayers are with you.

  14. Sending prayers & hugs your way. Margie/NY

  15. My comment didn't go thru last night, Bonnie. I so feel for you. My husband's having flat-lined 5 times in the last 2 weeks makes me more aware of your grief. May God comfort you as only He can, my friend. Love & prayers coming you way.

  16. Bonnie I would take my phone to the service provider and see if they can recover Mark’s voicemails. Or do you know someone that has a lot of computer savvy? Sending you love and prayers for comfort. BTW- the Inn is looking great!!

  17. My heart hurt for you while reading this. Your grief is so personal but you are sharing it so we all know that it is good to share your emotions. We all grieve in our own way and for whatever time it takes. You never stop missing the one you lost, but memories will keep you going until you meet again. Prayers. I always fine my peace while talking to God.

  18. Bonnie,
    I feel your pain. I lost my mom almost 2 years ago. I still have the last message she left for me, it was on my Birthday. I have listened to it a lot just to here her voice just one more time. I am praying to a safe trip and comfort at his time in your life. Lots of love from Davidson County, NC.

  19. I have been traveling and hadn't checked yesterday and see that your brother died yesterday - I'm so sorry - I have lost 2 brothers I feel the pain and all that goes with it. Take time to be with your family - orders and things can wait.

  20. I'm praying & sending love to you & your family. Hoping you feel all the love! You're always an inspiration to me in quilting & the quotes you post every time. So sorry you have to deal with such an incredible loss. Was really praying for Mark this whole time & glad you got at least a small amount of time to tell him how much you adored him. I hope you are able to see him as an angel watching over you from here on out♥️♥️

  21. (((((((hugs))))))) to you Bonnie.

  22. Your vision of your perfect sewing retreat is coming together and it looks simply stunning, you have a good eye for style such a pretty place I’m so pleased it found a loving owner in you.
    Prayers love and quilty hugs to you
    Anne xxx

  23. Today, I will send s stranger who I feel I know a big hug xx

  24. I am constantly amazed at how even in your pain, you open your life and include all of us in it. What an inspiration you are. So wonderful to finally meet you in PA. I am humbled and honored to have my patchy piece above the fireplace of Quiltvilla. Thank you for these daily words of wisdom. oxdeb

  25. Blessings and love to a friend I haven't met,you!

  26. Today's daily saying is the best advice ever! Of course, I've been randomly talking to strangers since about 1967. 🙂

    Thinking of you often today and in the days ahead.

  27. "They say that every little bit helps, so here's another little bit of love and caring, one foot in front of the next....lots of love,

  28. Oh Bonnie, it is amazing to me that you can share your thoughts and your grief so eloquently. I lost a son 10 years ago, and to this day I just can't talk about my grief. Your writing about this is a blessing to me, and I am sure to many others. God bless.

  29. Dear Bonnie,
    Your previous post brought tears to my eyes. So very sorry for your loss. So many wonderful and caring comments expressed sentiments and condolences far better than I could have...know that I send hugs and prayers of comfort. My mother passed in 1976, well before cell phones and the ability to keep a recorded voice close at hand. However, I still hear her voice in my mind, saying, “Hi, Dear!” as we would begin our phone conversations. So you will remember Mark’s voice as well. He will always be with you. Take care...safe travels. Thinking of you,
    -Lil K. from Wilmington, DE

  30. If someone else has a voicemail they can send it to your phone. I have a few messages from my mom on my answering machine They are a comfort. Take care

  31. The inn is so beautiful and inviting, and I am enjoying your posts on all of your progress. Sending hugs and prayers for you and your family. Take care

  32. So enjoying pictures of the Inn.
    From Florida, but I am in Nevada visiting my 92 year old Mom, and so grateful that my brother lives next door. Been thinking of you all week.......💐

  33. This is a little long and falls into the speaking to random strangers category. Today hubby and I had to make a 45 minute trip to a new doc. On the way back we decided to take the scenic route down Rt. 301 instead of I-95 back to Lillington and stopped at Kim's Barbecue Restaurant...in Dunn NC. She's only open on weekdays... Cool, the specials were fabulous and it's a seat-yourself type of place with regulars. A lady sat near us (at a 6 person table) and so I HAD to talk to her. Between the noise and her southern accent (I'm from the north) I had a hard time understanding her. Between listening real hard and reading her lips we exchanged pleasantries and smiles. I just may have embarrassed my husband, that's ok, he'll get over it) Thanks for sharing your heart with us Bonnnie. My prayers continue as you go through this hard part of your life journey.

  34. I started talking to random strangers this summer. It is amazing how friendly and grateful most of them are! Makes me think that despite all of our instant technological communication, people still appreciate and need the personal human “touch”.

  35. I talk to random strangers a lot!! It upsets my daughter, especially if we are in a metropolitan area! I have some wonderful (and wild) conversations with total strangers! I also share smiles!! Especially, if someone is looking less than happy! Or, a "Good Morning!!", when I am entering or leaving the grocery store!! I live in a smaller town, but never fail to greet folks I meet! When you run out of something on Thanksgiving and have to go out to you local convenience store, wish the people you meet a "Happy Thanksgiving!" and see their reactions. It is great! So, Bonnie, happy Thursday to you!!

  36. My heart hurts... for you Bonnie and for me. Take a break from blogging and working... or if it keeps you busy and helps you cope, post and work on what heals your heart. That's what I'm trying to do as I watch my brother suffer with his illness for which there seems there is nothing much more they can do for him., and I am trying to help in any way I can. Your blog posts are a comfort, I hope that makes you feel better to know. God Bless.


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