Wanderlust Wednesdays

Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world…give me a plane ticket and rolling suitcase and I am off!!

Springtime each year I get a serious case of “itchy feet”. Having worked very hard since our last trip (August, 2011!!), we are looking forward to some vacation time this summer, but where to go?! Over the years, we have had the opportunity to visit some amazing places, both in the US and abroad. Still have a lot of the earth left to cover, but would like to share some of my favorite pics with you…so introducing…Wanderlust Wednesdays! (I realize today is Thursday, but I didn’t get to finish this post until this morning : ) Inspired by my daughter’s upcoming trip to Sweden, today’s travel pics will be about one of my favorite places, Stockholm.

Entering the Harbor by Ship

Downtown Shopping and Pubs…cobblestone streets, outdoor cafes, loads of “tourist” shopping

Searching for a place to enjoy the local pub culture, instead found this place! O’Leary’s Pub- completely decked out in Boston Sports Collectibles, while the Celtics were playing on the telly.

Colorful Architecture..even on the dreariest day the downtown is alive with people!

Phone Booth…don’t see these in the States

Hot Air Balloon…floating overhead between the buildings…breathtaking!

Ice Hotel…The Ice Bar in Stockholm. Everyone said “don’t bother, it’s just a tourist trap”…and it was. But it was very cool.

Where else could you get Vodka in the rocks?!?! And I got to wear this awesome fur cape. Pretty stylish, huh?

Fishing boats lined the harbor

This is our Princess Cruise Ship from the Alleyway

The Vasa Museum– the building was constructed around the Vasa ship that sank on its maiden voyage! The master boat builder thought it would be fun to add an upper deck, not factoring in that whole side to side balance thing. The ship was launched with much fanfare, two gusts of wind knocked it over and it sank to the bottom of the harbor! Early 1900’s, they figured out how to bring it back up, and with most of the ship’s carvings intact, they built the museum around it.

Vasa Ship Cherubs

Nightime Along the Docks…time to sail away to our next port! Hope you enjoyed my pics (taken with my Iphone : ) Happy Sailing… Susan

The Launch

Would have preferred to be blogging about “The Lunch” at a lovely little Italian bistro in Tuscany. But The Kayaks have been in dry dock for over a year now, and it was time to take them for their maiden voyage. These kayaks were a birthday gift for my husband, presented to him with grand fanfare a year ago May-yes 2011!  Amazing how an adult could be so excited about a big blue plastic boat : )  Since that time, there were many reasons (ah, excuses) why the kayaks had not been launched. Poor weather, wrist surgery (on my part), lack of PFD’s (for those of you not boating saavy, that stands for Personal Flotation Device, previously known as, and more accurately described as a LIFE JACKET), lack of roof racks and a cruise to the Baltics-my preferred style of boating-someone steers the boat while I relax on the deck with a bucket of beers : )Fast forward to this past Sunday, a glorious spring day, the peace and tranquility of my morning coffee on the porch rudely interrupted by a text from my daughter saying “get ready, we are going kayaking today!”. Great. Good. It’s time. We had recently purchased a new car with roof racks, which up until now, had been utilized for carrying home furniture and stuff from antique shops. No more excuses, or pretty soon, those Kayaks were going to be utilized in a much more artistic form if we didn’t get them water-borne.

Being a reluctant participant, I hung back and took pics while the J-hook racks, and then the kayaks were secured to the roof, and the PFD secured to Bartlet the dog.

Off we go to our local Lake Quannapowitt, which is very pretty in pictures from afar, but not so much up close-a fierce algae bloom has turned the shoreline a bright shade of green. Ok to boat on, but wouldn’t want to fall in!

Since the kayaks were my husband’s gift, it was only fair that he have the first go-round (and yes, I was stalling).  My daughter Kate and her dog Bartlet were right behind him, at least for a moment, until the dog decided to test his PFD and his swimming abilities! Frenchies are great little dogs, but we had read that because their heads are quite large, they have a tendency to sink when submerged in water. I am happy to report that his ability to keep afloat with his head above water was masterful, and his PFD worked beautifully! Kate paddled quickly to his side and scooped him out of the water by the handle on the top of the jacket. Of course, I don’t have any pictures of that, because I was doubled-over laughing at the sequence of events. Suffice to say I could never make a living as an official photographer. And with that, the kayaks were launched.

Remember that old Nike tagline “Just Do It?”. With that thought in mind, I finally took my turn around the lake in the periwinkle blue LL Bean Perception kayak. In all the time thinking about and worrying about tipping over and going in the drink, that never was an issue. I did have a few run-ins with some bushes along the shore, but for the most part, it was an uneventful event. Until we packed up and returned home. Now I would like to tell the story that my sore back and neck was from a large wave crashing and tossing me into the lake. Sadly, not true. Safely back home after our maiden voyage, having removed the kayaks from the roof of the car, I had jumped up along the side of the car to unscrew the J-hook racks. Stepping back down, I tripped and fell backwards into the kayaks on the ground! Thankfully, no cameras handy to record that moment in the kayak annals. So my take on the whole experience? Lots of work to secure J-hooks, strap the kayaks to the roof, drive to location, unstrap and carry kayak to water’s edge, PFD’s are not all that comfortable, paddling is quite a good upper body workout, being on the lake is fun, but I would just as soon walk around the lake for my exercise. Will I go again? Perhaps. In the meantime, anyone wanna borrow some kayaks???

Peaceful sailing…Susan

Tee Shirt Memory Quilt

I am adding a new category to my blog called

D.I.M. (Do It Myself Because If I Don’t Do It Who Else Will?)

So today’s D.I.M project is a T-Shirt Quilt!  I have had a love affair with quilts since I was a kid, especially antique, hand-stitched beauties that have withstood the test of time. (I am a country-girl at heart, after all) Not having much time these days to spend the hours necessary to make an authentic hand-made quilt, I typically create T-shirt quilts and donate them for various Boston area charities through

 Threads of Hope.

Occasionally I am commissioned to make one as a gift, so I am featuring this quilt for a soon-to-be high school grad for demonstration purposes. The collection of t-shirts his mom handed over to me are sacred to him- various basketball & soccer teams, childhood memories of camping and community service- and one very special shirt with pics of his dog.  Each time I create a quilt, I do so with the recipient in mind, creating what I hope will be a cherished momento that will last a lifetime. In that spirit, I am sharing this information so that you, too, can make a quilt for someone you love!

T-Shirt Quilt Creations 101 is now in session.

Supplies you will need to create one quilt approx 52 x 70 inches: A layout of the quilt you are making with the shirts and cross-pieces laid out.

T-shirts -I typically work with a dozen, using each as a square, cut 14″ X 16″. They can be brand new, used, stained, painted, torn-it doesn’t matter, as you will be cutting them apart anyway. Make sure you wash them all before you start- don’t want your quilt smelling like a locker room!

Scissors, Rotary Cutter & Cutting Board, T-square.All the tools you need to get the shirts cut accurately-very important!

Pellon Fusible Interfacing. T-shirts have a lot of give & stretch, so they need to be stabilized to prevent them from warping while sewing. This stuff is the easiest and cheapest to work with. Only .99 per yard, and with a Joann’s coupon, only .50!

Batting- you can use cotton or poly. I prefer the poly because it holds its shape better and is not as heavy as the cotton fill. Again with a coupon, pretty inexpensive.

Fabric for cross pieces and backing. I typically use a sheet- a full-sized one will give you a single piece for the backing, then enough left over to make the columns and rows. I have an embroidery machine, so I use different fabrics for the cross-pieces, but you can use the same for all three. If you want to use different fabrics to add more color or design, these little Fat Quarters are great- each one gives you 5 cross-pieces!

It goes without saying that you need a sewing machine. Any kind, as long as it sews a straight line or if you want to get a bit fancy, zig-zag! Mine is an old Brother that I got at Target for $159.99 Nothing special, but it gets the job done.

OK, now that you have all the stuff, let’s get going! First you need to identify what part of the shirts you would like to use. Sometimes I just use the front panel, other times I take patches off the sleeves or back and applique them to the front for added interest.

Rough-cut the front panels to approx 16W X 18L . Once you have them rough-cut, fuse each piece with the interfacing on the reverse side. When using the iron, make sure you follow the directions for the interfacing! Also, if you are using game shirts or raised silk-screen shirts, do not place the iron directly onto the shirt or it will melt! Always use a top cloth of white cotton. Once you have fused the square, make the final cut to 14W x 16L inches. Using a half-inch seam allowance, your final squares will end up being 13W X 15L.

Now cut all of your side and cross pieces. Cross pieces will be 14W X 4L. (I always leave a little extra on each end, in case of mistakes : ). If you have 3 columns of shirt squares, you will need 4 long strips approximately 80 inches long for in between each one and a top and bottom piece approximately 60W by 4L. I cut mine 4 inches wide, but you could do less, or more, depending on how big you want the quilt to be.

Line up your shirts in the order you wish them to be on the quilt. This usually takes place on the floor, as I don’t have a table big enough for the full visual. Now begin assembling your quilt, starting with top cross-piece, then a shirt square, then another cross piece, then a square, and so on, building your columns 4 shirts down and your rows 3 across. As you add each piece, make sure you line it up with the one below so your columns are even and straight.

Once you have your three columns of squares and cross-pieces, stitch the columns of 4 inch wide fabric that will hold the entire top of the quilt together. Add the top and bottom pieces that create a “frame” around the squares. Keep checking to make sure that your corners all match up! You know that old carpenter’s saying “Measure twice, cut once?”, so important! I measure and re-measure as I go. Trim excess.

Now that your top is completed, you will attach it to the back, right sides together. Pin first, then stitch, then trim. Make sure you leave an adequate opening to turn the quilt right side out, at least one full shirt square in width.  Once it is trimmed, you are going to hand baste the batting to the quilt all the way around. Again, the easiest way I have found to do this is on the floor (not great for the back…)

Once the batting is basted on, trim the excess away.

Turn your quilt right side out. Press and pin the edges and corners.

I stitch each corner with a tiny machine zig-zag, to hold the quilt and batting in place through all three layers. Press closed the opening and stitch by hand, or with a decorative stitch (I used a blanket stitch here).  Press again, trim away any threads and you’re done!

A work of art that you can proudly present as a gift for that special someone. Now, I know this is somewhat confusing, and trust me, you won’t do this in a day. If you have any questions, or need assistance, please email me @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com.

Just remember, “a stitch in time saves nine” (right, I have no idea what that means either) Susan

Taking a Break

Sometimes you just need a break. In the middle of yet another quilt project with the deadline looming, I just kept gazing out the windows of my dining room “workshop”. Glimpes of the first sunshine we have seen in over a week kept distracting me (something sparkly?!). Such a warm evening… time to go walk the lake.

Around these parts, “walking the lake” refers to Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield. Essentially 3 miles around, the lake is the perfect place to stroll, jog, push a baby carriage and just clear your mind. In 45 minutes, I managed to work up a sweat, create some new blog titles, burn off a few calories and take some pics with my trusty Iphone.

Driftwood and sailboats…

Sun setting through the trees…

Boating nirvana…

Twilight sparkle…

Hope you enjoy the scenery! And if you have some spare time this weekend, Festival By The Lake is happening on Saturday!

It’s almost Friday…Susan

The Secret Lives-of Bee-Keepers

Partied with fomer work colleagues the other night, some of whom I haven’t seen in over a decade. Laughed heartily, exchanged kid pics, reminisced about our times working together, and caught up on all that’s new in our lives. One friend (who shall remain nameless per her request-from this point on she will be referred to as Honey)

entertained the crowd with stories about her newest hobby- beekeeping! “Bee”ing in the healthcare industry for years, Honey is naturally concerned about the health and well-“bee”ing of her family. Learning that there are only three natural sugars on earth- honey “bee”ing one of them- Honey decided that she wanted to experience the thrill of harvesting that rich golden liquid right in her own back yard.  And she is not alone.  Apparently there is a hidden colony of beekeepers right here in the Boston area. Propogated by the woman she referred to as the “crazy bee lady” in Lexington, these are regular folk who want to experience the pure taste of “home-grown” honey.  Her teenage children were naturally mortified, watching her build the apiary, poring through bee catalogs, fearing their mom had lost her mind. Started talking about it at school, and soon discovered that many of their teachers also were closet bee-keepers! Even the Verizon repair guy offered her a full-length jump suit when he spotted her bee hotel in the yard- now that’s full service TV repair!

Now, I know nothing of bee-keeping other than watching Queen Latifah educating Dakota Fanning in The Secret Life Of Bees, so a little research was in order. A glossary of bee-keeping terms for your educational well-“bee”ing:

Beekeeping: (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive (including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers.

Honey: a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation (yup, that’s right, it’s their vomit they produce to feed their young) and store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Beekeeping practices encourage overproduction of honey so the excess can be taken from the colony

Apiary:  also known as a bee yard,  kind of an outdoor hotel where beehives of honey bees are kept. Certainly not the Ritz…

Italian Bees: The Italian honey bee is thought to originate from the continental part of Italy, South of the Alps, and North of Sicily. This is the kinder, gentler of the honey bees and widely used in this area. Bellissimo!

Russian Bees: The Russian honeybee refers to honey bees (Apis mellifera) that originate in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia. This strain of bee was imported into the United States in 1997 by the USDA‘s Honeybee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to severe declines in bee populations caused by infestations of parasitic mites,[1] and have been used in breeding programs to improve existing stocks. According to Honey, they are more hostile than the Ialians (there is a joke in there somewhere, but in the interest of “bee”ing  politically correct, I’ll pass : )

 

 

 

Bee Smoker: simply called a smoker, is a device used in beekeeping to calm honey bees. It is designed to generate smoke from the smouldering of various fuels, hence the name. Honey reports that when you smoke your apiary, the bees think there is a fire, and all drop to the bottom of the box, so that she can harvest the honey above.

(Stop, Drop & Roll?!)

Beekeepers Suit: Consisting of screened hood, gloves, jumpsuit- essentially covering every part of exposed skin. Used to protect the human from sustaining stings while harvesting or tending to their colony. Remember, bee stings can result in anaphylactic shock, when untreated, could be fatal. I think, for me, Market Basket might be a less deadly source of honey…

Nectar: a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants. It is produced in glands called nectaries, within the flowers, in which it attracts pollinating animals. Common nectar-consuming pollinators include bees, butterflies and moths, hummingbirds and bats. Nectar is an ecologically important item, the sugar source for honey.

Queen Bee: typically refers to an adult, mated female that lives in a honey bee colony or hive; she is usually the mother of most, if not all, the bees in the hive.[1] The queens are developed from larvae selected by worker bees and specially fed in order to become sexually mature. There is normally only one adult, mated queen in a hive. Honey says when the colony shipment arrived, the queen was in her own suite, and marked with a big dot on her head-perhaps a nod to the Queen Elizabeth’s penchant for fashionable headgear?

Drones: male honey bees. They develop from eggs that have not been fertilized, and they cannot sting, since the worker bee’s stinger is a modified ovipositor (an egg laying organ). Apparently they just hang around and impregnate the queen.

Worker Bees: Workers leave the hive daily, gathering pollen into the pollen baskets on their back legs, to carry back to the hive where it is used as food for the developing brood. Pollen carried on their bodies may be carried to another flower where a small portion can rub off onto the pistil, resulting in cross pollination. Almost all of civilization’s food supply (maize is a noteworthy exception) depends greatly on crop pollination by honey bees, whether directly eaten or used as forage crops for animals that produce milk and meat. Nectar is sucked up through the proboscis, mixed with enzymes in the stomach, and carried back to the hive, where it is stored in wax cells and evaporated into honey.

If, after reading this, you are interested in starting your own bee colony, this is a great DIY tutorial from The Daily Green at Good Housekeeping. Of course, you can’t go into your local Walmart to pick up supplies, but there are loads of online resources for purchasing and maintaining your bee colony. Honey purchased hers from Georgia– I imagine southern bees to be a kinder, more gracious bee? And she also promised a freshly-harvested jar of the liquid gold come September. Her 20,000-strong colony should produce 1-2 gallons!!

Now that’s something to “bee” excited about!! Enjoy your “Bee-autiful day! Susan

Waxing Nostalgic

When we were little kids (yup, that’s me, second from the left with those Will Smith dumbo ears : ), our family home had many rooms with hardwood floors. “Waxing day” was always so much fun- although now thinking about it, the actual hard, tedious waxing part was done by my mom on her hands and knees- we just had the fun! Once the wax was dried, she had us don some fat white socks and hit the floor running! Back and forth, slipping and sliding, having a blast and polishing the wax at the same time-genius! Would have been even more fun had Tom Cruise been dancing in the dining room…

So, imagine my delight when shopping last night, I came across these Slipper Genies! Someone- who also did some “slide-waxing” as a kid, perhaps?-came up with the ingenious idea of adding duster bottoms to slippers. Naturally, I had to buy them (well, my sister bought them for me-thanks, Nance!). In my home, we also have hardwood floors throughout. Between the plaster dust, the pollen and the shedding dog

I am forever grabbing the Swiffer to make a quick pass through- especially when company is on the way! So necessity being the mother of invention, it seemed logical to me that since I am walking through these spaces, why not put these on and dust at the same time?!  This morning was the  trial run of the sliding slippers. Note the legal disclaimers on the reverse side of the packaging, which included:

What a killjoy!! What good is a sliding slipper if you can’t slip and slide!?! And my balance can be a little off at times, but I swear I will not drink martinis while waxing the floors. So they say that they are not a toy, but, hey, why not add a stuffed animal head to the kids’ slippers?!? That seems logical to me.

Warnings be damned, I added a bit of hardwood flooring spray for some shine and added traction (really didn’t want to turn this house into a giant slip ‘n slide-I have stuff to do today that should not include a trip to the ER). The results? Success! See all the dog hairs under my toe? I couldn’t even see them, but the slipper genie grabbed them! So now the floor looks great, and after 5 minutes my thighs got an awesome workout- no need to order the “AS SEEN ON TV THIGH GLIDER“.  Now if someone would only invent some lawn mowing slippers… hope you glide through your day today!

Susan

Read ‘Em and Weed

Nothing better than waking up early on Friday mornings-no work today (well, at least not at my paying job- I do, however, have a long to-do list!) But it’s just after 5am and I have a bit of time to hang out on the porch with my first cup of coffee, and a pile of this week’s catalogs that I haven’t had a chance to look at yet. Now, I love cyberspace as much as the next girl (after all, where would you read my blog?), but is there anything better than turning the pages of a glossy catalog, dreaming of far off lands or decorating for summer? This week’s stash is all about outdoor spaces:

Ballard Designs with their gracious new Southern Living Collection:

Pottery Barn– always classic designs- this one with All-American splashes of color

PetEdge (just in case I need a life jacket for the dog when we launch the kayaks, long story-hahahahahahaha!)

Crate and Barrel-simple, colorful, so fun and oh, a 10% coupon!

Penny Lane featuring the works of David Bromstad from HGTV (already ordered the Pink Frenchies for my daughter!)

Princess CruisesDreams Start Here is right!

So now it’s 5:45 (yup, that’s AM) the sun is up and the first cup of turbo-charged coffee is long gone. One thing about relaxing on the porch, it’s hard not to notice that the gardens are in dire need of weeding. Off I go in my PJ’s and sweatshirt, barefoot and gloveless, ruthlessly yanking weeds and overgrown perennials. Fast forward one hour, three mountains of weeds and cuttings, muddy feet and one happy frog later.

Lots to do, time to get ready for the rest of my day! If you are lucky enough to have a little time off to yourself, savor every moment, whether it’s reading by the pool or weeding the garden. Do what you love, make it count. Have a great Friday! Susan

Love At First Stripe

Aside from Buffalo Plaid, my other favorite style icon is stripes! Big and bold or soft and dreamy, stripes make a statement about your style.

Define your space with stripes. Add a touch of bright to white.

Just a touch of bold for night.

Give the illusion of length

or height But not width. Stacy and Clinton warn most of us to avoid horizontal stripes, but honestly, if I looked like this, why not?!?!)

To me, navy stripes are nautical and beachy…like this comfy chair

Or umbrellas in a row or one perfect hat One fabulous suit

One perfect summer tote

One perfect sail

My latest obsession? Chevron Stripes. WOW! Introduced by the Missoni Fashion House back in the 70’s, chevron stripes are all the rage right now. You will find the signature zig zag pattern in eye-popping fashion,

Decorating vintage vignettes or modern, ecletic homes Even in nurseries! I am a lover of fashionable babies as much as the next mom, but not sure if even I could sleep in this room!

Recently spotted this picture in House Beautiful Magazine. You know that moment when you see something, really SEE something, and your heart starts pounding and your mind starts racing and you think, “where, oh where can I put this?!?” That “Ah, Ha!” decorating moment. This was it for me. I see another project in my future…

Time to get out the masking tape and paint supplies- oh, wait! – right after I finish the Hall of Shame!!! Susan

PS- I found this great tutorial on Pinterest on how to make perfect Chevron Stripes in your space. And if you happen to finish your project before I finish mine, please send me pics @ countrydesignhome@gmail.com and I will post them!

Thanks for Reading!

5046 and counting!! The number of hits I have had on my blog since my first published post on February 25, 2012 (such a rookie back then)! Thanks to everyone for continuing to read and respond to the posts about my crazy life. I will keep writing as long as you all keep reading : )

Memorial Day – The Weekend Update

The long weekend update : ) So far, this Memorial Day weekend has been well spent day-tripping, yard-saleing, dining (best nachos and view of the bay at the Black Cow in Newburyport) and hanging out with family and friends.  Took a ride up the coast on Saturday. Not sure whose idea it was, but never a smart choice to hit Hampton Beach on the first sunny day of a long holiday weekend (especially when you are stuck in miles of traffic with an empty tank of gas)!

Yesterday, I attended Boston’s Run to Remember (mentioned previously in this post), not as a runner, but as a spectator, cheering on my kids, their cousins and friends.

It was quite an impressive spectacle, with over 8000 runners participating in either a half-marathon or a 5 mile run, all to raise funds in honor of fallen Boston Police Officers. Coptors buzzing overhead, thousands of pounding feet, police motorcades and cheering spectators made for a memorable Sunday morning.

 Did a little window shopping while waiting at the 12 mile marker for our runners to arrive. Not sure what the marketing concept is behind the bird cage hat-bizarre!!!

Before I published the original post about Memorial Day, I asked my mom if she had any pictures of my dad in his naval uniform.

He served in the US Navy, aboard the USS Wakefield in WWII. Unexpectedly, the other day, she arrived at my house with an old leather scrapbook of my dad’s dated 1944-1946, filled with pictures and newspaper clippings of his time spent in Guam and the Phillipines. Especially amazing since I wasn’t even aware that this book existed! The edges literally crumbling in my hands as I carefully turn the pages, I am discovering a another chapter of my dad’s life he rarely mentioned during his lifetime. There are maps, typed clippings of naval co-ordinates, photos of his naval buddies and an “official” letter to his mom from the U.S. Naval Training Center.

A family treasure, to be sure, and one that I will try to preserve to pass on to the next generation. With this album they will discover that the man they knew simply as Grandpere was once a young man himself, with a love of family, an adventurous spirit and a wish to serve his country. Enjoy the rest of this long beautiful weekend!! Susan

Previous Post: With Memorial Day fast approaching, rather than discussing the latest decorating trends in red, white and blue or backyard BBQ’s, I would like to take a moment to share my thoughts about heroes. Male or female, military or civilian, heroes are just regular people who, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, rise to the occasion. Without thoughts of their own personal well-being, they give their bodies, hearts, souls and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and safety of others. To them, our friends and families, co-workers and neighbors, soldiers, firefighters and police officers, we say thank you on this upcoming Memorial Day.

In our family, we often participate in charitable events for organizations that honor and help our heroes. This is a legacy passed down from my father, a WWII veteran who donated his time and energy in many ways, and always expected the same from his children. A friend once referred to it as “the crazy charity gene”, which I am pleased to say has been passed on to my own children. My recollections of his generous spirit go way back to when I was attending St. Mary’s Annunciation Elementary School. I remember driving up to the convent in our Ford station wagon laden with donated loaves of bread for the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Fast forward a few decades, and that spirit of generosity and service lives on in this generation. There are so many charities striving to help those less fortunate, every penny counts, and there are countless ways to pitch in. Whether you run, walk, dance, sew, auction,  crawl, counsel or just volunteer your time or donate dollars, it matters.

 With that spirit of giving in mind, I would like to take a moment to mention a few events in the Boston area that support many of our local heroes. Last weekend, my brother ran the “Run to Home Base” at Fenway Park, where over 2 million dollars was raised for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. These funds are essential to continue to care for veterans and their families affected by combat stress and traumatic brain injury.  Congrats to Bob-so proud of you!!

This upcoming weekend, our children, their cousins and many of their friends will be running in Boston’s Run to Remember, a half-marathon and 5K to honor Massachusetts Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty. The net proceeds benefit community and kids’ programs of the Boston Police Department and their families.

On May 30th, our family, along with hundreds of supporters, will be attending a benefit at Fenway Park for the Pete Frates #3 Fund. Pete is a 27-year-old, former Division 1 college athlete and Captain of Boston College Baseball, who was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Having recently learned of his devastating diagnosis, Pete, along with his family and friends have stepped up to the plate, coordinating fund-raising events to aid in the research and development of a cure for ALS. Our best wishes go out to Pete, and we are excited to see him throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park next week!

Now me, I am not much of a runner, and I hung up my cleats years ago.(yup, that’s me at bat in bell-bottom jeans-we were lucky to have game shirts back then! Thank you Title IX : )  Sewing is my thing, and I make quilts, lots of them, to donate to local charities. On my Facebook page,  “Threads of Hope”, you can view some samples of my quilts that have helped to raise over $11,000.00 for local charities. And if you happen to know of a charity that could use a quilt, email me!

Click on the links above to learn more about, to participate in, or to make a donation to any of these great causes.If you have a charitable event you would like to share or have a picture of your hero, send it to me and I will post it here. On this Memorial Day weekend, it’s all about remembering and paying it forward. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Susan

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