Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Puppies In The Sky With Diamonds


On March 15th I had told you that the following day I would be flying and picking up a mother and her eight babies. That morning I got out to the airport and found out that the weather was not cooperating in southern Illinois. So back home I went. Frustrating, but it happens. For the past two weeks we have tried a number of times to do the flight but it always seemed like the weather was great on the days I couldn't go and horrible on the days that I could go. Finally, the clouds parted and we had a beautiful day yesterday. I was in the air by 8:30. It was such a gorgeous morning, no clouds, beautiful clear skies and no turbulence, just a dream of a flight. When I arrived in Sikeston, Missouri, Laura was in her van waiting for me with a Newfoundland and her 8 rather large puppies. Oh, they were so cute.





I got one look at the puppies and I had no idea how I was going to fit all eight puppies and their mother in the crate that I had. Thankfully Laura donated a crate and we were able to put five puppies in the smaller crate and the mother with three puppies in the larger crate.
Even the line guys got in on the action of loading the puppies.


Check out the two in the back of the crate playing away.



I love this picture. A box full of puppies. Beyond precious.




Sadly, this is not a very good picture of the mother. She is such a sweet dog. As I was flying back, I turned around to check on her. She was sitting in the cage just looking at me. I noticed that she has eyes just like my Gracie. In fact she reminded me a lot of how Gracie was when we first got her. She had also recently had puppies and was horribly thin, but she remained so sweet and so grateful for everything I did for her.

The flight back was rather uneventful except for the wonderful aroma that filled the plane. Puppies will be puppies. As I flew along I tried to think of other things like how this is nothing like how it must be to transport elephants!!! Just a quick story. A friend who flies cargo out of New York was telling me about a flight where they actually flew elephants. The flight didn't last very long. The elephants were chained in the back. As they were taking off the elephants began to move and started to bellow as elephants do when they are about to charge. The pilots made the fast decision to quickly return before they became a flying torpedo headed for the ground. Yikes. I can put up with a little smell any day.

So now for the funny part of the day, at least I have learned to find it funny. Another pilot walked up as we were loading the dogs and was naturally curious. He asked a number of questions and then he asked the two lines guys which one was the pilot. Believe me, this happens all the time. They looked up at him and pointed to me and said, "she is." He was stunned. And then those magical words, "well, you don't look like a pilot, you're too well dressed and you're wearing diamonds in your ears."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Computers...A Love Hate Relationship

The above picture best describes how I have been feeling about my computer. To tell the truth, I came very close to throwing it out the window yesterday. We are getting a new computer!!!
Since the computer has decided to cooperate with me today, I have downloaded close up pictures of my outfit that I wore to the wedding.

The jacket is not my design. I used a wonderful 1940's pattern. It was a bit strange to put together. This was a pattern where it was a must to mark everything, every dot, every notch. The pattern actually has a two piece sleeve. There is an armhole seam for the front sleeve, but the back sleeve is part of the back pattern piece. There was a strange little dart that formed the shoulder seam. The front actually closes on an angel.


Just for fun, I had these little glass beads so I decided to sew them to the ends of the buttonholes. My buttonholes were fine, but after I did this I realized that this could be a great little trick to cover up a bound buttonhole that didn't quite work out!


The skirt. It was really a lot of fun to put together. The trick was getting the ribbons tight enough, but not too tight.


In my last post, I told you about the ribbon with the stitching on the edge. The ribbon I'm talking about is the beige ribbon. I just loved it. It's very subtle, but it picked up the beige in the jacket and the brown that was used for the dragon motif.

I backed the skirt with a piece of silk and I used a piece of lace seam binding to hold the ribbons down for the hem.

I've been determined to use what I have lately. I had a piece of silk charmuse that was perfect for the lining, but it was just a little too short to add a hem. I was determined, so I started looking through everything and I came across a piece of lace edging that I had cut off of some lace yardage 26 years ago. Magically, I had just enough. So I zigzagged the piece on the silk, done. I was so happy.


And now, just a little fun. The bracelet I bought at an antique store some time ago. I love it. It was crocheted and it has the lovliest white glass buttons on it. I don't think that any two are exactly alike.


And for most of us, the icing on the cake is ironically our shoes and I dooooo love shoes. I have had these shoes for quite a while and they have been a prized piece of my wardrobe as they seem to go with so many things. And here's the best part, I paid $20.00 for them. I was downtown one day and as I was walking to the train, I walked past this shoe store. I thought, I'm just going in to look (sure), I don't need anything. This was the last pair and they had been marked down a number of times. I just couldn't believe that no one had bought them. Need them or not, they were going home with me.
Thank you for all the lovely comments I've received. It means the world to me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weaving Memories

From the time I was a small child, I dreamed of one day having my own family, but sometimes life just doesn't work out as we think it should. Without going too much into my story, I will share that we tried everything. Finally, after a period of grieving, I told my husband that yes, I would love to have my own family, but I just needed to feel that I had made a difference in the life of a child. There was an ad in our neighborhood newsletter looking for people to host exchange students. That hit home for me. When I was in high school, I took French and would have loved the opportunity to live and study in France as an exchange student. My father left and there was no money for such an adventure, but here was my chance to make this possible for a teenager. Over the years we hosted 11 students from all over the world. On February 26th, our German student who lived with us the very first year we hosted, got married. We also hosted his two sisters later on. We have 3 Italian students that we have not seen for quite a while, so we arranged to see them before the wedding in Austria. (Going to Austria from Germany is like going to Indiana from Illinois, sounds exotic but it's actually just a 3 hour drive.)

We had a wonderful time. In this picture is from left to right, Massimo, my husband Carl, Giacomo, and Alex. They are all men now and are doing quite well. I am so very proud of them and I loved having them together and sharing stories. Of course their favorite stories are of all the things I did to make their life difficult while they lived with us.
So I needed a special dress for a special wedding. Last summer I decided to weave a skirt out of ribbons. I got it started, but wasn't in a hurry to get it done, so it stayed on my board for quite a while.

The gold ribbon I had. The other ribbons I bought to pick up the colors in a piece of Asian print fabric that I had. I'm sure you can guess where I bought the ribbons, Soutache of course! I was so pleased with the ribbons that I chose. You really can't see it in this picture, but the beige ribbon actually has a small stitched edge on either side and it was absolutely perfect with the fabric.
Everyone who has seen the skirt asks how long it took to do the weaving. Once I decided how I wanted the ribbons to be arranged, the weaving took about 6 hours. The real work came when I attached it to a piece of silk as an underlining and then figuring out exactly how I would finish the hem. I don't have close up pictures at the moment, but I will take some to share with you.

Me with our Martin and his lovely bride, Jeanette.

Another picture of me with Martin taken in the castle where we stayed and where they held the reception.


Sadly, this picture is rather blurred, but at least you can see what my blouse looks like.


This is a picture of the castle where we stayed. It was built in the 1500's and had been the summer home of a duke.


Life did not work out exactly as I had planned. A friend asked me once, "what would you give up now that you have gone on with your life?" That was a very interesting question for me to ponder. If I had gone on to have that family, I would probably have never learned to fly, I would probably not have taken exchange students. Now that I am on this side of those experiences, I can't imagine my life any other way. Some of the ribbons in my skirt are rather narrow and seem less significant than the others, but if one was missing, the whole piece would fall apart. The time I spent with these kids was a very narrow portion of their life and mine as well, but I know that it was significant. They made my life richer and so much more meaningful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Glimpse of Heaven

It's been quite a while since my last post. We were in Germany attending the wedding of one of our exchange students. I'll write more about this later this week, but tonight I would like to share an incredible story.
Last summer I had the opportunity to fly a litter of Blue Tick puppies from Sikeston,MO back to Chicago where another pilot met me and then flew them on to Appleton,WI. Missouri is a hot bed for puppy mills. So sad, but this is a very happy story. Take a look at the puppy that is in my right arm in the above picture. She is now a grown dog living in Wisconsin and she has a job. She is now a psychiatric service dog. You can see her in the picture below wearing her vest, so proudly I might add.

I always say a prayer over every dog I fly hoping that they will find their special mission. Abby found hers.


The smile on this mans face is worth far more than gold. It's truly priceless.
For me this is like a glimpse of heaven. To know that a few moments of my time has changed someones life is the most incredible gift. Tomorrow morning I will be up early and off to Missouri once again to pick up a mother and her eight puppies. I will probably never know where they will end up, but I hope they will make someone smile as big as Abby has made her friend smile.
This is the first big trip since I lost my alternator in Ohio. So if you happen to read this, send a few prayers my way tomorrow. I'll post pictures tomorrow night.