Manual Grandmothers Flower Garden (Pecan Valley Book 1)

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For August, running into a long-ago friend sets in motion resonant memories and transports her to a time and a place she thought she had mislaid: s Brooklyn, where friendship was everything. August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi shared confidences as they ambled their neighborhood streets, a place where the girls believed that they were amazingly beautiful, brilliantly talented, with a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful promise there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where mothers disappeared, where fathers found religion, and where madness was a mere sunset away. In prose exquisite and lyrical, sensuous and tender, Woodson breathes life into memories, portraying an indelible friendship that united young lives. Wondering what that is? I am not my sister. Words from the books curl around each other make little sense until I read them again and again, the story settling into memory. Too slow the teacher says. Read faster.

Too babyish , the teacher says. Read older. Good enough name for me , my father said the day I was born. But the women said no. My mother first. Then each aunt, pulling my pink blanket back patting the crop of thick curls tugging at my new toes touching my cheeks. But only so my mother could hear.

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Jacqueline, just in case I grew up and wanted something a little bit longer and further away from Jack. The monsters that come at night snatch. That summer, the fence that stretched through our town seemed bigger. We lived in a yellow house on one side of it. White people lived on the other. That summer, there was a girl who wore a pink sweater. Each morning she climbed up on that fence and stared over at our side. Albert said. Goes out, like a ripple into the world. Brown Girl Dreaming tells the story of my childhood, in verse.

In these poems, I share what it was like to grow up as an African American in the s and s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and my growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. It also reflects the joy of finding my voice through writing stories, despite the fact that I struggled with reading as a child. My love of stories inspired and stayed with me, creating the first sparks of the writer I was to become. I wanted to understand who my mom was before she was my mother and I wanted to understand exactly how I became a writer.

So I started researching my life, asking relatives and talking to friends — and mostly, just letting myself remember. This is a fictive memoir. From the early s until the mid s, more than 6 million African Americans moved from the rural south to northern cities. The book begins:. This is the rope my grandmother found beneath an old tree a long time ago back home in South Carolina. This is the rope my grandmother skipped under the shade of a sweet-smelling pine. I wanted to tell the story of how some Black people came to New York City.

When I began writing it, my mom was still living. A new girl comes to school and tries to make friends. When Chloe, the narrator, is unkind, the girl keeps trying. And then the girl is gone and Chloe is left only with the memory of her unkindness. At some point in our lives, we are all unkind. At some point, we are all treated unkindly. I wanted to understand this more. Albert, says, that everything we do goes out, like a ripple into the world.

I wrote this because I believe in kindness. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past. I wanted to understand why someone would get involved in a drug that could ruin their life. And I wanted to understand the devastation of Katrina. Long after the news stopped reporting about it, people were still struggling.

Gia is tired of hearing about the new baby. Gia thinks things are fine just the way they are! Beloved author Jacqueline Woodson and Sophie Blackall have created a heartwarming story for kids adjusting to the idea of a new family member. Mostly in Brooklyn but for some of the rewrite, I was traveling.

I remember editing it while I was on the beach somewhere. By then, of course, it was way, way, way too late. And yes, both of them love pecan pie. It is wartime, and women have to go to work while the men are off fighting. With the small amount of information I gathered, I began to write this book. Teeka and her grandmother go to the family picnic and boy!

To let myself remember how delicious picnics can be. And to keep my promise of putting my niece, Teeka, in a book. Two girls, Clover and Annie, become friends in a small, segregated town. I wanted to write about how powerful kids can be. Clover and Annie fight against segregation by becoming friends. We all have this power. When he dies, he leaves behind his beliefs about the world and a harvest to help her remember him and know that the circle of life goes on and on. I wrote this book in memory of my grandfather, Ganaar, who was a gardener. Whenever I see beautiful gardens filled with vegetables or flowers, I think of him.

Johnson and his sister Beebee have to take care of themselves after their mother leaves. There are so many kids in foster care or living with relatives who are not their moms or dads. There are all kinds of families in the world and I wanted to write a book about this. A young girl looks forward to the day she gets to go visit her father.

Because once a month when I was a little girl, I would go upstate and visit my favorite uncle. I remember those days well and wanted to write about them. This is the story of seven generations of girls and women who were quilters and artists and freedom fighters.

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I wrote it here in Park Slope, Brooklyn mostly. After my grandmother died and my daughter was born, I wanted to figure out a way to hold on to all the amazing history in our family. I wanted a Show Way for my own daughter. A lot of readers wrote and asked what happened after Maizon got home from boarding school. Maizon Singh is one of the few black girls at an all-white boarding school. It was the first book I wrote that really dealt with racism.

Margaret and Maizon are best friends. Growing up, there were very few books about black girls and even fewer about people like the people I knew in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. I wanted to write about the people I loved and the neighborhood that had been my home for many years. Last Summer With Maizon was my first novel. Lonnie C.

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Motion has had some tough breaks in his life. The poems started coming and the rest…the rest is this book, I guess. I never name the place but was imagining this point between the Brooklyn and Queens border — right near Kennedy Airport. Lonnie and his sister Lili are in foster care after the death of their parents. Sally-Forth: But I was just getting to the exciting part of the story. We saw dogs and people playing in a fenced-in field. Sally-Forth: Well, some of the police officers who visit us are nice, and these guys looked like the nice kind of police officers because they were giving their dogs lots of attention and playing with them.

Even wrestling! No wonder, too. That arm was inside an especially big and heavy sleeve. Tally-Ho: I almost barked at that! He was being swung around. Sally-Forth: That was scary. And all those little people scared me, too, at first. Tally-Ho: You were the one who discovered they were just kids wearing funny outfits.

Sally-Forth: Some of those poor babies had icky stuff on their faces. Tally-Ho: Is that orange thing looking at us? Sally-Forth: I think we should protect Willow and ourselves from it. Tally-Ho: Okay! Hey, why did all those birds fly away? Sally-Forth and Tally-Ho October 29, Haylee turned out to be the best seamstress of us all, and always dreamed of opening her own fabric shop. When she saw a block of four shops for sale in a village in northwestern Pennsylvania, she told us about it, and before we even turned fifty, we quit our jobs and opened stores.

I own Tell a Yarn. Before long, our village had a nickname—Threadville, and tourists were flocking to it. Sally-Forth shaking head to toe That was fun, but those waves are predictable. They just keep coming one by one, then they mysteriously disappear. Sally-Forth: Birds are more fun. Where are those long-legged ones that tease us and float just out of our reach, you know, those squawky, mostly white ones? Tally-Ho: searches the horizon I don't know. I think Willow calls them sea gulls, but this isn't a sea, it's Lake Erie. Tally-Ho: hip-checks her Ha, ha, very funny.

This is serious. I've hardly seen any all summer. Sally-Forth: We're always helping Willow solve mysteries. Maybe she'll help us solve this one. Tally-Ho: Let's tell her. C'mon, turn around and we'll bark at her together! Sally-Forth and Tally-Ho July 17, When I was seventeen and about to head off for college, I discovered I was pregnant. I had no one to turn to. No grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. No one but my two best friends. Haylee, my daughter, has three mothers. We obtained our degrees, enjoyed great careers, and raised the most wonderful daughter anyone could ever want.

We also had hobbies that we loved, all of them involving making things with fabric, thread, yarn. On my side of the street, in addition to In Stitches, we have a costume shop, a home decorating shop, and a hardware store. Consider coming for the entire weekend. We also have a community picnic on Saturday night with all sorts of things for kids to do, and yummy food. And the newly restored Elderberry Bay Lodge, a fine old Victorian inn, is almost ready for guests after being boarded up for thirty years. The moon will be full on Sunday night that weekend, great for romantic strolls on our Lake Erie beach.

I take it easy. But handling that beautiful white stuff kind of takes me back to the joys of being young, when snow was like a huge set of toys being delivered to all the yards and playgrounds in my neighborhood. I love spring, and I look forward to it. I like it best when it takes its time developing, and each day is another gem of budding, new life. I enjoy each day of summer and each day of fall, too. When I wasn't running my store yes, I quickly began thinking of it as mine or playing with my software and machines, I would be able to hang out with Haylee, hike on the trail between the cottage and the Elderberry River, go boating, stroll on the village's vast sand beach, browse in those other amazing Threadville shops, or dine in restaurants overlooking the lake.

I put in an offer on the property. If it's accepted, I'm quitting my job in Manhattan and making this big change in my life. Haylee September 29, In the interests of time and our hunger for that super-tasty corn , we headed straight for the baskets of already-picked beautiful blue spheres. I bought several quarts. I would pour them over my cereal at breakfast followed by one of those sweet rolls, no doubt. I would dump them onto scoops of ice cream each evening.

I would add them to muffins and cookies for customers at In Stitches. I would also eat them by the handful. I always planned to freeze some for winter, but my blueberries always disappeared before I got around to it. No matter. In a couple of days, Haylee and I would make another foray, meandering down different roads, buying whatever looked good, and detouring to the blueberry farm on our way home. She can't be writing a thriller about me, or she would be writing about last year, beginning with the day my best friend, Haylee, blew the whistle on our boss, Jasper Quinlan, for channeling money from client accounts to his own.

Things got pretty scary, but he's now in custody. Haylee's flying to New York from her new home in Elderberry Bay, Pennsylvania, and we'll both testify at his trial. I hope that if Janet's writing about my future life, she's not writing a thriller What else could it be? Both of us love to load embroidery software onto our computers, then create designs that our embroidery machines stitch in gorgeous threads. I sell my designs on the Internet, but Janet has to give hers away. So if anyone is writing a book about embroidery, it should be me.

What else could she be writing about my future? Dare I hope… Romance? If so, I wish she'd warn me when to expect this man. I mean, if I'm going to meet the man of my dreams I can dream, right? Is he tall? But she won't tell me. She won't even say if it will be good or bad. It's a mystery. Whatever, I hope that my life will be cozier than what I've been through and am about to go through here in Manhattan. Jasper's trial starts tomorrow. None of the jurors angled the slightest glance toward Jasper Quinlan. Had they found him guilty?

My best friend, Haylee, sat with me near the back of the courtroom. Whatever the verdict, she would leave the minute she could book a flight out of Manhattan and back to Elderberry Bay, Pennsylvania, and her new fabric store, The Stash. I had to admit I was a tiny bit jealous. In my spare time, I'd been creating and selling designs for use with embroidery machines. I'd sold a lot of designs, but not enough to support me, especially in Manhattan.

They'd hired a new CEO. The judge leaned forward and addressed the jury. Suddenly, I was certain that Jasper would be acquitted, and would come looking for Haylee and me. I should have imitated her, fled Quinlan Financial, found a new life somewhere else, and returned only for the trial. Haylee had gone out with Jasper, several times. She was the one who figured out he was diverting client funds to his own accounts, but I'd supported her, snooping with her in our office late at night, piling up evidence against him, and standing next to her when she phoned the police.

The charges against Jasper grew beyond anything we imagined. During the trial, the prosecution had been thorough and competent, if a little dry. Haylee had been confident on the witness stand, and although I'd trembled when it was my turn to testify, I thought our honesty was transparent.

Jasper lied. Haylee and I and the other witnesses told the truth. Justice would prevail. What I hadn't expected was the defense attorney's dramatic accusations. According to him, poor Jasper was an innocent victim of a pair of harpies -- Haylee and me -- desperate for fifteen minutes of fame. Jasper's attorney had turned his oily smiles on jurors. They'd smiled back. I'd wanted to hide. Now, the clerk stood and asked for the verdict On all charges.

My anxiety began to peel away. Sentencing would come later, but it was clear that Jasper was going to prison for a long time. Haylee would fly to Elderberry Bay, and I would return to work and to my sewing and embroidering. Behind us, one of Jasper's friends snarled, "He's going to appeal. He'll be out tomorrow. Suddenly, I was more scared than I'd been on the witness stand.

Maybe I should leave New York. What would you do? NYC is HOT, but you knew that, and about the way the city smells, like garbage collection can never be enough. Things have settled down at Quinlan Financial Management. Almost a month after the trial ended, no one talks about Jasper any more. It's like he's ceased to exist, which would drive him crazier.

I'm soooo glad the judge didn't grant him bail. Jasper would be on some island somewhere, wherever he's stashed his cash. Of course, I'd be sure he was climbing up the stairs to my apartment at 3 AM August 22, AM Willow, The boonies? Elderberry Bay is a thriving metropolis with at least two commercial streets, a lake, a beach, a river, and a beautiful park linking it all.

We even have a bandstand, all Victorian curlicues, painted white, and John Phillip Sousa's music on the Fourth of July.

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Kids flew kites on the beach, and the fireworks at night were fantastic. When I named my new fabric boutique, it never occurred to me that someone might hear of The Stash and connect it to horrid Jasper Quinlan and his hidden stash! Now I'm going to worry. Haven't seen any FBI agents around. Do you think they'd dress in suits up here? No one else does, at least not the men. I can't stop making suits for myself, though. Last night I started one--nice, cool linen.

Very tailored I can't help that but still sort of casual. Believe it or not, I have a date! A handsome guy named Mike who owns a vineyard! Meeting any nice single men in Manhattan? I think they're hiding from me. Is Mike single? Are you sure? Don't forget Jasper Quinlan. You thought he was nice and single, too. It's time for some excitement! Even you believed that Jasper was single. Didn't you say something like, "Tall, dark, handsome, and eligible? I can look after myself. I own the machine embroidery boutique, In Stitches.

I teach folks how to create and stitch their own embroidery designs. We use sophisticated software and amazing machines. I also love to sew, and make most of my own clothes. My best friend, Haylee, owns The Stash, the huge fabric store across the street. She is an accomplished tailor, so you can imagine the beautiful clothes and intricate costumes she makes for herself. Using chunky yarns and big, fat knitting needles or crochet hooks, Opal can whip up outfits for herself in record time.

She can also crochet or knit the thinnest threads imaginable into gossamer shawls.. I did. No pesticides or herbicides were used on it, either, so all she did was wash the asparagus and pop it into the microwave for a few minutes. The stalks were thick, tender, sweet and juicy. A feast! Finding it was fun. I suspect she knew all along where to look. We also heard a frog and saw lots of birds, including a bald eagle. Willow Vanderling June 14, We opened windows, and if it was really hot, we'd go outside and sit in the shade of the maple tree.

We'd read, talk, shell peas, snap beans, mend My pseudo granddaughter Haylee and her best friend Willow know that I love spinning and weaving. They're both so good at sewing that I'm not sure I ever told them that in my teen years, I sewed most of my own clothes. And this is the time of year that I sewed most. School was out, and I was still growing, and I needed new clothes for school. I didn't care how hot it was, I cut and stitched and fitted and stitched some more.

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And as every seamstress knows, nearly every seam has to be pressed before the next one is sewn. I spent lots of time over a hot iron. Finally, I took the dresses, skirts, and blouses out under the maple tree, and hemmed them and sewed on buttons and did whatever else needed to be done by hand. Now, fifty-some years later, in August, I still get the itch to shop for fabrics and start cutting and sewing. And wonderful fabric shops are right here in Threadville, and I spend lots of August in Haylee's air-conditioned sewing store, The Stash. I finger the fabrics and imagine what I would make for a schoolgirl back in the '60s.

If mothers and daughters are discussing what to buy, I sidle close and listen in. Okay, sometimes I offer some pretty good suggestions. No one seems to mind. The entire community is sewing right now, but they're not making school clothes. Haylee, Willow, Willow's assistant Ashley, my daughter Edna, and Edna's two best friends are stitching up outfits for a fundraiser fashion show. Mona, another shop-owner in Threadville, is also going to be in the fashion show, but if that woman makes her own outfits, I'll eat my spinning wheel.

It's very generous of the Threadville women and the teenaged girl to give so much of their time to help raise funds for scholarships to the new Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling TADAM , but all of the Threadville women except Mona are creative, and TADAM's director has designed the outfits they're making. Before they saw his sketches, Willow and Haylee were excited at the opportunity of working with a real fashion designer. After, though, they lost some of their enthusiasm. They're not telling me about the outfits they're making, and they're not showing them to anyone.

I'll see the clothes at the fashion show. I hope the show goes well, but I have a bad feeling about it all. TADAM seems to have sprouted out of nowhere, for one thing, and I could find nothing on the Internet about the director. Type "Antonio" into a search engine, and you'll see what I mean.

If he were really famous, wouldn't he come up as a fashion designer? Sins of fashion turned deadly, and a dangerous murderer was among us. Now crafty people need to work on Halloween costumes and decorations, and don't throw things at me it's also time to start making holiday gifts and decorations. Our shops are full of supplies and expertise, so join the busloads of people coming to Threadville to shop and take classes, and we can help you plan and execute oops,"execute" is a bad word around Threadville We can help you carry out your fall and winter projects.

My friend Dora Battersby came into In Stitches the other day and saw the winter holiday machine embroidery designs that I'm yes already displaying. Dora complained. I prefer giving and receiving gifts that can be enjoyed all year round. The children, usually girls, came to our shops in Threadville and made crafts they could take home, and then they all trooped off to Pier 42 for birthday cake and ice cream. Also, they were less likely to be sticky in our shops.

We tailored the parties to suit the birthday girls, giving them an hour or two, depending on their ages, to complete something they could take home for themselves. At Batty About Quilts, they created simple quilted tote bags, cases for their handheld devices, or book cover. Creating beaded necklaces and bracelets was very popular at Buttons and Bows, though many other things could be created from the many notions sold there.

And at my shop, In Stitches, they could use our fabulous machines to embroider a monogram or simple design. One of the youngest kids in her class, she was also one of the smallest at the party. I had cut scarf sized pieces of fleece. The other kids laughed when Diana cut hers out without the seam allowance. And she stitched them. But they were too tight.

I saw her bite her lip, trying not to cry. I told her to try again. This time, she made mittens that fit her. I left Sam contemplating the depths of his vibrant red poppy. Sam the Ironmonger. Born to hardware. Good, tough, and made of steel. Willow Vanderling May 29, I parked my car. Haylee and I clambered out. Storybook white clouds sailed in a blue sky, and the breeze was warm with none of the humidity that often drifts in from Lake Erie.

With a grunt, the man strode toward the farmhouse. A beagle puppy bounced beside him. I could barely see the woman inside the farm stand. Shaded by the roof, only her eyes and the top of her head peeked over the tall flowers. A frown wrinkled the skin between her eyebrows. A long, soaking rainy week, now that would be good weather.

That was a few days away, and the corn in the field beside us was nearly hip-high. You mark my words. What are they? I handed her baby back to her. They were still repeating it as the door closed, and I heard them singing it out on the snowy sidewalk, too. One memorable Thanksgiving, every single one of them turned their cute little noses up at my Brussels sprouts. What was wrong with them? It wasn't like I was offering them rutabagas or parsnips, which I cannot and never could and never will stand!

Finally, I managed to cajole one of them, little Naomi, to try. Unlike my own daughter, Naomi was polite. Well brought up, I might say, but then, so was my daughter, if you ask me, but she tends to have a problem with polite. She must have gotten that from father, not that she ever met him, wherever he is.. Naomi barely nibbled at one tiny leaf that had fallen off a Brussels sprout. Her eyes opened. I'm excited and scared. Scared that I won't get that Threadville property, and scared that I will. A couple of weeks ago I told you about my offer to purchase a store in Threadville, Pennsylvania.

I was seriously considering leaving NYC and changing careers. I'm back already because I have exciting news. I'll be closing that deal on November 29th. Now I can confess how badly I wanted this to happen. I love textiles. I love touching them and working with them. At heart, I'm a frustrated artist, but I draw pictures with thread, not paint. Maybe I'm a frustrated teacher, too, because I enjoy showing others how to use sewing machines, embroidery machines, and embroidery software to create new designs.

In my new shop, I'll sell sewing and embroidery machines and all the supplies anyone could want for painting their own designs with thread. Best of all, if I need anything that I don't stock, I can cross the street to one of the other Threadville shops. My best friend, Haylee, owns a huge fabric shop, The Stash, where she teaches classes in sewing and tailoring.

From what I've seen, Opal, knits or crochets all of her clothes. People come to her shop to learn new techniques, to sit around the table working together and gossiping , and for Storytelling Night each Friday. Edna has a notions shop, Buttons and Bows. She decorates her clothing with ribbons, rhinestones, buttons, sequins, crystals, and beads until she glitters, and she shows Threadville tourists how to do it, too. Naomi's shop is Batty About Quilts. She sells everything needed for quilting, and is also a walking advertisement for her talent. When I met her, she was wearing a patchwork jacket in jewel tones.

She offers workshops in quilting. It's no wonder that textile arts tourists flock to Threadville. If my customers and students don't keep me sufficiently busy, I'll wander across the street and learn whatever I can from the other Threadville proprietors. They are supportive and excited about my new shop. I can't wait to move to Threadville! Willow Vanderling November 15, Sally-Forth: We can. Remember helping Willow pick up litter?

If she shows us what she wants us to do, we obey and get praise and toys. Tally-Ho: She gives us praise and toys, anyway. Treats, too.

Sally-Forth : And when Willow came back into the car, we got lots of praise for being so good. Someone had marked a bush by the side of the road, and I needed to mark it, too. Sally-Forth: What a silly brother. You did that the minute we got home. Sally-Forth: What orange thing? Tally-Ho: That thing. Right there in front of your nose. Like a ball with holes in it. Threadville is on the shore of Lake Erie. The Elderberry River flows behind my apartment and machine embroidery shop, In Stitches.

I often walk my dogs, Sally-Forth and Tally-Ho, along the riverside trail or on the beaches. When the water's warm enough, I'll venture into it from one of Threadville's wonderful beaches. Along with some of my friends, I'm a volunteer firefighter. Be careful out there. In boats, wear a life jacket.

Swim only when and where it's safe. Wear sunscreen and a hat. Drink plenty of water. Our fire department is always willing to help, but we'd rather see everyone have a fun and safe summer. And she's sent a picture of some of her pieces. Isn't this agate skull darling? Haylee and I both sold sewing machines in our Threadville shops. We represented different sewing machine companies.

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At In Stitches, my embroidery boutique, I sold machines that either embroidered by themselves or accommodated embroidery attachments. Wordlessly, she took the sleeping infant and her happily chatting toddler outside. She looked a little weepy. But what a difference ten years later!

Not at all. With that bed, I felt like the luckiest girl ever. She held an embroidery hoop on her lap and was embroidering linen guest towels for my mother. You like the warm colors. She prefers the cold ones. Slowly, I concluded that Granny was right. That was the way they liked it. On Christmas Eve, I got Poppy to take me shopping. I knew just what Granny would like.

I stood before the display of embroidery floss for a long time, choosing the right colors, then changing my mind, putting them back, and choosing them all over again. I ended up with shell pink, baby pink, hot pink, and fuschia. I was almost more excited about the pink embroidery floss for Granny than I was about whatever might be under the tree for me the next day. In the morning, I made Granny wait until last to open my present, and she gave me one from her to unwrap at the same time. I gazed in wonder at the things nestled in that tissue paper. An embroidery hoop. Pieces of white fabric.

Pieces of pink fabric. Embroidery needles. Small scissors with real blades. And embroidery floss in shell pink, baby pink, hot pink, and fuschia.

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He shook his head. You both chose the same colors of that embroidery thread for each other. Granny laughed so hard she cried. We have dark, we have gray, and we have drab. The best we can hope for is a nice, pretty snowfall. And I know—not everyone loves those. Force some Spring bulbs. I love Paperwhite Narcissus. Buy a pineapple and share it with friends. Start a new sewing project with pastel summer fabrics. Visit an indoor garden, flower shop, or public conservatory.

Make a favorite recipe from my childhood. Paint a room or simply splash color on pieces of paper. I bought a big, big box of crayons and some water colors. Spend an entire day reading. Set a pretty table, complete with an extravagant floral centerpiece and tall candles. Go where no one can hear me the shower or the beach?

Smaller birds streaked by, their wings back, their tails long. Wait, what was this tiny flying thing? It zipped toward us, then almost reared up in as if in fright, and darted away. I caught a glimpse of its pale little belly. Definitely not a Monarch. Willow Vanderling February 18, They were rescued from the streets of Akron when they were about four months old, and then spent the next eight months together in a very nice rescue facility, waiting for someone who would adopt them both so they could always be with each other.

I embroidered beds for each of them, but they curl up like puppies and sleep cuddled together. They comfort me and distract me from the realities of life—and death. My best friend Haylee is already stocking summer fabrics in The Stash. Next door to her, Opal, who is Haylee's actual mother, is stocking pastel cotton yarns in Tell a Yarn. In Buttons and Bows, you can find almost any notion you want any time of the year, but Edna is happily opening boxes of summery-hued zippers, trims, laces, and buttons. From what I can gather, quilters want access to every possible color, all year round.

Quilters seem very prolific. Across the street from Naomi, Mona has a home dec shop, Country Chic. Mona tends to have interesting objects all the time, for nearly every season, and lots of them. The hardware store is next to Country Chic. They still have snow shovels That was more than thirty years ago, and everything has worked out, thanks to my best friends, Naomi and Edna.

I wanted nice clothes for my baby. Naomi suggested that we should all learn to knit and crochet. We spent the months until Haylee was born in a fever of knitting. Taking turns looking after Haylee, the three of us finished high school and college, and we all went on to careers. I kept knitting We raised a wonderful daughter, and she loves having three mothers. When Haylee found this big Victorian edifice housing separate shops and apartments for each of us in a tiny village in northwestern Pennsylvania, she. Because of the craft fair and the wedding, many people in Threadville will be hosting houseguests.

Maybe we'll be the ones needing a retreat I hope so. In Threadville, we're all looking forward to Edna's wedding. Edna is putting a lot of work into making the day special for her and Gord, but she's also determined that all of the guests will enjoy The Most Perfect Wedding Ever. Don't get me wrong--Edna's not a Bridezilla.

She's merely working very hard to make the occasion beautiful and romantic. Everyone in Threadville is attending. I'll be with Clay at the reception. He is, among other things, a dreamy dancer. I can hardly wait. That same weekend, we're holding a Get Ready for Halloween Craft Fair, which should be fun for us and the attendees.

We've planned it carefully, and everything is almost ready. We may have a few problems, though. A bunch of people have booked into the local inn for what they're calling a zombie retreat. Does that mean they're all going back into their graves? Or does it mean they'll be lurching around the village and making our world seem a lot less wedding-like? Edna made her own wedding gown and is decorating it. We've suggested that she shouldn't sew every notion she sells in Buttons and Bows onto it, but she won't let us see what she's doing.

So to tease her, we're constructing a humungous skirt that she should be able to wear over the dress she's making, like maybe at the reception for a little extra wow factor. Don't tell her about it, though, okay? It should be a wonderful weekend in Threadville, and a serene, romantic wedding. And dancing with Clay We always bark on the 29th.

Sally-Forth: That would be a really fun kind of wrestling. Here, let me grab your tail and see if I can swing you around. Sally-Forth: Spoilsport. Did you see what happened next? Another policeman told the dog to let go, and the dog did, and everyone had a nice, ear-rubbing time, and the dog got to play with a toy. Tally-Ho: Those dogs got to play some fun games! I wanted to get out of the car. Sally-Forth: Me, too. I liked it when they sniffed around and found things and got more praise and toys. August 28, PM Okay, Haylee, spill. How did the date with the vineyard owner go?

Turkey vultures flew west, never colliding with each other, but looking like they might. A mature Bald Eagle followed at a distance. A few minutes later, a bunch of turkey vultures flew east. A mature Bald Eagle followed this group, too. The same vultures and the same eagle? The eagle almost seemed to be herding the vultures.

Bits of cloud drifted down from the darkest clouds, the clouds thickened, the sunshine disappeared, and we saw no more funnel clouds. The TVs, though, the turkey vultures, continued to soar and swoop. I thought they should be concerned with migrating, but they seemed to be playing in the wind. Or maybe they were waiting for that eagle to fly back and urge them on, to wherever they were supposed to go. And make some new ones. In my machine embroidery boutique, In Stitches, I sell embroidery thread. Across the street, my best friend, Haylee, sells sewing thread in her fabric shop, The Stash.

As any machine embroiderer knows, we often do not have all the right colors for our next project, and we need new colors, usually several. Sally-Forth : Do so. Are we starring in a new adventure? We were on the cover of Threaded for Trouble. You probably know by now that Opal, Edna, and I have been best friends ever since we met in kindergarten. Halloween has always been one of our favorite holidays.

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And imagination was the key—people often had to ask us what we were. The good thing about going out as three little kittens or three blind mice was that if we recited our poem the trick , the kindly people offering us trays of goodies the treat may have been able to figure out what we were attempting to represent.

But really, why did Opal and Edna insist that I had to be the only mouse with a lopped-off tail? Reciting The Three Musketeers would have been problematical. That year, we handed out chocolate bars to the folks who opened the door at our knock. That surprised them! Kids frequently arrive in stunningly original outfits, and some of them recite a verse or sing a song the second we open the door.

Oh, and occasionally we end up with a leftover treat or two, but really, a nice glass of sherry at the end of the evening is enough for me. Dogs can really get into the spirit of helping me answering the door and greeting the kids. Dressed as a pumpkin, my very sweet old dog obviously believed that these costumed tykes were coming to pet her and bring her candy. She simply walked in and began touring the house. My daughter, Edna, tells me to think before I speak.

I think a lot. And then I tell people exactly what I think. And I do have friends. Marsha called me this morning. Something terrible has happened at Cloverleaf High. It's a crime!! Cloverleaf High was built about the same time as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and overlooked one of the first cloverleaf intersections in America. This was a source of pride to the powers-that-were. I burst out laughing. I made a mess of everything. My mother said I might as well go out selling rags on the street, I was ruining so many good pieces of material.

I agreed. Why did they cut sewing out of the curriculum? Maybe too many sewing teachers ruined sewing for students. I love knitting, spinning, and weaving, which I learned from my grandmother. If some horribly unfair teacher had tried to teach them to me in school, though, I probably would have rebelled against them, too, and then what hobby would I have?

Now they do, so some things have improved. I decided not to argue with her about that. Maybe, in a way, I like being impossible. It's that time of year again for people who love to create with textiles and thread. It's time to make Halloween costumes! In Threadville, we have a craft fair aimed at helping people choose what costumes to make and the materials with which to make them. We'll even have some zombies in town, attending what they're calling a "zombie retreat.

And maybe lifelike. Or is that deathlike? In case you're wondering, no, of course they're not real zombies. They'll just be having fun with costumes and makeup. At least, I hope that's all it is Edna, who owns Buttons and Bows, is getting married the Monday after the craft fair and zombie festivities are over. We're planning a hilarious we hope surprise for her. Edna loves everything that sparkles and shines, and we're creating a very dramatic overskirt that she can wear to the reception, if she wants to.

We'll be displaying it in the gazebo in the park to help advertise the craft fair. Across the street, the Threadville shops had closed for the night, and the last customers were boarding a bus. In a few weeks, I would open my embroidery boutique, In Stitches. I hoped the Threadville tourists would like my shop and would buy sewing and embroidery machines from me. The manufacturers had treated me to fascinating seminars and training sessions where creating and stitching machine embroidery designs was more like play than work.

To make matters worse, a bunch of zombies okay, people who are made up, dressed, and lurching around like zombies were also holding a what they called a "retreat. Some of us ended up housing craft fair participants in our apartments. That turned out to be a big problem, especially for Edna, whose houseguest died under suspicious circumstance after she borrowed the fantabulous wedding overskirt that my friends and I made to surprise Edna. I ended up leading our police chief and a detective from the Pennsylvania State Police down a trail of glow-in-the-dark thread.

And then zombies chased us around a haunted graveyard, which turned out to be lots spookier than we'd ever imagined. Just watch. The funnel cloud undulated almost like a thread, very appropriate for those of us who lived in Threadville. I was the one who spotted a second funnel cloud not far from the first.

I managed to snap a picture, and then both funnel clouds fizzled out. However, I will have plenty of competition. My best friends, Edna and Naomi, will want to play along and reach new heights in tackiness, and so will our daughter Haylee and her friend Willow, who is now like a daughter to the other three of us. What will Mona wear, I wonder? It will be skin tight and low-necked.

And there the rest of us will be, among all those eligible men, in grotesque sweaters we obediently created for ourselves. Candy cane stripes, a decorated and lit-up Christmas tree, and revealing? OPAL November 29, Next door to the hardware store is my shop, In Stitches. I sell the most fabulous sewing machines, ever. I can program them to do amazing embroidery. Many of my clients are embroidering spring flowers on everything right now. But please don't put green food coloring in my mashed potatoes. Or thank you, Dr. Seuss in my eggs. And definitely, don't put it in my beer We have a fun pub here in Threadville, and I often join the young folks there.

Last year, I went with them on St. Patrick's Day. We had a great time, and I was able to choke down both mugs of beer as long as I closed my eyes, but what a weird color for beer. And don't worry, most of us live close enough to the pub to walk home afterward--though we all went to the beach first, just for a few minutes, to look at the ice.

Last year was cold. Those who don't live close to the center of Threadville can stay with some of us who do, or take a cab or bus home. This year, the ice is already gone from Lake Erie around Threadville, and it should be warm enough to actually enjoy a late night walk on the beach. The pub owner has promised not to color my beer.

Before we go out for the evening, though, I'm heading off to the bakery. I love frosted cookies, don't you?