Grandma’s 80th Birthday Quilt!!

Posted by Nina on Sep 1, 2011

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August 16th is my Grandmother’s 80th birthday.. 80 is a big deal! She’s been an amazing mother to me my entire life, she’s taught me so many wonderful things, wiped away all of my tears, given me unmeasurable love & compassion.. she’s my rock.. I love her more than anything in the world (well my husband & Bella also of course!).. she mentioned once that she’s never really had a quilt.. she has one my aunt (her sister) made for her, but it was not piece work.. it was a printed quilt kit that mimics the look of piece work.. and she’s used it until its ragged and tatty.. but it’s blue.. her favorite color is red.

I though that since she was turning 80 this year, she deserved nothing but the very best… a beautiful quilt all her own.. so I set out to make her one.. one as beautiful as she tells me everything I make is.. but this one would be her very own! When she opened it she said “what is it? oh, it’s a blanket!” and I said “a blanket!? no… it’s a quilt…” she still didn’t quite get it… until I said “you know I made that right??” her response was “YOU MADE THAT?!” I think she likes it.. :) Now what I really hope is she will use it… she promises she will but so far she just unfolds it to look at it and packs it away… I hope when fall comes it becomes a regular sofa & bed accessory!!

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This is the second quilt I’ve sent off to Donna for quilting.. as always she quilted beautifully.. I chose a Linda V. Taylor hummingbird design as Grandma is very fond of hummingbirds.. she’s always said “hummingbirds are the mos perfect little things in the world”.. so that’s what she’s got! Quilt photographed on a queen sized bed… Grandma’s bed is a twin.
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I will admit.. I am a little sad the quilt is gone because it really is so pretty.. but I am thrilled it made her so happy and that I will get to visit it from time to time! I enjoyed making it too! I think I will make one for myself in nice, bright colors! I did the applique in a taupe silk to match the background fabric and Donna matched that color for the quilting. The back of the quilt is a red check (red and ivory plaid) and the binding is a solid red.

Pattern: Tisket Tasket by Black Mountain Quilts
Fabric: Collections for a Cause: Faith for Moda
Pieced & Bound by: Nina Stoma
Quilted by: Donna Francis
Completed: August 11, 2011


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Family Recipes..

Posted by Nina on Aug 16, 2011

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Lately I have been obsessed with cute recipe boxes! When I was a kid I remember playing with my Grandma’s recipe folder… she didn’t use a box but just a regular old green folder with pockets where she stuck newspaper recipes, clippings from the back of food boxes, and the good family recipes as well as a few of her own.. and through the years she raved about my Aunt Macel’s coconut cake.. one recipe she amazingly didn’t own.

Aunt Macel was an amazing cook.. she was terribly diabetic and one bite of anything sweet put her in the hospital so she couldn’t even test her seasonings but somehow they were always perfect.. the only problem was.. I had never been around when she made this cake and she passed away in the late 80’s so she was not around to ask any longer.. but Grandma loved this cake.. so since today is Grandma’s 80th birthday, I decided I would hunt for a recipe that Grandma and I together could tweak to taste something like Aunt Macel’s.

Together Grandma and I recreated an amazing cake that Grandma really loved. She said it looked and tasted exactly like Aunt Macel’s and she couldn’t stop eating it! I’m sure she was there in spirit guiding us as we hung around the kitchen and giggled! Sorry, I will not be sharing the recipe we used since our recipe is ultra tweaked and it was really all done by trial and error with someone who had the recipe.. but it was much like a frosted pound cake… to which I am sure you already own a recipe for! :) Anyway… I’m sure Aunt Macel would be thrilled that we still think of her.. and of course that Grandma was so infatuated with her coconut cake that she’s raved about it for decades! I do have a pound cake recipe from Aunt Macel which I cherish.

Happy 80th Birthday Grandma! I hope you had a wonderful time! I really enjoyed myself and I really, really hope you will use that quilt I made you! (watch for another blog post for photos!)


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they say time heals all broken hearts?

Posted by Nina on Jan 30, 2010

I would say that it’s every parents nightmare to outlive their children and it’s every child’s nightmare to lose their parents. These days we have so many things that rob us of precious time and one thing about humanity that is certain and that is one day we will all die, hopefully later rather than sooner, but none of us will get out of this battle alive.

When I lost my dad it took me a long time to really be able to talk about him without crying or at the very least trying to fight back the tears. I don’t think you ever get over losing a parent and I am sure you never get over losing a child.. but I can say that every day that comes it gets a little easier to get through but that doesn’t mean the hole is filled. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my dad or wish I could call him up and just shoot the breeze.

I used to hate to watch television after he died because I would constantly see something that reminded me of him.. little girls standing on their dads feet and dancing, fathers hugging their daughters, songs, movies, weddings, funerals, sports games, food, holidays, every thing reminded me of him. It took me 2 years to realize that I shouldn’t feel pain when I see these things because every little thing that reminds me of him is a little piece of him still alive… alive in me.. in my family.

No, I still cry from time to time.. I’ve decided that trying not to is pointless because the tears come anyway.. but my dad wouldn’t want that.. in fact he’s told me “Baby don’t cry” more times than I can count.. no, I will never stop hurting but it’s getting easier to smile when I see and hear things that remind me of my dad… the most is hockey and music… those are two things we shared… they were special to us… something that was just his and mine.. something that connected us and in a way it still does.

I’ve realized that I am all my dad has left to carry on for him.. for myself, for my family, and some day.. for my children. He didn’t want to leave us.. and with the types of cancer he had, its amazing he lived 4yrs with it.. he was a fighter.. he beat alcoholism, divorce, he was a single parent, and he was extremely giving and kind.. very laid back and down to earth.. and I don’t think there was a single person he met that didn’t love him. I made a single vow to him as I watched his casket be lowered into the ground… and that was to just keep breathing and carry on..

So Daddy… this is me carrying on :) remembering how amazing you were, how blessed I am to be your daughter, and just how very much I miss you.

All my love,
Your Daughter.


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Happy Birthday Sergey!!

Posted by Nina on Oct 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Darling!
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Cake is a 2 layer cheese cake with cherry filling and ‘Happy Birthday Sergey’ written on top in blue icing with 2 jumbo 3 & 1 candles. My husband isn’t too much into birthday photography so I got all of 2 images.. but rest assured, he had a happy birthday and got lots of wonderful gifts.


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Like Mother, Like Daughter.. or something like that.

Posted by Nina on Aug 27, 2009


Bella went in for her yearly vet exam and everything was fine.. but since she will be 5 this year.. wow! 5! her doctor told us it might be time to add some joint vitamins to help prevent and/or prolong arthritis in her back knees from her luxating patella. She has no pain and her knees don’t bother her.. so this is all as joint protection for her senior years. I asked the doctor what I should give her and she replied “just a regular glucosamine chondroitin”.

I have what is called “dancer’s knee”.. its basically a wearing down of the cartilage from repetitive movement.. so I was advised to take glucosamine chondroitin to help keep the joints lubricated and hopefully I can avoid knee replacements later on. It helps with the pain a lot! so if I can feel the advantages of the medicine, I am sure Bella will too. So there you have it… my little girl has knees just as bad as mine and she’s been told she should be taking the supplement too for the exact same reason I am! How’s that for irony.


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Happy Birthday Daddy

Posted by Nina on Mar 13, 2009

Today my dad would have been 55. I often wonder what his life would be like now if he hadn’t gotten cancer.. if he had lived long enough to see us buy a house… if he had seen me become successful at my photography career.. if he had gotten to meet Sergey’s parents.. so many things I think about.. but most of all I remember.

The things I remember most about my dad are times like this photo.. he was taking me fishing and bought me my own fishing pole.. He would crank up Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock-n-Roll and let me stand on his feet while we danced.. and no matter how old I got, I always knew I could talk to him and he would understand… or watching Red Wing’s games with him, screaming at the tv and cheering loudly at the wins.. He was an amazing man.. I miss him each and every day.. but most of all, I feel proud… proud to have known him and proud to be his daughter.

I miss you daddy. Happy Birthday.


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New Table & Chairs!

Posted by Nina on Feb 10, 2009

It’s been a long time since I have posted a real-life post.. and Melyssa mentioned recently how much she missed reading about people’s boring little lives… So here’s my attempt at an update. We had family from Minsk here in October. They spent nearly the entire month with us! I was a little horrified that we didn’t have an actual dinette set in our kitchen to eat breakfast and drink coffee at.. we had this little two seater bistro set that used to live on the patio at our old apartment filling up the dining area in the breakfast nook.. it was functional but when there are 4 adults buzzing around its a little too small. My mother-in-law loved Pier 1 and my father-in-law loved Lowes (they don’t have stores like these in Russia) and both were trying to buy us a small dinette set ..we of course refused.

She made us promise that we would fill that space in the near future.. and I was a little afraid my father-in-law would try to build us one.. I’m seriously not kidding.. he’s the kind of man who has to keep busy from sun up to sunset so he found lots of little projects to keep him busy while he was here.. but I was afraid to send him to Lowes alone because.. Lowes isn’t exactly a great furniture store. Well, we finally did! We ended up getting the 42″ glass top and this black iron base and 4 black chairs. It fits the spot perfectly! This was actually the set my mother-in-law was trying to buy for us! I topped it with a floral arrangement I threw together myself. :)


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it’s over..

Posted by Nina on Jun 9, 2007

Dad passed away at 2:00 am on Saturday, June 9, 2007.
Closed services to immediate friends and family only.
Viewing will be 1 day & funeral the next.
Contact family for details.


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More on Dad

Posted by Nina on May 30, 2007

Sergey and I had planned to spend Memorial Day weekend up at Pictured Rocks in the U.P. However, as you know from my last entry my father suddenly took ill and then his liver shut down. On Friday we left thinking we had 3 days to hope his medicine would start working, and if not the hospital was going to remove all of his medication. On Saturday morning we were told his lungs had filled with fluids and they were removing all of his medications and IV and that there was nothing more they could do for him..

Trying to take care of him the best I could while I was there, I took to applying moisturizers to his lips and wet sponging his mouth and suctioning out fluids that would accumulate into his mouth… suddenly before we left on Sunday to head for home I noticed when I would talk to him that his sighs became much louder than normal… and when I applied the wet sponge to his mouth he began trying to drink it! However, you hear that these are involuntary movements in coma patients… when I would ask if he could squeeze my hand he never moved… I didn’t have much hope at this point.. his urine had even turned reddish and was getting thick… (this is a sign that the kidneys are shutting down).. so we left preparing for a visit to the funeral home on Tuesday.

On Monday we get a phone call very early in the morning.. that he’s awake and he’s asking for us!!! His voice was extremely faint and he was coughing a lot and very congested. They started his IV so he was getting fluids, and said he couldn’t have anything but ice chips. We hugged and kissed goodbye and Sergey and I headed home. Today he was allowed to have clear liquids so he got water, lemon ice, clear soups, and juice. They came in today and started his lactulose and neomycin again (by mouth) and said that they are taking this day by day.. his voice is MUCH stronger today.. and he even got out of bed once.

At this point we have no idea whats going to happen to him.. but he’s alive.. he’s talking.. and hes promised me hes going to be OK.. so.. with that, I am off to bed to sleep for the first time in over a week!


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Dad… (Updated)

Posted by Nina on May 25, 2007

Dad isn’t doing too well… on Tuesday he went to the hospital, Wednesday he spends most of the day asleep, Thursday people are unable to wake him up. Cancer sucks. Losing a parent for the 2nd time sucks. No one really knows anything at this point… no one can get him to wake up but they aren’t saying its a coma. He’s getting extra doses of medications to bring his ammonia level down, his count yesterday was 200 when the normal range is 50. They said today its up to 248.. and last I heard they were taking him for a brain scan to see if there was any activity. Then came the talks about resuscitation..

I’m trying to find reasons to think positively… so here’s my list.

I am grateful for:

  • The 4yrs I have gotten with my father – when in the beginning we were told he had less than 6 mos.
  • The kind of cancer my father has causes no pain. – having watched a lot of my relatives die from cancer, its no picnic.. there is usually a lot of pain and discomfort in the end and causing them so much discomfort that your wishing them to pass just to ease their discomfort.. dad has none…. he’s simply sleeping.
  • I’ve had my father in my life for all 28yrs of it.
  • Having my daddy walk me down the isle at my wedding.
  • My husband.. he has no idea how to comfort me (never experiencing a loss of a parent) but tries just the same.
  • That I was born into this family. – My grandfather (passed in April of lung cancer in 1995), my grandmother (Mum, my grandparents raised me.. but dad was always in my life), and my dad were/are the most amazing people I have ever met and they have taught me so much.
  • Having my father live to see my 27th birthday (Sept 13) – a lot of my very close friends were not so lucky.
  • Having my father tell me how proud he is of me and how good I look for dropping 100 pounds.
  • Having a father who gave me every thing he could, never said no, and taught me how REAL men act, and to never settle for anything less than the best.
  • For being a daddy’s girl to not one, but two fathers.
  • Knowing my father loves me.. even though he seldom says it, when he does, its always tear filled and heartfelt.

Things I wish my dad can/could see:

  • My children.
  • My first house.

I’m really lucky to have had the time I have had with my family.

UPDATE: They checked dads ammonia levels today (Friday) and its up to 300. It means his liver isn’t working at all. He is still comatose. We haven’t heard any results of the brain scan as of yet. The staff have told Mum that they are giving him 3 more days to see if his body responds to treatment.. and if not, they will remove all of the tubes. We were then told that we should prepare ourselves.

Dad isn’t doing too well… on Tuesday he went to the hospital, Wednesday he spends most of the day asleep, Thursday people are unable to wake him up. Cancer sucks. Losing a parent for the 2nd time sucks. No one really knows anything at this point… no one can get him to wake up but they aren’t saying its a coma. He’s getting extra doses of medications to bring his ammonia level down, his count yesterday was 200 when the normal range is 50. They said today its up to 248.. and last I heard they were taking him for a brain scan to see if there was any activity. Then came the talks about resuscitation..

I’m trying to find reasons to think positively… so here’s my list.

I am grateful for:

* The 4yrs I have gotten with my father – when in the beginning we were told he had less than 6 mos.
* The kind of cancer my father has causes no pain. – having watched a lot of my relatives die from cancer, its no picnic.. there is usually a lot of pain and discomfort in the end and causing them so much discomfort that your wishing them to pass just to ease their discomfort.. dad has none…. he’s simply sleeping.
* I’ve had my father in my life for all 28yrs of it.
* Having my daddy walk me down the isle at my wedding.
* My husband.. he has no idea how to comfort me (never experiencing a loss of a parent) but tries just the same.
* That I was born into this family. – My grandfather (passed in April of lung cancer in 1995), my grandmother (Mum, my grandparents raised me.. but dad was always in my life), and my dad were/are the most amazing people I have ever met and they have taught me so much.
* Having my father live to see my 27th birthday (Sept 13) – a lot of my very close friends were not so lucky.
* Having my father tell me how proud he is of me and how good I look for dropping 100 pounds.
* Having a father who gave me every thing he could, never said no, and taught me how REAL men act, and to never settle for anything less than the best.
* For being a daddy’s girl to not one, but two fathers.
* Knowing my father loves me.. even though he seldom says it, when he does, its always tear filled and heartfelt.

Things I wish my dad can/could see:

* My children.
* My first house.

I’m really lucky to have had the time I have had with my family.

UPDATE: They checked dads ammonia levels today (Friday) and its up to 300. It means his liver isn’t working at all. He is still comatose. We haven’t heard any results of the brain scan as of yet. The staff have told Mum that they are giving him 3 more days to see if his body responds to treatment.. and if not, they will remove all of the tubes. We were then told that we should prepare ourselves.


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