Category About Me

Closed for Vacation

We will be closed the week of Memorial Day

for a much needed time off. 

We will be closed starting Monday May 30 thru Saturday June 4, 2016

We Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this.  Being a small “mom & pop” business, we have not choice but to close if we need time off.  We hope that we have picked a week that is conducive to that.

We are back open Monday June 6, 2016

Grand Opening Festivities

Grand Opening Festivities

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The Grand Opening of the new Bonnet Classroom was a great success. 80 to 100 people helped us celebrate the accomplishment. It was a fun and glorious afternoon. We dedicated the new classroom to the Bonnet family of Medina.  Many of the Bonnet family were in attendance.  Parelee Bonnet and Lucille Bonnet, her daughter-in-law, were part of the co-founding women of the Medina Quilt group.  Rodger Bonnet, Parelee’s son, has worked tirelessly on the classroom for the Medina Quilting Community, in honor of his wife,  his mother and sisters.  He is a wonderful, generous and giving man and we couldn’t have done it without him.  We can’t thank him enough for everything he does for us.  We also thank his mother and wife for the beautiful legacy they have left for all of us.

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                         These first 3 quilts were hand pieced and hand quilted by Parelee Bonnet.  The 4th quilt was done by 3 of the Bonnet women.  It was started by Parelee in the late 1990s. ( the last quilt she made)  After she passed away, Lucille worked on it in the early 2000’s until she became too ill and passed away.  Then Parelee’s daughter Phyllis Doss took the quilt and finished it in 2013.  A family legacy quilt indeed.

The family generously donated Parelee’s  100 year old (approximately) treadle sewing machine to the classroom for care and keeping.  It’s a beauty.

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Part of the festivities was a heated Jelly Roll Race. Four women, Edie Jessup, Jane Kelly, Linda Mosley and Julie Schmidt were our contestants. On your mark…….Get set…….. SEW !!!!!! It was great fun to watch, my grandson was mesmerized. It was sew as fast as they could to the final. A grueling hour before we had a winner. At the one hour mark, Edie Jessup finished her quilt and won the $100 gift certificate and free long arm quilting by “Cotton Pickin’ Scraps”. (Thank you Brenda !!)  The runners up won a $20 gift certificate and walked away with their BEAUTIFUL quilt tops !! I am still in awe of how beautiful this method turns out. It really shows off the fabric in the jelly roll or strip pack. Everyone said they had a blast doing it and requested to make it an annual event. Linda and Julie are mother and daughter. Julie’s daughter joined them as their “assistant”. Next year she wants to participate. How fabulous !! Three generations of quilters competing side by side. I am very excited about it.   So be thinking about getting your 3 generations together to compete in this bonding experience next summer.

LADIES: 

START YOUR SEWING MACHINES

and the furious sewing commenced.  All four contestants concentrating and working hard.

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AND THE WINNER IS:

EDIE JESSUP

    with her beautiful “Essential Gradations” (by Benartex) jelly roll top all pieced together   (will post a better picture later).

TIME: 1 hour

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SECOND TO FINISH:

JULIE SCHMIDT

           with her bright and beautiful “Stonehenge Singapore Sling” (by Northcott) strip pack all pieced together and ready to go.

TIME: 1 hour 20 min.

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THIRD TO FINISH:

JANE KELLY

 with her beautiful “Stonehenge Sand & Surf” (by Northcott) strip pack finally done.

TIME: 2 hours 30 mins.

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   Linda Mosley decided to finish her quilt at home.  We will post a picture of her finished quilt top later.

We also had a special presentation to the oldest member of Medina’s Quilt Group. Evalyn Poole had her 95th birthday on July 27th.  She had an antique quilt top that was a wedding gift to her and her husband, hand pieced together by her husband’s grandmother.  It had never been quilted.  Last January she brought it to us for help in finishing it.  So a team of quilters from the group set to work to complete the quilt for her. We presented it to her at the Grand Opening.  She told me this morning that she slept under her wedding quilt for the first time Saturday night and it felt wonderful.  How fantastic that we could make that happen for her.

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DSC_2055Evalyn and her 3 daughters

We had tons of food and lots of folks visiting with friends that they hadn’t seen in awhile. Those who participated in the Fabric Treasure Hunt had fun finding all 12 hidden fabrics. Apparently, I made it too hard. 🙁 Sorry.  But it was still fun, even for those who don’t sew.

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Thanks to all who came and made it a memorable day in the history of Little Cottage Quilt Shop.

IMG_2861 Me, my oldest daughter and granddaughter 🙂

My Story – Chapter 7

My Story – Chapter 7

We bought a little 2 acre “farm” south of Denver.  Christer was working in the Denver office for a small oil company.  (he would later switch companies a couple of times)  I was really into the Homesteading of the 70’s and wanted to provide healthy foods for my family.  So we planted a huge garden, got chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, horses and dairy cows. (and briefly geese, but that’s another story)  Apparently I didn’t have enough to keep me busy.  We really loved all the animals, especially the chickens and cows.  They provided the ingredients for all the delicious foods we loved.  The personalities of our cows were as loyal and loving as the dog.  It was really hard to milk twice a day, but looking back, it was a nice quiet time for me, just me and the cow.  (most of the time).  The ducks were great fun and their eggs are phenomenal !!

I made all of our food from scratch or grew it in the garden.   Making our own butter,  cheese,  yogurt  &  ice cream  helped to use up the huge volume of milk coming from the barn every day, twice a day !   I baked all of our bread, even ground the flour from wheat.  I canned hundreds of quarts of fruits and veggies.  And as usual, we rebuilt the house.  There were only two bedroom upstairs and we needed at least 3 bedrooms.  The house had a full unfinished basement.  We built out two more bedrooms, a bathroom,  family room,  my sewing room and a milk/canning  kitchen down there.

We made the move from Calgary to Denver in August of 1980,  (over my birthday….. AGAIN).   The following February we found out I was pregnant !!!   Out of the blue !!   Wow, not what we expected nor planned on.  I had a few issues after my son was born.   After a couple of years of trying,  I had been told it wasn’t very likely that it would ever happen again.  I know !!  Not what you expected to hear after my first two were so unexpectedly easy.   When we moved from Calgary, we got rid of all the baby stuff !!  Now we would be starting all over again, like it was the first time !!  My issues were still present and it made for a very difficult pregnancy, requiring bed rest for most of the pregnancy.   It dragged on and on and on !!!   Finally, our second daughter,  our “bonus baby”,  was born two months after the original due date.  Yep, doctor confirmed it,  she was a much longer gestation than the average, weeks longer.  UGH !!   Weekly fetal tests revealed her lungs weren’t ready for her to be born yet.  Way back in those days,  (LOL),  they just let you wait it out until the baby was ready on it’s own.  She was a healthy 9 pounds plus baby.  (I had 2 like that !!)  And she would be our last.

Milking the cows with a baby was an interesting experience.  By the time she was two and walking around, she was clambering under and around the cow  while I did the milking.  It was a good life and I really enjoyed it.  My sewing reflected it too.  I made lots of stuffed animals and wooden toys to sell, mostly farm animals.  Making clothing took up the majority of my sewing time and projects.  I made jeans for my son, complete with rivets at the pockets, and special buttons for the top of the zipper.  I learned to do the top stitching to look just like a pair of purchased jeans.  I made all his shirts and jeans for his first grade year.  I had been making all of both my kids clothes for their whole lives.  My youngest was no different.  Lots of cute frilly outfits and matching outfits for the girls.  I remember in particular an outfit I made for her one spring that to this day is probably my favorite ever.   I called it “the little Bo Peep” outfit.  It was a darling pattern from Enchanted Forest, inc., the “Little Darlings” line for McCall”s.  I still have the pattern and still love it.  (Maybe I’ll make it a couple more times for my two littlest granddaughters)

Little Boe Peep dress

It was a very busy life, but we enjoyed it.  We enjoyed all the animals.  The kids complained about the chores, of course.   We loved riding the horses.  The kids enjoyed the local 4H club with their rabbits.  And I took pottery classes too. We thought we would spend many years there.   But sadly, all good things always come to an end.  Suddenly one day, the company Christer worked for announced that they were closing the Denver office and moving us to Alaska !!!!!  We were blown away !!  We had just a few short weeks to get everything done and ready to make the biggest move we had ever made.   WOW !! AGAIN WOW !!!  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would move to Alaska.  However, oddly enough,  my parents were stationed with the Air Force in Alaska when they were first married.  That is where I was conceived.   A surreal thought;  kind of like the salmon going home to span.

NORTH TO ALASKA !!!

My Story – Chapter 6

My Story – Chapter 6

I was very happy to be moving back to the United States.  You come to really appreciate everything we have here when you live in a foreign country for awhile.  Nothing against Canada, it’s a great country too, it just wasn’t home.  I had reached the point where I needed to be home.

As for Christer, well, that was a horse of a different color.  He was born in Finland.  When he was a young boy, his parents immigrated to Canada.  He spent most of his growing up years there.  So this would be a reversal of our living situation.  We had a mountain of logistics to wade through to get him a green card to be able to live and work in the U.S. Then, on top of that, our son had been born in Canada, so that meant even more paperwork.

Needless to say, it was a complicated and difficult move.  It seems like each move we have made over our married life has been exponentially bigger and more difficult than the last.  I guess that’s what happens when you have kids and acquire all the necessary paraphernalia for life.  And just let me say, I know how to collect sewing paraphernalia !!!!  I have always had an enormous stash,  I guess I could be considered a “fabric hoarder”.   I have boxes of nylon tricot !!!  Remember nylon tricot and lingerie ?!?!?!  Yea, well, I have lots of it.  It makes great quilts too, by the way.  In fact, that is what my grandma made a lot of her quilts out of. (you could get it 120″ wide, no piecing)   Swim suit fabrics and fashion fabrics and upholstery fabrics and the list goes on and on.  If it’s fabric, I probably have it. 🙂

Beside fabrics, I have a propensity to collect machines too, and gadgets, and tools, and lots and lots of supplies.  Ribbons and laces and threads, oh my !!  Boxes and boxes of sewing paraphernalia had to be packed up and hauled.  Of course all that paraphernalia has to have cabinets and furniture to store it all in.  Another one of my “collecting” habits.

In our Colorado house, I laid claim to a large corner in the unfinished basement for my sewing room.  I don’t remember if that room ever got finished.  As soon as it was divided off and electrified, I moved in and set up.  It was so full of fabrics and supplies and equipment that I’m sure you couldn’t see the walls anyway. 🙂

I am a chain seamstress.  I am always sewing on multiple projects at the same time.  I sew everyday, even if it’s only half an hour, but it’s usually more.  When our kids were little I spent many a night sewing all night long.  It was the only time I could sew uninterrupted.  Of course I paid for it the next day.  Chores still had to be done and kids had to be taken care of,  but that didn’t stop me from repeating the pattern for many, many years.  Today, I’m a bit too old to do “all nighters”.   Instead, now and then I do a half night sewing frenzy.  (haha haha ha)

It was in the 80’s that I started making small “craft” items to sell in earnest.  I made lots of fun little kid clothes & things, dolls & stuffed animals.  I also made blankets and the occasional “comforter” quilt.  My quilting experience, remember, was mostly “comforters” and baby quilts, tied or hand quilted.  However, I did do some machine quilting even back then.  When I made a quilt, the bigger the pieces of fabrics, the better.  But I was starting to discover, on my own, a little bit about pieced quilting for a specific design, building a foundation for my experiences ahead.  It wasn’t until years later, when my sister showed me examples to look at and patterns to read that I really started to understand.

But way back then……………………..

Christer loves trees,  (we affectionately call him the “Lorax”).   I wanted to make him a quilt with a big appliqued tree, king size !  I never do anything in a small way.   OH MY GOD !!!  It was awfull !!!   If any of my appliqueing friends ever saw that quilt top, they would get a big hardy laugh !!!!  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  I have never been afraid of a challenge, and I am pretty good at figuring out things as I go.  But I should have found a book on Applique for some detail instructions.   I guess if I were to try to describe it, I would call it a “Mola technique in reverse”.  Instead of cutting out the layers of fabrics, I was layering each piece over the last to the point of 6 and 7 layers thick !!!  At that time, I didn’t know you cut each piece out and fit them together on a carrier fabric.  Oh well, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  Many times, ignorance is bliss, I was having a great time making this horrendous thing.  I found that quilt top a couple of months ago when I was cleaning out some of my sewing drawers. 🙂   Maybe someday I’ll figure out a way to fix it up enough to use as a giant wall hanging.

My Story- Chapter 5

My Story – Chapter 5

Writing this Blog is a full time job !!!  I had no idea when I decided to do this that it would be so time consuming.  So please bear with me if I miss a day here and there.  Right now I feel like I am juggling  5 full time jobs all at once.  I’m sure there are many of you out there that can relate.  But I digress…………………………Where was I ????   Oh yea, my first new sewing machine………….

We lived in our very first house for only 17 months.  Working for an oil company and living out in the oil field, presented many challenges for a family.   But we were young and up to those challenges.  Our house had a full unfinished basement, 2 bedrooms on the main floor and only one bathroom.  So, true to form for us, we set out to finish the basement with 2 more bedrooms, a family room, a storage room and a laundry room.  It was difficult with 2 little kids and Christer was gone a lot out to individuals wells.  I think we were crazy !!!!  When I look back at the amount of work we did on that little house, it boggles my mind.  We learned a lot about remodeling and home construction.  Wow did I have a lot of energy back them.  But I guess that is the natural progression of life.

We were 12 miles outside of a little town in northern Alberta, Canada.  We had a little over 1/2 an acre.  Lots of grass for the kids to play on and we made a nice big garden plot at the back.  I set up my sewing area on a table in our bedroom.  The plan was to use one of the new bedrooms in the basement for my sewing room when we got it finished.  I was having a blast with my new sewing machine.   I  did alterations and custom sewing for women in the area.   I was monogramming everything I could think of for the kids and my family.  I was making all our clothes, of course, and everything that we needed for our new house.  I tried different techniques and stitches.  I felt so capable, thanks to my new sewing machine.

But our time there was short and we were transferred to Calgary.  We sold our little first house and bought a bigger house with a full basement that was partially finished.  It was a smaller yard and in the suburbs.  Not my favorite place to live but we had to be within a reasonable distance from the office.  Again we set out to “improve” our house.  Completely redoing the kitchen, the stairway, the basement, the front entrance and added on 6 feet to one entire end of the house, expanding the kitchen and living room.  We planted raspberries and a big garden and built a patio.

I set up my sewing room in the basement and really got busy with sewing.  I wanted to contribute to the family income, but I had 2 little kids at home I had to take care of.  So I contracted with a Bed and Bedding store to make custom order quilts.  Back in those days, the big four poster water beds were all the rage and everybody wanted a “country” quilt to go on it.  I sewed like crazy !!  I continued to make all of the family clothes and any home decor we needed as we remodeled and finished each room.  As if that wasn’t enough, I started making custom wedding dresses and went to work at a fabric store in town, a couple of evenings a week.  I really enjoyed that.  It was a nice change for me.  Getting out of the house and working with all that fabric !!!!!  I kept very, very busy, but it was how I survived.  Sewing is my passion and therapy.

Our stay in Calgary was only a few short years.  The future of the company Christer was working for was not good and he was restless working in an office every day.  Our oldest was now in school and I wasn’t really happy with the school in our area.  I wanted to go back home to the US to live.  I was quite done with living out of the country.  So we made plans, found a new company to work for and prepared to sell our house in Calgary and move.  We were headed to Denver, Colorado.

 

My story – Chapter Four

My Story – Chapter Four

After Christer and I were married in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November of 1972, the top of our priority list was to get Christer graduated from the University of B.C. so we could get our life set up.  But you know how it goes, the best laid plans and all.  We got married at the end of the fall semester, right before final exams.  Probably not the wisest of timing choices.  (I don’t think we thought about it to be honest).  Christer flunked 2 exams.  Guess he had other things on his mind. 😉  He has always been a brilliant student and it was a real blow to his ego, but we survived and carried on.  By the middle of spring semester,  I discovered that I was pregnant !!  WHAT !!!  That wasn’t suppose to happen, not yet !  Now what ?????  Life has a way of throwing you curve balls when you least need it.  I guess that’s what makes you strong.

Christer only had one more year to graduate with his Engineering degree.  But we decided to delay that final year of schooling, for a year to have this baby and catch up on the finances.  That required a move to get a job, the first of many moves to come.  Our daughter was born 3 days after our first anniversary.  And with her came a host of new adventures and struggles.  And new sewing projects !!!!

I had never sewn for a baby before and I got busy making little night gowns and bibs and diapers. (this was 1973, only cloth diapers were available)  I made receiving blankets and little wash clothes, cradle sheets and of course all my maternity clothes.  We didn’t know if we were having a girl or a boy, so everything had to be useable for both.  Until she was born, and then, I went crazy with the pink and frilly little girls clothes and accessories.  I got very imaginative with making things to fill any need that arose.  Baby seat covers, stroller covers and pads, shoulder burp cloths, etc.  I loved it !!  I have always loved making kids clothes, they are kind of like doll clothes, only just a little bigger 🙂  And, I decided, more fun !!

Well, that year off from school stretched into 2 years before we made it back to Vancouver to finish up Christer’s degree.  But we made it.   Along the way we found out that I was pregnant again !!!  Geeeezzzz !!  It seemed no birth control method was very effective for us.  Our son was born 3 months before Christer graduated.  As soon as his classes and exams were completed, we moved again to his first “career” job after graduation, and bought our first house.  Go big or go home, ya know !!

I was a stay home mom at this point, busy with 2 babies and sewing up a storm for our house, clothes for all of us, and even a suit or two for Christer to boot.  Blankets and quilts were always on the “To Do” list to accommodate our growing needs.  My sewing “space” (everywhere we lived I have carved myself out a sewing space) was always humming with some project or other.

Remember the sewing machine I took for repair when Christer and I first met?   Well, I had been sewing on that used machine for years.  I took it every where I went and sewed non-stop.  It had thousands of miles on it and it was wearing out.  I needed a new machine.  But, we were up to our eye balls in debt, from the schooling costs, having two babies,  moving 5 times and buying a house.   Didn’t know how, but I had to have a new machine.   Sewing has always been my therapy, without it I would go crazier than I already am.  So we found a way and I got my very first new sewing machine !!  It was a top of the line Kenmore in 1976.  WOW !!  It did everything.  It did monogramming.  It did automatic button holes.  It did a huge list of decorative stitches.   It had a free arm, the latest innovation in sewing machines.  It was a work horse, capable of sewing denim and leather.  I felt like I was a queen with that machine.  I could do anything !!!!

My Story – Chapter Three

My Story – Chapter Three

I am mostly self-taught, when it comes to everything that relates to sewing.  I experienced a lot of “trial and error”.    I made some colossal mistakes and also developed some innovative methods and tricks .  I took Home Economics in high school,  a couple of different times.  By that time, I knew more about sewing than the teachers did.   However, I still look back at some of the things I have sewn and laugh.  We all have to start at the beginning.  And the first time we do something is always the prototype.  We all make mistakes and we all struggle with certain projects.  Eventually we get proficient at what we do and become good enough at it to teach others the skills we have learned.  Over the years I have taught many women and girls, and even some boys how to sew.  My children, 2 daughters and 1 son, were top of my list to teach.  Unfortunately, neither of my girls were the slightest bit interested in learning to sew when they were living at home.  {it’s a different story today}   My son, on the other hand, was quite interested and learned to sew.  After all, a sewing machine is a power tool !  Right ? 🙂  Recently I have been teaching my husband Christer to sew.  He is picking it up very nicely and is now working on his first quilt.

Out of my mother’s 5 daughters, I was the only one to really embrace, be passionate about and become an avid seamstress.   All of my sisters can sew and have sewing machines, but most of them don’t sew very often.  I am the oldest of the family.  The next one is line is my sister Amber.  We grew up always sharing a bedroom and many other things as well.  We have had our share of fights, secrets, and most of all laughs.  She is my sewing soul sister too.  She never did much sewing until she discovered piece work quilting.  Then she went quilt crazy.   She is the one who introduced me to the fine art of  piece work quilting.  Up to that point, I had always designed my quilts on the fly without a pattern.  Some just a couple of pieces of yardage sewn together, sandwiched with batting and backing, then tied or tacked.  Most of my piecing was quite big, 12 inch squares and triangles or sometimes even bigger.  Amber showed me what you could do with a pattern, smaller precision cut pieces to make  beautiful works of art.  She introduced me to patterns and magazines with fabulous designs.  I was In heaven !  Make no mistake, I’m precision to a fault, a perfectionist with my work.   I just didn’t know what I was doing when it came to piecing a quilt top together.  I was fumbling around trying to make the best of what little knowledge or exposure I had.  Remember, Grandma didn’t do piece work, she made whole cloth quilts.  It was Amber who built upon grandma’s foundation and expanded my quilting experience to the point of owning a quilt shop !!

Amber and I

Amber and I

The quilt Amber made for my 60th birthday

The quilt Amber made for my 60th birthday

My Story – Chapter Two

I’ve sewn almost all my life.  My mom was a very busy seamstress, making all the clothes for her large brood.  She made curtains for the windows every time we moved, home decor items and sometimes sewed for other people too.  I loved sewing.  Using the scraps left over from mom’s projects, I made doll clothes, costumes, and decorated doll houses.  Sometimes she would give me a whole piece of yardage to make something out of.  When I was about 8 or 9 my mom said to me, if you want to wear it, you have to make it.  She was too busy with everything else and needed me to make my own clothes.  I distinctly remember the first dress I made completely by myself and wore to school.  It was a gold and burnt orange floral with set in sleeves, a gathered skirt and a zipper!  I wore it to school and loved it.  I was quite proud of myself and that dress, even though I’m sure it didn’t look the best.  Many, many, many more were to follow over the years, as well as every other thing there is to sew.

I learned to quilt from my paternal Grandma, Afton Johnson.  She was a master, award winning quilter and hand quilted beautiful designs.  She always made whole cloth or single fabric quilts.  The hand quilted design was the beauty of the quilt.  She taught me to make small, even stitches, how to stretch a quilt out on a frame and roll it as you quilt and how to bind them when you are finished.  I made a king size patchwork quilt for my parents for Christmas one year when I was in high school.  Here is a picture of a quilt grandma made for me when my first child was born.

Baby quilt for Brenda

Baby quilt for Brenda

My mom taught me to sew pieces of fabric together to create something wonderful and unique.  My grandma taught me to hand quilt beautiful art onto practical items.   I combined the two skills and developed my own style.  Today, I mostly use my faithful sewing machines to piece and construct and quilt my creations.  But I love to do hand work and sometimes hand quilt.

And my suddenly husband, remember him ?   Well, our first outing/day date together was to a sewing machine repair shop to get my sewing machine fixed, and then on to buy fabric.  He learned right then and there that sewing, of any kind, was my passion !

My Story – Chapter One

In the beginning………….. 😉

I was born in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania on a hot August night in 1951.  The first to a young Air Force Sergeant and his wife.  My existence on this planet nearly came to an end when I was only a few weeks old and hospitalized for 6 weeks.  But I’m tough and determined and still here.  Shortly after that traumatic experience, dad was transferred to Puerto Rico to the air base there.  I remember my mom telling me what a paradise it was and how much they enjoyed the years they spent there.

Then on and on to more and more places.  By the time dad got out of the Air Force, he was deeply entrenched in the pattern of moving and dragged the family all over this country and even into Canada.  I didn’t complete one whole year of school in the same school.  When I entered high school,  I got to spend the whole year in one school, but a different school every year.  (pretty tough on teenagers)   As a kid my family lived through two, complete loss, house fires.  But I’m tough and determined and still here.

I met my husband, Christer, in northern British Columbia, Canada the summer of 1972.  He was a dashing bronzed God working a very physical job at the copper mine where I was working in the office.  We were both summer hires.   Christer was an engineering student up from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.   We met on my birthday, had our first date 2 days later.  By Sept 2, Christer proposed to me and we were married November 25.   WOW !! 

And so, our journey began………………….

I’m tough and determined and still here.