Papillons, Quilting & Me

From Dandelion to Sir Dandy Lion

By Linda Volcek


“And to the man he said, since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.  It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains……”  Genesis 3:17-18

Now that it’s officially winter, it’s time to think about gardening, yet again -- ahhhh Spring!

Growing up in Nebraska in a family of 7, we always had a vegetable garden.  While I loved the “fruit of our labor”, I did not enjoy the labor end of it at all!  From a very young age, I learned what a dandelion digger was and why we had one or two of those wicked tools.  Those beautiful yellow blooms that were so abundant in the spring and summer were my undoing.  Endless days of digging and then, of course, when they dried, the beautiful white puff!  I was too young to realize that when I blew on the puff, I was spreading the seeds to create yet another healthy batch of work. 

As I grumbled about pulling weeds and digging dandelions, I was reminded by my mother that it was all Adam and Eve’s fault.  Imagine hearing that two people I never met were making my life miserable in the hot sun.  Finding out that we had to toil and pull weeds because they sinned against God by eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge was unfathomable, but there it was, written in the Bible.  And I have been unhappy with the two of them for decades! 

Fast forward 55 years…………..

I continue to have a garden to have fresh whatever I can get to grow during the summer…………and I still grumble about pulling weeds thanking Adam and Eve.   You would think I’d get over it!  But sometimes great things can come from a weed!!!

Many of you know the story about me getting my first Papillon, Jay (see previous article).  When I had Jay for about 2 months, I contacted my friend and Jay’s breeder, Danni, to see if she would be having another litter of pups soon.  I told her that I thought Jay needed a friend and I was ready to have another pup.   

About 2 weeks later a new litter was on their way.  When I saw one particular pup, I knew he was the one I wanted.  Why?  Because he had a dandelion digger on the top of his head!  I knew it was sign…………a sign from God that this puppy was to be mine.  Course, God may not have realized that sometimes other people get the “pick of the litter” and that I would have one of the leftovers………………………ahhhhh, but God gave me one of the leftovers………one with the dandelion digger on his head!  I was ecstatic!!!  While Jay is tri-colored, this pup was sable (looks red and white) so comparisons would not be made between the two. 

Danni told me that this puppy would be mine and asked me what name did I want on his paperwork.  I said I wanted his name to be Sir Dandy Lion.  She got quiet and asked me why.  I replied that he had a dandelion digger on his head.  Thoroughly confused, she asked me what a dandelion digger was so I sent her a Google picture.  She had no idea!  My childhood nightmare was never a part of HER life! 

Three months later, I went to Oregon to get my dear little boy, Dandy, who became a playmate for my first dear little boy.   As it turns out, Dandy is Jay’s nephew.  One big happy family!!!!

Dandy has been a joy in my life.  He’s extremely smart, has done agility training with me, and has taught my other dogs things I wish he had kept to himself.   His favorite trick is to ring the bell to go outside and when I get to the door, circle back to where my coffee is to lap up as much and as fast as possible. Unfortunately for him, I’m a little smarter than he is so now the coffee mug is attached to the end of my arm when I’m up and about.   LOL  He’s also proficient in opening zippers on crates greeting me at the door a time or two.  Apparently, he’s right-handed because that’s the only direction he opens them so I do a left-handed zip.  I’ve learned a lot from him!!!

So the moral of the story is that sometimes what goes around, comes around, and I’m blessed that this “come around” was a positive one.   Stay tuned for the next adventure!

From Jay to Cowboy Boots

by Linda Volcek

“Bless the beasts and the children; Give them shelter from a storm; Keep them safe; Keep them warm.”  (Written By Barry De Vorzon/Perry L Botkin -- Sung by The Carpenters)


One of the saddest days of my life was the passing of my Jack Russell terrier named Muffin in 2017.  She was just shy of her 15th birthday and she was my life.  She was my rock during my trials and tribulations and someone that was always waiting for me at home.  I was totally lost without her.

Four days after Muffin died, a friend of mine that owns kennels and a grooming business tried to convince me to visit her that day as she wanted me to meet two dogs that she was “babysitting”.  I told I couldn’t bear to see any dogs and begged off, but she was insistent.  So, against my better judgment, I went to her place and fell in love with the two Papillons she wanted me to see.  Of course, I couldn’t have those two because they belonged to another mom and dad, but I could see the possibility of me maybe being able to love again ……… a different dog and definitely a different breed.  No comparisons would be made then between a Papillon and Muffin. 

After I returned home, I pulled my computer out and started to Google.  I knew absolutely zero about this breed.  I wasn’t even sure what they were supposed to look like! I knew big ears, but that was the extent of my knowledge of them.  Well, Montana didn’t exactly have a lot of Papillons hanging around …… perhaps it’s because they are very small, have tiny feet, and look very dainty.  So, my search had to be extended to surrounding states within driving distance.

God was guiding me. He brought a wonderful new family into my life. I found a breeder, Danni, who had a little male Papillon that was five months old and ready to be placed.  His name was Jay and I fell in love with his picture.


Jay in 2017

Jay in 2022


A couple weeks later I drove to Oregon and picked up that little boy and he wrapped his front legs around my neck, and it was love!   Here I was crying because I had sworn, I’d NEVER have another dog because of the hurt of losing one and now I was crying because I was sooo happy with this little guy.  Definitely love at first sight!

Where do the cowboy boots come in?

What started as a 2-hour phone conversation about getting Jay has become daily texts or phone calls with a very dear friend. Danni and her family have become a huge part of my life although we live on opposite coasts. When I heard that her daughter, Emilie, who I call my Special Daughter, was going to have a baby, I was ecstatic. And because quilts are my “thing”, I knew that I’d need to make one for her. 

The baby theme was going to be cowboys ……… I could live with that but then I heard the news, it was going to be a girl!!!  Oh no!!!!  I had a pattern for cowboy boots, but wasn’t sure how I could make it into a girl quilt.  Well, as you can see, I took Emilie’s favorite color of teal, etc. and made her this very special, never to be seen anywhere else quilt.  I hope Ida Jean, born June 21, 2022, will love this quilt as much as I did while making it for her.


To make a long story short …… because of Jay, I now have Dandy, Dinky, and Wil-Oh ...... all from Danni.

God works in mysterious ways!

Never say never!

The saga continues ………………………….


The Pathway of God

by Linda Volcek 
Psalm 16:11  “Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.”  (RSV)

I’m asked quite often about how I decided to make Kernersville my home.  I always go into my long-drawn-out version about being originally from Nebraska for 50 years, with a detour of 13 years in Montana, 2 in Texas, and then landing here 2 years ago.   I’m not sure what gave me away that I was a Yankee, perhaps, it was mispronouncing those beautiful mountains in western NC, or the city where the Kentucky Derby is held.   Or perhaps because I didn’t understand what “fixin to do something” meant or that “bless your heart” doesn’t always mean bless your heart.  But I’ve come to love the people and the area which brings me back to how I got here.  In reality, God brought me here. 

After retirement from teaching, I moved to Texas thinking that a change from cold and snow of Montana would be a relief.  Soon after, I realized that heat and humid weather wasn’t exactly what I had in mind either.  I was ready to go . . . anywhere that meant no shoveling of snow or no air-conditioning year ‘round.

 In Texas, I decided to get a part time job to get to know people in the area and do something that was familiar.  Well, I became a cafeteria lunch lady . . . a position that I had always told my previous teaching buddies I wanted to do after retirement.  Be careful what you wish for . . . God is listening, but in this case, it was very positive.   One of the ladies I met had lived in Texas her entire life and she and her husband were thinking about moving to North Carolina where they had family.  As the days went on, we worked and visited about NC and what it had to offer and knowing I wasn’t happy in TX, she suggested I think of NC.  Do you see a connection yet?   Lo, and behold, the pandemic closed the school! 

 Sitting around watching paint dry wasn’t my idea of living, so after my friends moved to NC, I decided to be brave and do something about it.  I sold my home in 2 days, purchased a new home online,  and 2 weeks later I was living in North Carolina, a state I saw for the first time when I drove here for my move with my 4 fur babies.  But the story doesn’t end here.

 One Sunday, I got up and decided it was time for me to visit a church.  I saw I had 2 possibilities, one church started at 10:30, the other 11:00.  Being an early riser, 10:30 was it!   AND what a wonderful God we have!  He led me to the perfect church for me.  It was love at first sight!  Masks and all!  The hymn “He Leadth Me O Blessed Thought”  comes to mind when I think of how I came to Kernersville and the First Presbyterian Church.

Sewn by Linda VolcekGlad Tidings by Maywood Studio, sewn by Linda Volcek, and quilted by Calla Lily Quilts in Greensboro

This leads to a confession.  One of my passions is quilting and I was excited to hear about A Market For All Seasons (formerly known as the Holiday Market) and that I would be able to contribute with projects, especially a Christmas wall-hanging or throw. 

Making a quilt for the church raffle has been an honor for me as I want to give back to the people of the church and community that have taken me in as one of their own . . . despite the fact I don’t have a Southern accent. 

I hope you will be able to attend A Market For All Seasons (formerly known as the  Holiday Market) on Oct. 29th, from 8 am to 12 noon.

God bless your hearts, and I mean that in the good way.