Monday, December 27, 2010

Wonderful.

How was your Christmas? I hope it was as wonderful as ours was. 
It was this little bean's first Christmas and we had the best time watching her as she "opened" her presents!


I made her a little basket of soft fruits and vegetables. An ear of corn, a carrot, an apple, an orange, a pear and a little pod of peas. The peas are my favorite.


But,  Emma prefers the carrot. At least she likes her vegetables! Next year, she will be receiving Vanessa's darling stuffed turkey and some more fruits and veg, along with some desserts. Eventually, she'll have one extremely well-stocked pantry of fabric food stuffs! I also made her a knitted blanket, with big red and white stripes. It's soft and cozy and extremely squishable. Just like Emma!
In other news, we had our very first official WHITE Christmas! It was lovely to see soft flakes falling to the ground, even if the did melt on contact. But, after the sun went down, the flakes stuck and made a beautiful blanket of white on the world outside. Church was cancelled due to icy roads yesterday so, we stayed inside and watched old movies- Pollyanna, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Escape to Witch Mountain, Swiss Family Robinson- and we even snuck in Despicable Me. I love that movie. Gru is hilarious.
All in all, it was a quiet Christmas spent with family, the best gift of all.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crunchy Goodness.

Have you seen these? I found them at the Wal Mart and Oh. My.Gosh. - are they yummy!


 Plus, they are super cute little guys, aren't they? I could play with them all day!


 Well, that is until it's time to dump them into the Really Big Pot.

 

They take on a rather Dali-esque appearance as they begin to melt. And, yes, it is disturbing. Very disturbing.


But they do make the most delicious treats!


CRUNCH!


Yum.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Let Your Star Shine.

 No matter how small and insignificant something seems,


inside there is always something beautiful..

                                                                                    
Maybe the best way we can let our stars shine is to look for them in others.
Shine today. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Glow.

There is nothing like the cozy glow of lights coming from windows and doors on a cold, Winter's night.  It makes you wonder what  the family is doing inside- gathering at the table for dinner. playing a game, watching a movie. So, to satisfy your curiosity, you venture a little closer to find......


 Chickens!
Hello, Flora!


 Hello, Mavis and Hazel!


Pearl must be playing hide and seek. Silly thing.
Stay warm and cozy, girls!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Much. Too. Fast.

Why does time fly when you don't want it to? Two weeks is not a very long time in the grand scheme of things, is it? Most of Nathan's time home was spent doing this:


 Holding Emma. Who can blame him?


 She is very holdable.


 He delivered a package for a friend who is in Iraq. It's for the young man's girlfriend. I bet she was surprised! (Her dad answered the door. I'm sure he was wondering why someone was standing at the gate taking photos.)


 He opened Christmas presents, giving a "thumbs up" to Aunt Gayle's superb taste in t-shirts. He also got a booboo on his forehead. Don't ask. It really shows up with his "I have to go back to the Army" hair cut.


 But mostly he just loved this baby, giving her all of the kisses and hugs he could fit in in a short period of time.


And she loved every minute of it.

Nine months. That's how long we will wait for him to come back. It had better fly.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Words of Hope and Kindness.


Have you heard of The Brave Girls Club? I hadn't either, until a week or so ago. It was started by two sisters out in Idaho and you can read about them here.
A few days before Thanksgiving, I read a post that made me stop and think. It was a simple thing really, a challenge to go out and give strangers a little strip of paper with words of hope and kindness on them. How hard could that be? So, armed with my kindness messages (that I printed from here), I went to work on Black Friday prepared to share. I thought it would be better if I eased into this project by giving them to people I know first. So, I stuffed my apron pocket full of paper and randomly, throughout the morning, asked my friends to reach in for a happy thought. It was wonderful to see the reactions as they read their strips of paper! So much so, that I spread out the project to the customers. But, it all came to a halt when Nathan walked in the shop! I left with my pocket still packed with paper strips.
Last Thursday, Nathan, my friend, Cilla, and I went out shopping for Christmas gifts for Cilla's party. I was armed with my strips of paper, determined to share them with complete strangers and wish them a Merry Christmas. Our target location was Wal Mart.
It took me a minute to bring myself to walk up to a perfect stranger and ask them if they would like a "happy thought". There were a few who said no, looking at me as though I was crazy. But there were also those who gladly accepted them and rewarded me with a big smile or a hug. These positive moments spurred me on to complete my task. I gave half of the strips to Cilla, with the challenge to give all of them away. She did.
There was one woman, an employee that I nearly walked by, who touched me in a most profound way. I turned around and said to her, "I think you need a happy thought." "You know, I do.", was her reply and she chose her strip of paper. Quiet. Then, tears, as she showed me what it said-
You can be brave. You can do difficult things. It will be worth it!. 
Her next statement shocked me. "My son was murdered last Friday. You don't know how much I needed this. I come to work because I can't stay home."  Tears. More tears. A hug for a woman I didn't know but was compelled to give as I thought of my son coming home that same day. My joy, her loss combined together in a moment that is truly beyond description. I will remember her forever.
Cilla and I have plans to go out with pockets full of little strips of paper again. And again. The feeling that comes from doing such a simple thing is better than shopping for presents. So, go. Be brave. Make some one's day. You'll be better for it. Promise.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Word Nerd.

That's me in a nutshell. I love words. I like the fact that there are words out there that allow you to sum up your thoughts in one fell swoop instead of carrying on and on and on. I make it a point to find new-to-me words, research their definitions and then use them in conversation. It is really great fun.
The other day I was perusing the latest Country Living magazine when I found this:


Lara Robby/Studio D
Journal
Crafted from recycled paper and soy ink, this diary provides a handy spot for jotting down "extraordinary or quotidian thoughts." 

Did you see it? The word of the day?  Quotidian. Go on, say it! What kind of book would be worthy of holding quotidian thoughts? Apparently, this journal. So, if this journal will also hold extraordinary thoughts, what are quotidian thoughts, one might ask. Can you say "Google?" 
Here you go:

quo·tid·i·an

adj \kwō-ˈti-dē-ən\

Definition of QUOTIDIAN

1
: occurring every day <quotidian fever>
2
a : belonging to each day : everyday <quotidian routine> b : commonplace, ordinary <quotidian drabness>
quotidian noun
See quotidian defined for English-language learners »

Examples of QUOTIDIAN

  1. quotidian quarrels that other couples had, they had rows that shook the entire neighborhood>
  2. quotidian coughing fit, the result of years of smoking>

Origin of QUOTIDIAN

Middle English cotidian, from Anglo-French, from Latin quotidianus, cotidianus, from quotidie every day, from quot (as) many as + dies day — more at deity
First Known Use: 14th century
 In other words, those things that you do every single day such as washing dishes, sweeping the floors, brushing your teeth, making the beds, cooking dinner and every other thing that occurs on a daily basis are quotidian. But how much better do they sound when attached to such a glorious word? I rather think it elevates the mundane into something much more admirable. Journal-worthy, if you will.
Now all I need to do is find a way to work this new word into a conversation. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In My Dreams.....


If I was thinner than I am right now (I'll just leave it at that!), I would be wearing some of these clothes.
As I am not, I just dream.
These photos come from this blog:  Atelier des Ours. It is beautiful and very, very French. I like to read through and see if I can translate it using the French that resides in the far reaches of my brain. It's like a mental exercise. It also brings back memories of Mrs. Brown, my freshman year French teacher. She was old and cranky. Her lips were always pursed together and I don't think I remember her smiling. Ever.
But, we're not here to talk about Mrs. Brown. We're here to talk about these clothes!


Who wouldn't want to dress a bit like Laura Ingalls Wilder, only hip and cool?
They are the epitome of casual chic

I want to make this scarf! How hard could it be?
.

I can just see me going out to tend the chickens in this!


L.O.V.E.

Anyway, if you know me, you are aware that this is a far cry from what I wear every day. But, it's what I would wear if I could get away with it. Absolutely.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Most Wonderful of Things.

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was wonderful. My sister and her family came up from Florida and we spent the day eating and crafting. We love eating and crafting. 
After dinner was over, I made a video to send to my son, Nathan, who is in Iraq. Nothing really exciting, just all of us wishing him a Happy Thanksgiving and telling him how much we miss him. Oh, and that we'll see him in March when he comes home on leave.
I went in to work this morning to help with the Black Friday sale. Wow! Was it busy! There were so many people and so much to do- helping to carry bolts of fabric, putting them back, finding homes for more, getting fixtures to put out new stock. Lots and lots of things. As I came around a corner, wire shelving in hand, I saw this boy:



He isn't in Iraq. He's home. And I lost it in the middle of the shop as it finally registered that it actually was him standing in front of me! Needless to say that as wonderful as yesterday was, today was much, much better.
I am very full of thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ten Things I'm Grateful For.

Ah, this will be an easy post for there are many things that I am grateful for these days, not the least of which is being a grandmother. That's definitely #1 on my list. Here are the rest in no particular order:

1. Being a grandmother. Bliss.
2. My husband, who makes me laugh all the time.
3. My children, each one with their own way of making really proud to be their mom.
4. The chickens. I just love listening to them make sounds in the back yard. And, of course, the eggs!
5. My job. The place where I can drool over fabric and everyone understands, satisfy my creative side and be with some of the nicest women on earth.
6. My sisters. No offense to my brothers, but there is nothing like being with your sisters. If you're reading this, girls, we need to plan a getaway next year!
7. The knowledge of who I am - a daughter of God- and that I have the potential to do great things in small and simple ways.
8. My home, the place where I am the happiest.
9. The sewing room, where all good things are made.
10. You. Each of you who come to visit, comment or not, but who have made a connection with me making this world a lot smaller and much nicer. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.



Have a happy, food and family-filled Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hooked.

What I've spent my morning watching.



You cannot watch just one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spectacle.

I made a necklace for myself a few weeks ago and I thought I would share it with you. It's made from a pair of old glasses I found in some of my mother's things she had packed away. I don't know to whom they belonged (she probably bought them at a yard sale), but they are pretty cool. So, I gathered up a few bits and bobs-


 Some old earrings, a crystal drop, a tiny bee from an old slide bracelet, circle chain from Michael's and a pearl necklace from my grandmother and made this sort of funky, but really fun, necklace.


It just makes me happy to take old junk and give it new life!
Hmmm, what else can I make?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Place I Love to Be.

It's raining. I cannot tell you what a welcome sight glossy roads and dripping trees are here. It's been a long time since we've had the kind of rain where you have to turn on the lights in the house.


 This is a cozy rain, one that makes me want to do homely things like roasting pumpkins for pies and soup.


 Rinse all of the seeds and prepare them for toasting by tossing them in a little olive oil and some sea salt and, maybe, some curry powder or cinnamon and sugar. Or a little pepper with the salt. I'll cross that bridge later.


 I helped my son-in-law paint our house last week. All week. It was such hard work and Kyle did such a nice job, even if he doesn't like to paint. We didn't get to the porch yet and, with the rain, it may be a few days more before we do. Just picture it chocolate brown and then  put red shutters at the sides of the windows and, well, you get the picture.


While the rain lasts, you will find me home, listening to my Hem station on Pandora and puttering about. Seriously, can there be any better way to spend time? I don't think so.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reflection.


I think it's time to start doing things for me. Not in a selfish it's-all-about-me way but in a more profound way. I need to kick myself in gear and start myself on a path that will lead me to eating healthier, become lighter in spirit, lighter in weight, more focused on the priorities I have allowed to slip into a corner- somewhere.
Time flies. Today is the day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Train, the Train.

Yesterday afternoon found me caught at a set of railroad tracks. I watched as a bright orange engine barrelled through the crossing, followed by coal cars, cars holding tractor-trailer boxes, tank cars holding who-knows-what and cars I had no idea of what they could be. As I waited, I counted the cars. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,........After a minute or so, the train slowed down and the reason why is that another train was coming from the other direction on the tracks beside it. I lost count.
Instead, I began looking at the graffiti that had been painted on the sides of the cars. Nothing is exempt from being defaced by a can of spray paint. You could tell when someone was a novice. Their artwork was simple in line and usually hurried, with paint trailing off into nothing. You could also tell when someone had time, lots of time, to render their masterpiece and leave their mark on the world. Letters with deep shadowing, flourishes, swirls and dots all combined in one small space done with great determination and, oddly, beauty.
I would occasionally glance into my rear view mirror to see the cars behind me pull out and take a side street to avoid having to wait in line. Everyone is always in such a hurry and no one wants to wait for trains. The two cars in front of me finally turned as well, leaving me at the top of the line with a clear view of the two trains in front of me. I moved up closer, put the truck in park and watched and waited. Twenty minutes. That is how long I was able to sit and watch a piece of Americana slip by me.
I love trains. I like the fact that I have to stop for a bit to allow one to pass, giving me the chance to unwind, take a breath and soak in the world around me. If not for those trains, I would have missed the Canadian geese flying overhead, swirls of grackles leaving the treetops, the morning glories blooming in the ditch, the man behind me picking his nose because he thought no one could see him (well, I would have liked to have missed that!), the dust from the dump trucks rolling up a dirt road sparkling in the sunlight, laughing children on a school bus, the engineer waving out the window, the graffiti, guessing what was in the cars, letting my mind wander.
If you ever come upon a railroad crossing and see a red pickup truck parked a little away from the safety gates, the driver watching intently as the train passes, it's probably me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's a Good Thing I Don't Live In England!

Why? Because I would be as fat as a Suffolk pig, that's why!
 My friend, Cilla, sent over a hazelnut plum cake (she had made two- how fortuitous!) to rescue me from an I-didn't-have-time-to-make-dessert moment the other night. One taste and I was loathe to share it! This is so good- moist, plummy and crunchy in all the right spots. Delicious.
Cilla found the recipe while she was back home in England helping her mother recover from hip surgery. And then she brought it home. And shared. Oh, my!


 This has been my breakfast for the past few days-  a large mug of hot chocolate and a wedge of plum cake. Today I ate the last piece. My hips were singing notes of gratitude as I took what they knew to be the last bite.


But, then, I went over to Marie's blog to find that she had posted this the other day!

 A simple almond cake? I don't think so. It is deceptive in its innocent dusting of confectioner's sugar. Ladled with an apricot compote, as suggested by Marie, and it transforms into something much more seductive. I did not copy this recipe. But, once again, I am faced with temptation, this time by Maureen! Ack!


Really? This is comfort food at its best. Homemade desserts ready to fill and warm any tummy in need of a little sumthin'-sumthin'. If I lived in England, I think I would be a balloon. A balloon full of cake.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet.

Who can resist a sleeping baby? Not me, that's for sure!

 

When I haven't been working, sewing, traveling or cleaning house, I've been sneaking in snippets of time with Emma. Which, unfortunately, does not allow for a lot of blogging. I'm tweaking my schedule a bit better and I should be back on track soon. But I'm not giving up Emma time. ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Home.

It's nice to be home, but I wish that our little trip would have lasted just a bit longer. Why is it that, when you are home, time just plods along and when you are gone- poof!- it flies by?
Friday was a play day for us, visiting a local quilt shop (of course!), popping by a yard sale, the required trip to the WalMart and lunch at a new-to-me restaurant, The Red Elephant. Oh, my gosh! I had hummus with olive tapenade, black bean soup and a wedge salad with the best blue cheese dressing ever. Delish! After our morning adventures we headed home to start setting up for the yard sale. (We needn't have wasted our time, it was a total bust. Oh, well, it was a good reason to go see my sister!)
Friday night was the ZooBoo at Lowry Park Zoo and it was a lot of fun. Most especially fun was watching John and Alyssa riding The Flume of Fear! Hilarious. They both got soaked! My niece was not amused but John thought it was awesome. We found a hurricane booth that lets you experience hurricane force winds, made both kids get inside, paid our two dollars and blow-dried them. It didn't work very well but the chuckle factor was priceless. There were haunted shipwrecks, mummy tombs and a 3D "movie" experience. Lots of games and food and not a lot of people, which was lovely. We all enjoyed it very much.
As I said, Saturday's yard sale was a bust. We made $50 for the whole day. I did get a lot of knitting done on Emma's blanket and it was nice to just sit and chat about, well, nothing really. We closed up early and headed to the beach. We always go near sunset, it's the best time to be there. It was beautiful- breezy and warm and the sun was just beginning its journey below the horizon.




 Why is it that all the photos of my family at the beach are of them walking away? Because they hate having their pictures taken that's why!


 Goodbye, sunshine.

 The pumpkin festival was great fun. We got "lost" in the corn maze.


 But John Albert spied the way out and led us to safety. Actually, he just followed a man in a red shirt, never letting him out of his sight. Whatever, it worked!


There was a rather hokey lumberjack show, full of corny jokes and throwing of axes. Yikes!



 The Wallendas were there, performing their death-defying feats. This girl was 100 feet in the air!
Um, yeah, no.


 John loved this little orange car!


 Beautiful fresh watermelons at the Farmer's Market.


And then, no more pictures because I became ill and we had to leave. :( I was not a happy camper. I think it was too much sun. It was almost 90 degrees and we were in full sun for 4 hours. I was hot and sunburned, never a good combination. Oy. A good nap and some quiet time and I felt much better. 
Now I'm home and I'm happy to be here. Very happy.