Friday, July 13, 2018

A Stitching Post

I have spent the week just being home, no rushing around; just puttering, thinking about things I want to do, cross stitching. I have ignored a whole lot of Lemony hair. She is in full on shed mode. I have ignored lots of things, but I have given myself some much needed time to regroup.

I did something I don't do well. I stitched on something different each day. On Monday, I did go through my patterns and kit up some upcoming projects and move some to the back burner. Most of the things moved to the back burner were patriotic things. I hope to do better before next summer on those.

I picked out six things to stitch on each day.

They were...

Autumn - this is my monochromatic series in which I have done spring and summer.



Christmas ornaments - in my cleaning out earlier I found this very old magazine that I had LOTS of things I wanted to do in it. In fact, when Carol of Stitching Dreams did this one I knew right where she had gotten it from. Seems someone else has an old stash of patterns. BH&G Christmas Cross Stitch December 1992. I want to do all of these, but I started the half window. That window reminds me of the house we lived in prior to our present home. We built that home and brought our children home from the hospital to it. We lived there until they were in middle school.





School House series - I have wanted to do this one forever. I have actually started it and played around with it for quite a while. It is supposed to be one over one. I simply can't get the house to look like I want it doing it one over one. I have practiced and practiced. I am not giving up on one over one, but this one is not the one to do it on FOR ME. I simply love this series, so I am following my heart and doing it on 28 count even though it will be larger. I have actually paid tons of attention on Instagram to many have done this. I haven't liked it even when I saw it done by others with one over one. I think maybe doing it on 40 count over two with one strand would be better. OH WELL, isn't it wonderful that we can all be ourselves. I think as much as I love this pattern that doing it larger will suit me just fine. I will however do something else later with the smaller count stuff.







This series should take me all this year...hopefully ready for display by next August.

Space shuttle - this one is one I have had forever. I would love to do the whole series, but have chosen to start with the shuttle since I will probably never get all of them done. Even if I did, where would I put them? I decided on the shuttle since all of teaching career I taught about the shuttle. I am really enjoying stitching this one thus far.




Helen Keller - I saw this one on Instagram and even though I have been keeping a wish list rather that buying everything I have seen out there that is so great, I KNEW I had to have this immediately. I love Helen Keller. Some of my most famous quotes are attributed to her. I have to do some frogging on this...sigh, but I can't wait to get back to this one. One thing I changed was that I had planned to just use DMC. I started it out with that and THIS one is one that simply must be done with the called for colors, so she has been started over with the new colors plus I made a mistake.





I said six, didn't I? Well, this one has been hanging over my head since April of 2014. I had not stitched for probably 15 years when retirement was rolling around. I saw this heron and at about the same time "our little heron" that we have name Hank Heron (Paul Allen named him after Hank Aaron) came to hang out in our bayou daily. He has been here ever since. My thoughts were, "Oh, this will be a nice one to do in honor of our lives on the bayou." What I didn't consider was how really large it is. It is 26 X 22 inches. The stitch count is over 87,500. I could stitch every day for YEARS and never finish.
I know because I pulled it out yesterday and timed myself stitching some of it. It was decided that one would go to the NEVER EVER stitching pile.
I think that one was just an example of what I thought retirement might be and what it actually is. I love being home, but I want to spend my days doing family and things I really enjoy.

It has also made me ponder whether I really want to learn to smock or maybe spend the time cross stitching something special for little Tucker.

For now, there are five in the rotation with the fall and Christmas pieces taking front runner status. I will most likely do the most stitching on those with the others getting some time too. All of this along with getting the Auburn house ready. We close on it Tuesday and will go up next week to move the cabin stuff in it. Pictures coming in a couple of weeks.

I get to go to the Blue Angels tomorrow after all. I thought I would be flying home from Haiti. Going to the Pensacola Beach show each July is on the top of my list. The whole family is going so I am one happy Mama.

As for Haiti, it looks as if we will go next July.

We went this morning to get gas in the boat for tomorrow. Captains Lemony and Gus led the way.

Hot even at 8:00 A.M.


That is all for today. Sorry for the long post. I keep thinking I will change that, but who am I kidding - that is probably not going to happen.
Sandy

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Little Rearranging

I have spent most of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday just being lazy. I spoke to Mama early Monday morning (she had gone to stay with my aunt because I was going to be gone). She advised that I take it easy since I wasn't supposed to be home anyway. I had a hard time relaxing at first...due to coming to terms with how grateful I was to be home and just doing nothing.

I took her advice and let everything go including even unpacking my suitcase. I wondered off to my sewing room and kitted up several things to cross stitch. I organized a bit. I had thought I might finish off some of the things I had stitched, but I was NOT in a sewing mood. If I am not in the sewing mood, mistakes will abound.

I have cross stitched, looked at magazines, read and just hung out for ALL of Monday and Tuesday. It was actually pretty nice!!!
Today, I picked myself up and decided to get busy unpacking that suitcase. Mom is due back tomorrow, so I knew I needed to get up and at things again.

I think the down days were really just what I needed. I have gotten a little inspired with magazine reading to do a few things around the house.  I will share that in a minute.

We are closing on the new "vacation home" in Auburn. We are not going up to move in until next weekend. I have been thinking and thinking about what I will do with that place. A closet downstairs is full of things that I had at the farm. I need to sort through what I am keeping for the new place or getting rid of.

I will share all of the planning and pictures with y'all. I love stuff like that, so you will be able to read along if it is your thing too.
I have moved past the cabin mourning and am really looking forward to the new place in Auburn.

Now, to my day.

I started puttering around in the bedroom. I moved into the 21st century and well, really out of the 1960's by removing the dresser scarf from my dresser. Then that started the moving things around. IT all honestly felt good. I don't have it like I want it yet, but I will and the process will be fun.

Come along for the insanity of my thinking...

Dresser scarf in place. My mother ingrained in me the importance of dresser scarves. I have tried to remove it before only to replace it, but I know this time I am freed from it. Something just snapped in me today (for the good some of you are saying😁)



Then, I noticed that the wood frames and wood jewelry box were just way too much, so then I started moving things around.

I looked to my little shelf that my dad made in shop as a teen. I moved the wood frames there and moved the framed pictures I had on the top to the dresser.



Sorry, about the dark pictures, but I took them later in the day.
Well, this was ok, but the symmetrical person in me couldn't tolerate the portrait and landscape versions on opposite sides plus the different colors.

I took the family picture and spray painted it silver. I had some paint and I didn't really like the frame as it was anyway.


I am still not happy with it, but it is all good. I am going to look for a different picture for the family frame and possibly even shop the house for a different frame. You may notice I already tried to change the picture out to be portrait style. All of our family photos are landscape. 😔

I am going to keep working on it. I will get it just right.

A few more shots from the bedroom.

This is my little nook. I actually do read here often. 



This is the only carpet left in the house and when the farm sells we are removing it. I will be glad to see it gone. Gus has really done a number on this area. He has been hard to house train. 😠


But, he is cute.

Oh well, I feel much better and looking forward to some puttering.
I will share all the stitching I have done this week in my next post.

Grateful,
Sandy







Saturday, July 7, 2018

Disappointed Yet Thankful

I had not expected to post for many days.
I was set to get on a plane this  morning headed to Haiti.
Last night at around 8:00 PM, my very close friend and pastor's wife, Tami called me and said you aren't going to believe what I have to tell you.

She was so right. Shaun, her husband was on the phone with the people who operate the mission facilities where we were headed. The Haitian government tried to slip in a gas price increase during the soccer games in hopes that people wouldn't notice.

What ensued was a revolt!

You didn't hear about it on the news here. I have a new respect for Twitter. I have always used it for breaking news when I am not home, but honestly mostly for sports.

It was amazing to see the videos pouring in from the country. Just average citizens filming the disruption.

Had we gone, we would have arrived in Port au Prince to this scene at the airport.



Not exactly what a mostly women's group of Americans would have wanted to see.

Shaun said that even on the country side where we would have been if we could have gotten out of the airport was in disarray. They don't even know a storm is on its way.

The people of Haiti make about $2.00 a day and fuel now costs $10.00 a gallon.

I didn't even know what to feel last night. Relief that we weren't going to a crazy situation. Sad that I wasn't going to get to spend a week getting to know Katie (my son's girlfriend) much better. Disappointment for all who had worked so hard to put together an amazing trip for the teachers of Haiti. I have not worked this hard in several years on teaching.

Anyway, my emotions are still all over the place, but I am trying to focus on the people of Haiti and pray for them at this point.

I think we forget about what it is like in a country with so much turmoil. I know I look out my windows at a beautiful sunrise each morning and really don't give much thought many times to the remainder of the world.

Jeff and I went to the beach very early this morning to walk. It was his attempt to get my mind settled. I saw a small sand dollar. One of my favorite things.



If you are reading this, please take a moment to pray for the people of Haiti.

I have no clue when we will reschedule. I am sure some of us will go at a later date.
I am very grateful we are not there with the unrest and a storm on the way. I had many people praying.
Pray for them now!
I am still thinking I will take a few days away from blogging to clear my mind.

Thoughtful,
Sandy


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Stitching Progress and Upcoming Trip

I am going to be taking a 3 week blogging break. I will probably think of a million things to blog about, but I will make a list😀 so I can write them later.

As you know I have a mission trip planned for July to Haiti. I was in full on complaining mode earlier this week as I wasn't sure I would ever finish all my preps for it. I had set a deadline for much of so that I could enjoy the 4th with family AND we needed to have some of it ready early to get packed.

The trip is to train Haitian teachers. We are basically their summer professional development.

I had stuff everywhere and everyone working. Bless Mother's heart. She more than made up for her ornery self in the rehab center a couple of weeks ago, by cutting things for two days, stringing yarn through numbered circles. She has been a trouper. I literally wouldn't be as far along as I am without her help.



I still have somethings to print and then as a group we have to get all the lessons back from the translator and stuffed into the notebooks.



I am going with an amazing group of teachers. I sort of feel old and inadequate, but that is just the Devil talking. My friend who is spearheading this trip has even ordered the cutest bags for the Haitian teachers to put all their goodies in. I think it is all going to be amazing.

I will say it is not a sightseeing trip, but a work trip. I am purposely not saying much about logistics until I return. I don't think we can be too cautious these days.

Anyway, I have a bit more to do, so I am starting my break now to finish my preps and prepare my heart and soul for the trip...

AND I know I will need some time when I return to decompress. I know trips like this work on your body and spirit.

My small group and close friends presented me with a bag of snacks to take with me. They know all my eating conditions (gluten free, etc.) and the possibility that I can't eat lots that will be served. They also gave me a journal. They had all written me a letter and had my family and others to write in.


I was so touched and overwhelmed to think that I have so many friends praying for us. 

I have had to put everything on hold this week except for chores and mission trip plans, so not much fun stitching or reading or anything has been going on. 
When I return I hope to take some time to do some of those things. I really really want to make that little grandson Tucker who is due in October something cute to wear. 

I will still be reading blogs and commenting until the 4th, then I plan to go radio silent for a couple of weeks. 

I will not have forgotten you and will be back blogging sometime around the third week in July....I love my blogging friends.

Sandy

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

House Plant Love

I recently read a blog post by designer, Eric Cross on the merits of house plants. I loved many of the  points he made about them.

This point I will share from his blog as I think this one was his last point and may be the sticking point for people.

Plants are inexpensive.
Clients are always amazed at how quickly their accessory budget adds up.  A real budget saver is to fill containers with plants.  A beautiful and healthy plant is much less expensive than the pretty bowl we just put it in and really elevates the look of the bowl.  Also, if you can get your plant to thrive for 6 months and it starts to show age and look sick, just dump it and get a new plant.  So many people get emotionally attached to their plants and won’t get rid of them.  This isn’t your old Aunt Gloria having to be euthanized, it’s a sad looking plant.  Look at all the joy you got from it for 6 months.  The now half-bald struggling plant isn’t doing anything good for your beautiful living room so just let it go and try another plant.

Now, I am not sure if they are really inexpensive, but I do love them. I probably get emotionally attached to them. 😂

The other thing that might need to be considered is light. My mother was the queen of houseplants when I was growing up, but she lives in a townhouse now and the lighting doesn't exactly let her have a house full of plants. She does have two poinsettias from Christmas that look amazing in her window above the fireplace and a small deck of plants.

I happen to have the perfect amount of light on the back side of my home, so I have all of my windows filled with plants. I can't grow anything on the front side of my home. Well, I do have a Christmas cactus in my foyer that seems to be thriving. 

I do keep plants in the rooms that they will grow in, but I  admit it takes time to learn what will grow and what will need replacing after so long, and just what to avoid period.

Here are a few shots of my favorites.

My bedroom has this little alcove and it is glorious. That corn plant has done well. I hate to see the day when it fades. It will happen. I had a plant in my living room for over a decade and it just finally had enough one day. I tried everything to save it. I think they just have a life span too. 
The fern is new. 



I have changed out the plants on the top shelf of my living room bookcase more times that I will admit. I have done better with the ones there now than ever before. I finally learned that one pot gets more light than the other and switch these back and forth ever so often. 




I have had lots of success with this plant in my Christmas tree spot. I moved it last year into the bedroom for Christmas and it survived.



My kitchen window has two that have thrived there for a long time as well. The fir looking thing was brought to me by my daughter about three years ago at Christmas. Someone had given it to her in a small pot as a competition to see who could keep it alive the longest. It has loved my kitchen.




I think the designer is correct in that they add a lot to a home and it is ok to think of them as sort of like flowers.

It is hilarious to me that Paul Allen's girlfriend loves plants too. That boy complained about my plants all the time. You see downstairs where he resided has the same set up of windows as upstairs and I had them filled with plants too and of course that is where I moved all my geraniums and angel wing begonias to during the winter. 

She has planted quite a few things in his back yard. The sunflower was from seed.




Breathing in the good air they produce too,
Sandy

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Morning View

I tend not to do some posts because I know I actually have people who read my blog. I never EVER want to come off as arrogant, because trust me I am no big deal except in the eyes of God.
However, I do love to document my life for posterity's sake here on this little blog.

I am so fortunate to be able to live on the coastal waters of Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida. My bayou is one of the most pleasant places and super quiet on weekday mornings. Often on the summer weekends it is filled with the sound of kids tubing behind boats. Lots of squeals. I love it.

I am sharing photos I took a couple of weeks ago as I walked out onto the dock. I love to just go out and check on life in the early mornings and evenings.

For years I worked so hard that even though I lived on this special bayou, I was too busy to enjoy it. I try hard to be deliberate about going outside and soaking a little of it up.

We all need to find our place to sit, stop and think, to just ponder how lucky we are in many cases.

My view to the right. The opening of the bayou. The sun comes up here.


Straight out across the bayou. There is still one lot right across that no one has built on. The wildlife is great there. I often see a raccoon traversing across it in the winter when the water level is lower.

Moving my view left. The bayou ends well beyond and feeds a stream that goes into a neighborhood.


My sister-in-law lives around the bend. I often paddle my board around to her corner.

As you can see it was early and quite cloudy that morning, but each day holds something different.

A look back at the house. I love sitting in those plastic chairs in the evenings.
I find water of any kind be it lake, ocean, bayou, or pond is very soothing. Of course, I think the Gulf of Mexico may be the prettiest water in the world and soothes my soul like no other.

Grateful for the view,
Sandy

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Little Stitching and Flower Gardening

Flower Gardening
I am starting with my flowers. If you are not as obsessed with growing things as I am you can skim over this part😏

I know why I didn't buy petunias anymore after watching them this year as the hot of June came in. They were unbelievably beautiful all spring, but once the heat came I couldn't water them enough. I think they would survive around here in a part shady place, but my pots on the stone wall are a no go. Because it is almost full sun on and on a stone wall, my pots need plants that are somewhat drought resistant. Geraniums will survive although they might not bloom as well or the blooms don't last long. I have used Lilies of the Nile during the summer in many of the pots, but the cold actually got them this year so that sent me trying some flowers again. I did discover a new flower called Millions Bells (I think) that have done pretty well and some snap dragons have done fair.

However, I will be going to buy some lilies this week sometime to replace some of the plants that are just plain fizzling out.

I left one petunia in to try and learn from. I said last post that I was deadheading them all wrong. I watched a video and learned how to deadhead and prune, so I am trying to save one. I am like that in regards to flowers and plants. Quite tenacious!!!

Here are some photographs to share with you what I learned.

I was pulling off the flower head only.


BUT>>>




I learned that you must pull off the flower and the green piece with it. This keeps it from getting to leggy and produces new growth right where you removed the piece keeping the flower full. Much the same way as geraniums. You remove the entire stem of the flower and that will produce new leaves.


When you go all the way down the stem of the spent geranium to break off... 


you get full pots of geraniums. This big pot is only two small geraniums. It has lasted for several years. I cover it in the winter.


Now onto

Cross Stitching

I finished the Christmas ornament this weekend. I did not use the called for colors, but what I had on hand.


The white of the church doesn't really contrast with the color fabric I used. I am thinking of outlining it. I plan to wait until I get ready to fully finish it to see if stands out after I choose the finish technique. It calls for a cardinal button to go on the top of one of the trees. I may see if I can find something to put there.


I am going to do one more small before I take a blogging break in July for my mission trip and just time away. 
I began my Halloween piece that I won from Mary and RJ of Stitching Friends last year. I did quite a few fall pieces last year but not Halloween. I would like to do a couple of smalls for that.
Hopefully, I will do better than I did on my patriotic plans.



I usually fully finish things as I go, but I am putting me a stack together to do one day in the sewing room over in July.

I feel like the year is just flying by.
Sandy