Friday, January 19, 2018

Dreaming of Flowers

I am already dreaming of spring and flowers.

https://www.almanac.com

I just love this quote that I found on the almanac page. I was looking at the long range weather forecast.

It is cold in the south.

I can honestly say I have made good use of the cold days and accomplished quite a bit inside. I need about another couple of weeks to go through my list. Then it can warm up baby and let the outside time begin.

I have no idea what the cold has done to the plants. I have never seen this kind of cold for such an extended period of time here.

I am thinking of my roses and what I am going to plant, so yes I am dreaming of my spring flowers.

I also stitched a good bit yesterday in between chores.

My progress on Betsy's Tart.



My sweet Lemony is 9 years old today.


She has a bit of gray around her eyes. 

She is the smartest and has the most gentle spirit. Just a perfect little lady. We always say she would be Miss Congeniality in a beauty pageant. She would win for looks too. She is a pretty dog.

I don't know if I ever shared that she is a miracle too. When she was about 10 months old, she got into Gorilla Glue. We had never had a dog so tall, so it was a whole new world about how high things had to be put up. 

She became sick very quickly. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to determine that this was bad. Smaller dogs almost never live. The glue continues to expand as long as it is wet. Our vet did an amazing miracle surgery. The glue came out like a styrofoam glob. Looked like an extra large chicken breast. 

She survived and we all learned a valuable lesson about making sure we put things out of reach and I have never bought Gorilla Glue since. No matter how good it is...I still remember how sick she was.

Needless to say, we love her and the Queen crown has been placed on her head since Lucy's passing.

She wears it well. 


This is her puppy days. Adorable!

Celebrating with Lemony,
Sandy




Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sewing and Stitching

Thanks to everyone who read the kindness post and made such sweet comments. It did my heart good to take the dessert to my neighbors. Isn't that the way that works? You feel better for having done the kind deed.

Remember though, I am far from perfect. In the age of social media we can often feel that others are. Believe me, I have those nudges and pass on them far more than I follow through.

Now, for some sewing and stitching.



I am one of those people who has more hobby ideas than time for. I have always been a "jack of all trades" girl rather than an expert in any one thing as well.

Since retiring I have longed to get back to sewing. I really haven't done much since I was pregnant and my oldest just turned 28. I made some of my maternity clothes and you know that whole, "I majored in home economics thing." 

It is one of those things where in the three and half years of retirement I have no sewing to show for it except a couple of simple baby clothing items for baby showers or gifts.

I decided that with the start of this year, that I would give it an earnest try OR put that hobby to bed once and for all.

I follow several sewing blogs. Three of which inspire me to no end. They are... Goodbye Valentino, SunnyGal Studio Sewing, and Girls in the Garden. All three of these ladies are simply amazing. Of course, they are really good and write and do tutorials such as Craftsy and the Mood Network. In other words, they are the real deal.

Speaking of blog lists...mine is an example of just how eclectic my hobbies are.

When Girls in the Garden posted this green velvet jacket on Instagram, I hopped over to her blog and ordered me up the same pattern, thread, and fabric. They were out of the green, so I stepped out my usual color choices and picked the raspberry. Mine does not look like hers for two reasons; she is good and I used a different version due to thinking it would look better on a 5'2" person.

WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!

These photos are just plain terrible. I had no one home to photograph me and I was determined to wear my new creation and take photos.

Of course, I think it would look much better with a white blouse and black pants.




How did it all turn out?

I would sum it up like this.

IT is probably as good as anything I could buy at Target.

IT is not nearly as good as anything I would by at Talbot's.

I am a perfectionist...so Target is not going to work for me when I make something, even though I wear things that come from Target on occasion (not often, because they don't fit right)!!!

I did enjoy it ---

I hated the pattern directions and did not follow them. I think many of the modern patterns are written for people who have sergers and I don't. I ended up handling the front like a facing and hand stitched the inside so if it flew open, it would look neat.

I did wear it on Tuesday when I volunteer at church. I dropped by Lowe's afterwards and one of the girls commented that she liked my jacket. I smiled and said, "Thank you." I was happy inside.

My daughter was surprised by my color choice and said, "Velvet is real trendy right now."

My husband said it looked like Hugh Hefner's smoking robe. I think he might be right. Same color even. We got a good laugh at that.

If you stuck with me this long...

I have two more projects that I am going to sew up. I will decide if I am going to give up sewing for myself or try and get better. I am not sure right now. It is definitely not a hobby for the faint of heart!

One more sewing note. I think it might be the perfectionist thing that gets in the way. In college, we had to sew for someone else in our class. They picked out the fabric and pattern and we made the dress. WOW! Y'all that was so stressful, even though it was a good friend I was sewing for.
She did wear it and that surprised me!

Onto cross stitching,

Mostly I have been working on quick seasonal projects. My stitching rotation has not even had a chance.

Latest finish was a Lizzie Kate Valentine's stitch. I changed the wording and some of the colors.





Hoping time will permit and that I will be back tomorrow with more things to talk about. Staying inside all week has given me lots to say!

Chatty,
Sandy



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Kindness

I had planned to participate in The Perk Project with Stacey at Poofing the Pillows, but...

What is The Perk Project? Here is an excerpt from Stacey's page... Our goal is to put more  Positive*Encouraging*Real*Kindness into the world with your help.
She and a friend blogger had a four week series on each word. Check it out with the link to Stacey's blog at the top.

but.... time got away from me, but I will go ahead and share with y'all some of my thoughts anyway and what I have been up to.


Kindness was this week's topic. I think it is much needed in our world these days. I came across this quote from Charles Kuralt. 
---The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines. 

Oh how I miss Charles Kuralt, and I do hope he is right about the everyday acts of kindness. 

A smile is needed so much these days. There are many people going through really tough things and just a note, visit, and even a smile could go along way.

Recently, I had to help my son obtain a mortgage loan. I am NOT the business person in my home. For 31 years, Hubby took care of all business. I paid some bills, but I didn't think beyond that. When I retired, I sort of took over everything all at once. YUK is all I can say about anything to do with business. 

Anyway, back to the point. Our bank doesn't do home mortgages, so I was tasked with finding one. I looked around and called a few places. Some didn't do the kind I was hoping to get. To make a long story short, I drove down the road looking for one place and ended up in another. When I walked in the sweetest lady met me with a smile. She had me with that smile. She wasn't the loan girl, but put me in contact with the correct person. That loan person got my business because of the initial girl's smile.

After the grueling month long process where I had to come up with one thing after another, I dropped by the bank to drop off a note to thank the lady for her smile and her warm welcome. It makes a difference y'all!!!!

I also still believe in handwritten personal notes!!!!!

Making desserts is my love language, so today I made a REAL banana pudding. I mean real as in cooked custard, because I do NOT believe we should call anything made with box pudding banana pudding.

I have two neighbors that have been on my mind. One is a couple that are just a bit older than me. The lady retired two years ahead of me from teaching too. Her husband is suffering from Alzheimer's. We have been down that road with Hubby's mom. A horrible disease. I have watched him go down from early onset Alzheimer's. He is now bedridden, so I took Lemony, the Golden down with me to deliver some banana pudding. They have always loved Lemony and if Lemony was missing she was usually down there begging for a dog biscuit. She is so astute. She knows he is not right and hasn't gone lately. We took her into his room and let him touch her. Lemony was a pure angel. 

My other neighbor is an older gentlemen who lost his Beagle the same week Lucy, my Springer died back in April. He used to walk his dog all the time. We spent a morning crying together last April. I have been a bit worried that he wasn't going to be getting out anymore, so Lemony and I dropped some pudding off to him as well. He has been having some back problems. 

Both neighbors seemed so touched by the visit. The pudding I could make in my sleep. 

I am not patting myself on the back at all. Please don't think that. I just felt led to show some kindness today and I am really trying to listen to those leadings and follow through. 

I will be back tomorrow with some sewing and cross stitching pics.

Check out Stacey's blog. She has been blogging for a very long time. She recently built a new home, and it is so pretty.

Scattering kindness,
Sandy

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Confessions and Catching Up

I didn't plan on staying away so long, but sometimes you just get caught up in other things.

After the long hot summer, I said I wouldn't complain about winter this year. Last year's winter was pretty much nonexistent. One cold snap last January that killed all my geraniums, and then I was walking on the beach all of last February.

This year it is VERY cold. I have a newfound appreciation of my northern neighbors who are hearty souls. With all that said, my idea this winter was to hunker down and take care of some household chores and reading. Just use the winter to nourish my soul.

I have been doing just that these first two weeks of January.

I have cleaned out closets. Still have a few to go.

I have taken care of my piles. I am a pile maker. I tend to clean up a room and make a pile of things that I am not sure what to do with ---well, get rid of the pile is what I should do, but I keep thinking of ways to I might need that or reuse it or just plain procrastination. It is a horrid problem. My piles are not necessarily eye sores. I am actually a clean and tidy person, but they are a BURDEN on the brain. This past week I decided to get rid of every pile, not just stick in a closet either. While I am confessing all my problems, I have another secret. My closets are probably one of the cleanest things in my house. I can organize and label things in the cutest tubs ever. I just can't get rid of stuff. Quite the sentimental girl.

Anyway, I got off track a bit. I have been a pile cleaning machine.

End result. There is not a pile in the house ANYWHERE y'all. It has been wonderful. I took a massive load to Goodwill midweek. It was quite freeing actually.
So much so, that I may have become a redeemed pile maker. At least I hope so.



I have made a list of things that need to be done like touch up painting and new curtains in the laundry area. I hope to start ticking those off slowly during these weeks of inside lock down.

I have also been reading, sewing, and stitching just a little. I will share more later.


On anther note for catching up, we have decided to sell our farm. I have known since before Thanksgiving, but wanted to make sure we were solid on the decision. It has come after prayer and realizing it is just too much to keep up at this time in our lives. I actually was ok with it first, but wanted to make sure my husband wasn't going to be too sad.

I guess nothing stays the same and life is pretty fluid. The work required to keep it mowed alone was enough. Those amazing pecan trees drop an enormous amount of limbs. I could go on and on, but basically Jeff worked all weekend this summer and well into September and October. I tried to help, but all I could contribute really was lots of mowing. I didn't hate it, but I wondered all along if it was what we needed for NOW.

I am not sure how long it will take to sell. I don't think a lot of people are looking for 90 acres everyday, but the decision has been made and that feels better and right.

I have plans for my furniture in the gathering room. I will save that for another post as this one is turning into an encyclopedia volume.



Gus is 7 months old. He is just the sweetest thing. He fits into the family quite well.



One thing I love about January besides the feeling of restarting is the bayou. Not something you would imagine, but it is quite lovely this time of the year. I snapped this picture earlier, but most days it is a bird festival out there. One day is for ducks, another pelicans, another gulls. Every January I love looking out to see which species is having their convention in our bayou. Right after I snapped this picture there must have been 30 pelicans fly by and land just a ways down.




This year I am trying to save my geraniums. I have some just inside the kitchen and a bunch more inside downstairs. We will see. There have been numerous nights in the 20's here. No ice on the bayou because the wind has been howling.


Lemony just needs to sunbathe so badly, that she is willing to sit outside with 40 degree temps and 15-20 mile per hour winds. I just shutter every time I walk out.

Through the window. Too cold for me.


That is what I have been up to this past week. I will be a better poster next week.


Staying inside,
Sandy


Friday, January 5, 2018

Looking Forward

I have no word.

I have read so many blog posts and Instagram posts with such wonderful choices this year. Some have chosen words, some have verses, and as I have read; many have made me say ..."Yes, I will join you in YOUR choice." All have motivated me or touched me, yet, nothing seemed quite like it was mine. I decided to spend some time reflecting.

Reflecting while doing the things I love to do with a fresh start. Cleaning out closets, puttering around the house thinking about what needs to be done, dreaming up fresh projects, and my favorite... making lots of lists.

While all of this has been going on my mind has been spinning, in a good way though. A fresh perspective has been shaping up in this here brain of mine.

I actually made lots of lists in my planner last year, and as I muddled through them thinking about 2018; I realized even in the chaos of last year I had accomplished more than I gave myself credit.

I read more books than I realized. In the back of my planner I had made a list, and it surprised me when I counted them. I had stitched more. I had cooked more meals at home. I had gone to the beach...these lists kept on surprising me as I looked back through the days 2017.

Often when we are in the muddle of the days, we can get lost in the weeds. Only seeing what is right in front of us, not the big picture.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie, "The Shack" (which for once I thought the movie did a great job of interpreting the book) was when the main character is in what seems like a jungle, but when God takes him higher he is able to see the most magnificent garden with structure and beauty all around.

I know He holds the future. 

Another thing that really caught hold of me other than my lists was the book I just finished. I finished Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon yesterday. A little later than the Christmas plan, however maybe I'm making Christmas reading a January tradition since last year I read two Christmas novels in January.

I have to give a little background for why this book is important. For those of you Mitford fans, I was slow to come on board. I retired in June of 2014 and had the set of books waiting for me as Mother had read and loved them. She had passed them onto me, but I stored them away until retirement. When I tried to read them, the Mayberry slowness of them just didn't work. I love Mayberry, but after 31 years of fast paced teaching and my need for nonfiction I couldn't slow myself down to appreciate them. I could see the beauty in the characters, but I am being honest here...there just wasn't enough action to keep me reading.

This past year I read a bit more of them. I skipped over to Shepherds Abiding and it touched me not just as a wonderful Christmas story, but something much more.

The quality of life. The relationships, the smallness of it all. I think I am finally at a place where I crave the simplicity and slower paced life. I also loved how he talked about working with his hands. I have been a bit too studious for far too many years. I want to get out there and work with my hands. The book didn't seem so slow this time, but relaxing. I want to savor the garden work, the stitching, the sewing, the time with my family, and yes, even housekeeping.

I even considered adopting a Bible verse for this year, since no word was coming. Still hard to turn me off...Others have a word, so I must as well. How do you choose a verse when too many come to mind? Maybe I should have a verse for each day.

I kept coming back to slow down, savor the moments, and just relax. Get up everyday and make the most of it. IF it takes you to far too many appointments then go with it. There will be days at home too.
In other words, I think I need to lighten up man!!!

I have lots of plans for sewing, stitching, gardening, trying new recipes, spending time with family, and trying to clear out the closets, BUT I think I am going to do more of just smelling the roses.

Speaking of roses, I want to give the rose garden one more shot. Hubby is cutting down the tree that took all my sun in my rose beds.

To all those who posted their words, verses, and inspirational thoughts...keep them coming. I love them and plan to incorporate them into my daily life. I am no serious blogger as one can tell by my sporadic posting, but I love reading them so I am going to keep on posting all my thoughts and poor quality phone pics. I enjoy getting to know all of you out in Blogland and love to read your thoughts.




It appears that I might not have one word, but too many. Sorry for the long post.

I took a break from my cleaning out to write, so I am headed to the coat closet next. The weather has made me pull out coats. I can't make a quick jog to the store without one with the temps we have had lately.

Looking forward,
Sandy


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Stitching Finish and Some Random Things

I finished my first stitch of 2018 on Monday just before the Auburn game which ended horribly. Oh well, no more college football until next August.

I actually tried to finish this in 2017, but I just couldn't stay up long enough. I decided to open the door and let 2017 out and 2018 in with the Eastern time midnight. Have any of you heard that superstition before? I called it quits at 11:00 our time and fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow.



I am not sure how I am going to frame it yet. It is just enough of an odd size that I may have to take it in to be done, but I do want it framed. I am going to display it in my sewing room where I spend a lot of time. I think this will be a good reminder of what is important.

I started my next project last night. It is Betsy's Tart by Plum Street Samplers. Arlene @ Nanaland gifted this to me. I spent some time trying to decide if I could actually see the holes on 36 count and then whether to use 1 or 2 strands. I opted on 1. If I don't go blind, it should be a cutie.


Hubby and I spent a few days out of town after Christmas. It is always nice to get away for some quiet time with him. 

We headed to the cabin and our friends from Huntsville came down to their place in Auburn. We attended a girl's basketball game, a boy's basketball game, an antique sale, and ate out at my most favorite place. It was a good few days before Hubby returned to work. 

The antique sale was held in Pine Mountain, Georgia. I have visited the store, Sweet Home Antiques many times, but they have a tent sale each year after they visit England and buy a shipping cart full of stuff. I have wanted to go many times even though I was sure nothing would be in my price range. It was very cool indeed.

I made four purchases which I will show you three of today. 

First up is a table that I plan to put in my bedroom. I have a nook that I have not been happy with for some time. For many years we had a desk in the corner and it was nice. We sold the desk and replaced it with an armoire that I have never really liked. That was buyer's remorse. We had gotten it at a good price as it was a floor model. I piled it up with clothes like sweaters, gym clothes, etc. 

I am finally getting my wish. It will be picked up next week.

I am going to keep it simple with the chair and table I purchased. I got a lamp yesterday at Goodwill. Mother has a shade that I may cover with cloth. We will see.

This will slide right where the cabinet is behind it.
Next up is the church pew. I sweated over this one. In fact, my friend bought it and was really looking for a bench. After she purchased it, the owner told her he had more in town at the store. She liked one in the store more, so I bought this one from her. I wasn't sure if I had a place for it, but we decided to go for it. (I have another idea for it if I end up not liking it here.)

I have placed it in my foyer for now. I have given you several views. I haven't put anything on it for now, because I think anything would be a Gus magnet right now.


Speaking of Gus, he is wandering around in the next two. He is growing. New pictures of him coming soon.



I think I really like the church pew and won't be sorry I bought it. 

The piece I really fell in love with may be the one I shouldn't have purchased. It is called a Canterbury, I think. It was designed to hold sheet music. I could see magazines!



I love it right now! I like magazines and they are a weakness for me, but have y'all noticed that so many of them have the same houses in them every few years. Has it always been that way? I guess if I just stuck to a couple I wouldn't notice. I really thought Southern Living was making a comeback after this past year. I really enjoyed it, but the January issue is so small. It isn't a bad issue, but it makes me wonder if is going to make it. There is so much competition these days and it really went through a bad spell there for awhile. IT was once the premier magazine for us southern ladies.

It does seem that this purchase could be the one I wouldn't want in a few years, especially if magazines go completely out of vogue and all become digital. What would I use it for then? Time will tell.

Oh well, Hubby is back to work and I have tons to do today...first up going to the gym. I normally go early, but the cold is holding me until 9:00 AM. I will probably be there when all the ladies in the cute gym clothes show up and I am not that lady! Oh well...at least, I am going,

Have a great day and stay warm,
Sandy






Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Cross Stitching Plans for 2018

Stitching Plans are made. I know good and well that I am being too ambitious, but I want to do so much. I have a list made of what I want to do, but I am mulling over days of the week for my weeks in progress. I have seen this with others, so I am intrigued. I tend to get locked in on something until I need to walk away. I am going to venture out and give this rotation thingie a better try this year. Since I have no stitch that is just pressing on me I am going to give it a whirl.

Not sure what this will look like..

Here are some thoughts...
Days for different topics such as Christmas, Patriotic, seasonal, etc.??? OR
A week assigned to the topics...(I am sort of thinking this might be more my thing than a day for each. I tend to get scattered and days might be too much for me. I might never accomplish anything.

We will see what happens in the new year.

I apologize right up front for the photos. They were all made on my iPhone and it is cloudy to boot. Throw in an overhead light above the counter, they are a little less than good.

First up is something I have had for a while, but I am stitching feverishly to finish before the new year. I think I will get it framed and put it in a prominent place on the desk. I think I need to look it at every morning.


I am dying to show you this and it is going to be one of those that I will definitely do in a frequent rotation. This one makes me think day!!! I have eyed this for a while. I would love to have it done by the end of the summer. There are four of them. It is called Summer Schoolhouse by Brenda Gervais. This one was a Christmas present.


The other thing that leads me to want and try days is the number of patriotic pieces that I want to do. Both of the following are presents from Arlene @Nanaland. I will start these the first of January.



This one was a Christmas project. I saw this one that Vonna had done on The Twisted Stitcher. 



The other thought for January is an iffy. Some of it just might have to wait until next year. I want to do those snowmen and some snowflakes in the second picture. I would do them in white on blue or blue on white (I think?). I am taking them with me on my trip at the end of this week. If I don't get them knocked out, I may put them on hold and just get those hearts done for Valentine's Day. The snowmen and hearts were also from Arlene.



Next up is some seasonal patterns that I saw on Carol @Stitching Dream. She did Spring and Summer crossing one over one. I fell in love with them. They are Christmas presents. I made a wish list on 123Stitch and shared with my daughter. I knew she would take care of it๐Ÿ˜Š


I want to do this Golden on my old pattern. I would have liked to have done it for Christmas for Paul Allen, but alas it didn't happen.


I want to do this one for my daughter. I think she would like it. I pulled out this gray, but the more I look at it, I think I will order the green for the linen.


The next two are also Christmas gifts. I will hopefully get the robin done by spring. The winter piece will definitely go to July with maybe Christmas stitching. Which leads to the fact that I have about 6 ornaments started and I really want to do more of them. I have designated July as stitching Christmas, but I may do some finishing on those earlier.



The last two are calling me. I really want to do both for my sewing room. Like I said....very ambitious.



My other big goal is to master making the cording. I am hopeful it will appear on my ornaments this year.

I will be sharing them as I finish them, so we will see what I accomplish in 2018. 

Hopefully you will find me stitching,
Sandy