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 it­čśŐ


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






Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Perfect Christmas

I am going to share my Christmas with you. It is long. You may not be inclined to finish it, but that is ok. I will be back to regular posts soon.

The Christmas Eve message at church was titled "The Perfect Christmas." The premise is we all want that perfect Christmas, but it doesn't really exist does it?! The birth of Jesus wasn't in the perfect setting, and I can't even imagine giving birth in that setting or being Joseph, a man that probably feels like most that he needs to find an inn and give Mary the best possible place to give birth.

The perfect Christmas probably only exists in photographs and movies.

The images are everywhere these days... the perfect tree, the perfect table set with pretty flowers and china, the perfect wreath. Some would blame social media, but I remember watching my story of choice growing up, The Guiding Light, with the Bauers and Spaldings all dressed in their best and decorating their Christmas trees on Christmas Eve. Of course, they all sang carols. I truly remember O' Holy Night being sung for the first time on Guiding Light. Then there were the variety shows of the 60's and 70's that made everything look so perfect. My personal favorite of those was the Andy Williams special. I have to admit much of those TV shows and what I saw in Southern Living magazine shaped the traditions that I hold special today.

Of course, throw in all that you did growing up and shake that up with your new spouse when you get married and you have Christmas at the Palmers.

Things have been slowly changing over the past couple of years. I know nothing stays the same, kids grow up, parents pass, and I have been somewhat determined along the way that I would be the keeper of traditions while adapting to changes.

I knew my kids would grow up just as I did and I would have to share them with their spouse's families. Out tradition for 30 years was to spend Christmas Eve with my husband's family and then drive to my mom's Christmas Day. I had been blessed with the fact that our parents lived less than an hour and a half from each other. When my step dad passed, Mother moved here two years ago. We had eaten her house on Christmas Day, but it was just her, Jeff, Paul Allen, and me.

This year would be the year that the big change happened. Gasp! Lindsay and Tyler would spend the entire Christmas in Atlanta with his parents. I wouldn't be sad I told myself. You knew it was coming. They had spent Christmas Eve here the past two years since marriage and driven to our cabin in Auburn late that evening, then onto Atlanta early Christmas morning. I worried about all that driving...that's what a mama does.

I knew I wasn't the only one that would take it hard, as Lindsay is definitely a Daddy's girl. Of course, she and Paul Allen are close too.

It was time to let them go. I decided the traditional Christmas Eve would be held on the 23rd. The traditional dinner served in the dining room on the Christmas china that I so love to use. I love having the good dishes out on special occasions. We would open all of our gifts. It would not be our usual crowd of Jeff's siblings, but just Jeff, me, the kids, and Mother. We had one special guest this year. Paul Allen invited Katie. Things were all set. The house was pretty, the lights aglow, the table set, and dinner cooking. We were having a lovely time.

Then the kitchen sinks (both sides) decided to clog up. I figured I had messed up by putting potato peels down the garbage disposal. I told the kids we would let it go until later and I would get it all. I am sure Paul Allen was secretly doing the happy dance. He has always hated waiting to open presents while I hand washed (with help of course) the Christmas china. No dishwasher is going to mess up my prized dishes.

We opened presents, laughed, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I sent them all off happy and well loved. I set to work cleaning up the mess without the use of the kitchen sinks. I set up a washing station in the tub of the guest bathroom down the hall. I did manage it all and smiled all the while I did it. I really did. My heart was full. I finished it all at 10:45 PM. I was too wound up to sleep by that time, so I got on You Tube looking for videos on how to unclog the disposal, since I thought the potato peels had done it. I now am well versed on what you can and can not put in a garbage disposal and how to unclog them. I poured copious amounts of soda and vinegar down the drain. I even sent Jeff out for more on Christmas Eve morning before church. All of this to no avail.

The message at church the morning of Christmas Eve was so "perfect" for me. Mother said the message was just for me. It really had reminded me that nothing is perfect, but in spite of the debacle in the kitchen and the mess I had to clean up, I had felt immensely blessed.

Back to what might look like the not so perfect Christmas story.

I had Jeff's siblings coming for the traditional Christmas Eve meal and decided that I would just have to use paper plates. The little hostess in me was still trying so hard to have the perfect Christmas dinner. We did all enjoy ourselves and all were fine with the paper plates. It is me who loves to use the china at Christmas.

Christmas Day proved to break all my traditions as well. Since neither child would be with us, Jeff's sister  suggested  that Jeff, me, and Mama go to eat with her and her husband. What???!!! Eat out. I have never in 57 years eaten out on Christmas Day. My first thought was to be opposed. I hate to think of anyone working on Christmas. The restaurant is one that is managed by a culture that is most likely not Christian. I have no clue about that, but either way they had a Christmas buffet that was quite nice. My sister said it was going to be her new tradition as her daughter Kristan and family don't come home from Houston anymore now that the twins need to be home for Santa.

On Christmas Day morning, Jeff decided to let me rest awhile and took the dogs to run at the park. He left his phone on the bumper of the Jeep not realizing it until he got home. You guessed it. When he went back to look for it, it was smashed. Run over multiple times. It was crushed into multiple pieces. New phone for him.

I also made the decision not to put Gus in his kennel when we left for our Christmas meal out. Gus decided that he would chew up Jeff's Costa sunshades. If you aren't familiar with them, they are amazing shades and if you live where we do they are not really a splurge, but a good investment. One that he had bifocal readers in for tying his fishing line. Poor Gus was in big trouble.  New sunshades for him.

The plumber arrived today. The disposal was not the issue, but the sink. He had to run the snake thingie 45 feet to clear it. No amount of soda and vinegar was clearing that clog.

I broke a precious ornament today while cleaning and then dropped the blender jar and it smashed into lots of pieces. New blender needed.

I was beginning to feel jinxed!!! 

Through the not so perfect Christmas I have kept my wits; not one tear has fallen YET or really even complaining. I have tried to remember it is Christmas and the message is that their is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, but a perfect Savior.

I have my family and we will learn to adapt to the changes that are coming. After all, isn't that what you raise them to do...get married, have children of their own and be at their house for Santa to arrive?

If you made it to the end of my story, know that I am about to prop my feet up in my chair and do a little cross stitching. I am hoping nothing else breaks, because I might not hold out forever with the good attitude. I am not perfect!

I promise I will be back with my stitching loot soon.

I think EVEN with all my problems, I had a pretty perfect Christmas.
Sandy










Friday, December 22, 2017

A Post Filled with Random Things and Good Wishes



This is going to be a random post; maybe we should call it a mind dump. Here goes:

I am very late talking about my blogging friend's book. I was so excited for her when she was able to publish a book this year. At any other time, I would have read it overnight, but life has been just a little busy, so I took way too long to even start it.

On Monday, when I drove my son to immediate care and then saw the line, I was glad I had brought it along. I was about a third of the way through and managed to finish the sweet book that day.

Don't you just love the cover?


If you don't follow Leslie Anne's blog in my sidebar, then let me share that she writes a column that now appears in newspapers in Alabama. I would classify it as a big dose of southern life with a good amount of humor. If you are from the south and love our ways, then you will find it a fun read. It is a collection of short stories. I emailed Leslie Anne my three favorites. They are: "Our Simple Southern Home", "Designing (Clowns) Women", and "It's Hard to Say Goodbye." I recognized some from her blog and column, but most were rewritten and quite a few new ones as well. One titled, "It's Hard to Say Goodbye" is about how long we southerners take to say goodbye. It reminded me of so many visits to older relatives and how they follow you to the car still talking. My uncle lived out in the country and had a gravel drive. While we would still visit on the walk to the car, my young son at the time would with each visit fill his pockets completely full of rocks. You know we have sand instead of rocks along the Gulf Coast. The story brought back many sweet memories.

I definitely wanted to let my southern blogging friends I thought they would enjoy it.

My geraniums are trying to make a comeback. I have been using my coffee grounds mixed with water to pour over them.

Speaking of doctor visits, I have three updates on that.
I don't think I ever shared what we discovered with my brother-in-law. The biopsies showed no cancer. Big relief. He does however have a rare infection of the bladder; hence all the bleeding. They are treating it with powerful antibiotics for 40 days as it hard to get rid of, so we are still praying all goes well there.
Paul Allen let his sinuses go until he was in great pain. He is now on two antibiotics, but is off for Christmas with the school system, so hopefully he will be all recovered by the time he has to go back to work as well.
Jeff has a knee that has been bothering him. He was afraid a replacement was in order, but we went to Andrews Institute this morning and are going to try some blood platelets injections in January. The doctor said he did on his own mother and it should work for 2 years. Maybe we can avoid the surgery until technology and stuff comes up with something even better than the injections. It is out of pocket, but will cost less than the deductible with next year, so win win in my book.

A friend just brought this by to me. How sweet and it lights up too.


Very cloudy this morning.


Across the bayou, they have cleared out and built a new dock. I remember seeing that house long time ago, but it had grown up in front of it, that we had all forgotten what the house looked like.  They built a very nice dock, so my view is no longer trees, but this, but.....they have a Golden that looks exactly like Lemony. I am waiting for Lemony and the other Golden to be out on their docks and spot each other across the way. It would be like twins.


I have almost finished my Christmas present for Paul Allen. This was the other dog that I have been stitching on forever. I have been so busy this month, that I have stitched on nothing else and had a big mess up so I had to rip out some. Yuk! I don't work well under pressure on stitching. I have some outlining to do and when I finish this post I will do that. Then I am headed to wrap up the remainder of my presents and tidy up sewing room.


I will be ready to enjoy the family.

If y'all don't hear from me until 2018, it will be because I am enjoying the time off with Hubby and family.

Have a very Merry Christmas. I do love my blogging friends. Y'all add joy to my life.
Sandy







Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas and the Piano

After church yesterday, the family all went to Mother’s for dinner.

Mother had been after me to corral the kids to come to her house for a Christmas dessert. She has still been holding on to the family coming to her house for Christmas day dinner for sometime despite the fact that times are a changing and that those changes weren’t all tied to her moving here two years ago this Christmas, but kids growing up and having new responsibilities of their own.



This year knowing that Lindsay and Tyler weren’t going to be here for Christmas at all, she was trying to figure out how to get us all under her roof. That is for another story.

Bless her heart; I know my years going forward are changing with her. She is still spry in many ways and still has her right mind, but I see lots of changes too. She doesn’t seem to be able to cook like she once did, so Lindsay and I were rapidly trying to scheme how to make this work for the menfolk.  I think she realizes it to a degree, so she actually was just going to do a dessert, but quite frankly the dessert she wanted to make is a no go with the men. We managed to talk her into Lindsay and Tyler picking up seafood after church at a local place and then we talked her into a Marie Callendar’s cobbler assuring her the guys would all like that way more and she wouldn’t have to cook, just have us over to eat. She agreed to it because she desperately wanted to hold onto that tradition of having us at her house, but knowing she can’t pull it all together anymore. I am glad I paid attention to her baking skills over the years, because she was once a great baker.

I decorated her mantle for her.


What led me to share this whole story with you was this…

She bought me a piano between the first and second grade, and then hauled me from Repton to the other side of Monroeville to Beatrice for piano lessons once a week the next year. For those readers not familiar with the southern communities, these towns are all rather small and in south Alabama. Beatrice is not even pronounced like the female's name. You would have to hear to believe I am afraid. The piano teacher’s home was a small antebellum style home, so it was serious business ---this piano stuff.  I was forced to take lessons for many years, so you would think that I would be a concert pianist.

Oh no I assure you I am not. My complete playlist after all those years  is maybe a dozen songs…far less these days. It consists of a couple Christmas carols, a few hymns, and a few pop songs from the early 1970’s. All of my playlist has “b” and “e” flats, NO SHARPS. I hate sharps. I can only read the music, no ad lib with chords either.

Tyler, my son-in-law wondered about the piano, so I had to prove to him I could play it. As I stumbled through Away in a Manger and Silent Night, I heard my mother say…”Well, if she would just come over and practice everyday, she could play better.” 

I just cringed at the thought, but dared not turn around! Lindsay came to my aid and said, “Grandma, I don’t think Mama wants to spend her time doing that anymore.” Why, Yes, I thought….Praise the Lord and preach it Lindsay.

Jeff and Paul Allen chimed in also to my aid, not to rescue me like dear Lindsay, but to make sure there was never even a thought that they would have to move that piano to our house. You see I have told Mother for years that I have no desire to keep the piano. She has tried to get me to take it for a decade.  I dearly hoped she would sell it before the move here, but no, it was coming. Even then, she was saying, “You can come over and practice.” I am 57 and she still hasn’t figured out that I have no talent. It is true; No one loves you quite like a mom.


When we first started talking about the move, it was the first thing out of both Jeff and Paul Allen’s mouth, “How are we going to move that piano?” 

Turns out we used Two Men and a Truck. They are still making sure that job is not ever their job, and I am still trying to make sure I never have to practice everyday.



You might note from the picture of me practicing is the outfit I am wearing. Mother made most of my clothes and I never once felt that they were anything less than designer clothing. Mom is a great seamstress. I would show her a picture of what I wanted and off to the fabric store we went and bam, I had a new outfit. Her sewing machine is far more valuable to me than a piano that I can't play and makes me think of every piano teacher screeching at me to remember to play the sharp.

Talk to y'all soon as I am finished with my shopping. Now I need to wrap gifts and clean my house. I had a sick son to take care of which is another long story. He is 25, but no one loves you like your mother.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

O' Christmas Tree circa 1960's

Let's travel back to the 1960's, shall we?

I think you will find Christmas trees look a bit different than my current tree. I was thinking about that the other day, so I decided to look back. The picture quality is that of 1960's, so we will have to imagine brighter colors.

First up is one of my favorite Christmas photographs. It is of all the cousins on my dad's side of the family. I am the baby so this is 1960, my first Christmas. We are at my step grandmother's home. I say step, but she is the only one I knew as my dad's mom died when he was a young boy. I think we are a rather cute lot of kids and love the icicles on the tree.


One distinct difference is the size of the trees.

The next photo is 1961. We were stationed in Germany. #armybrat

I love the flocked tree. I still have many of the ornaments on the tree.


The next two photos are the same year. 1962. Still in Germany. 
I chose both of these because I think there is a mommy version and a daddy version. I think the first one is probably the daddy version. I am sure he thinks I am dressed and cute enough to take a picture.



I think this is probably the mommy version. All dressed up ready for a picture.

I do love those boots.

Now, we move onto Columbus, Georgia. We are now stationed at Fort Benning. The tree is a little bigger.

Now, all trees in my early years were cedars. I don't know if that was a southern thing or not. Everyone I knew had this kind of tree. My grandparents would have just cut theirs from the woods. I don't know if that would have been the case while we were in the military. I think that would have been bought and they are cedar. The one in Germany looks like a type of spruce. 

Cedars were the thing in my neck of the woods, but they don't hold heavy ornaments, but back then all ours were lightweight anyway.



I believe we always dressed up for Christmas Eve in my early days as well. Later on in my life after Daddy died, we visited grandparents on Christmas Eve.

The next one is the following year, still in Columbus, but taken on Christmas morning. This tree definitely lacked in shaped, but don't you just love it!!!
I still remember those pajamas.


Next up is 1967. This was after Daddy passed away. We were back in the place where both my parents grew up. The address would be Repton, Alabama. If that isn't small enough for you, the community was Range, Alabama. The woods people!

Of course, they all had beautiful lights in color. I remember by this time Mama had found some metallic reflectors that fit right under the bulb. I thought they made the lights extra special. 

Don't you love that Western Flyer bike from Western Auto?


I thought I would throw this in from church. I was Mary that year in a silent play. We basically just sat there at the front of the church while everyone looked at us. This is the only photograph of it, but Mother took a moving picture of the play. I love it. Never let it be said that a little white country church in the woods can't have a Christmas production. Hartwood Methodist Church had one.

I was so nervous I must have gone to the bathroom twenty times before we left home. Of course, I knew once I got to church I wouldn't be able to go, because I wasn't going to the outhouse in the dark. Yes, I am telling the truth.


I hope I have brought back some memories for you. All good I hope...mine were.
I thought I would share my first Christmas tree as a married girl. 1984. We had just gotten Sally, the first Springer too. She had been born February 29th of that year and was about 10 months old at this time. A elderly lady had gotten her and she was a bit much for her, so she was free and I took her as my first child. That was one spoiled dog.



The tree was my attempt to recreate one I saw in Southern Living. I still have the picture of it. It actually was a pretty good recreation except for the size of it. I had collected quite a few ornaments for it from craft shows that were popular back in that time period.


I did some shopping today. I am farther along and feeling better about that. I was tired, so I figured I would pump out this memory lane tour.

Two kids and some 33 years later, I have had lots of Christmas trees. I still get excited to put one up. I figure if I get the tree up and my little Nativity up I am all good. The other stuff is icing on the cake.

Making memories,
Sandy






Monday, December 11, 2017

My Contribution to the Cold Posts

I am a little late posting about my cold weather experience. I had an extremely busy week last week, and barely had time to read blogs much less comment. I tried though because I love my blog friends.

Jeff had scheduled my Christmas gift last week as well as giving him some needed time away from work. We were able to do part of it, but we had a few hiccups in our plan and had to return earlier.

I shared with my family (same as last year) that any gift that I had to find a place for in my home was a "NO GO." I don't even need clothes, so they are struggling to find me a gift. I have made a wish list on 123Stitch, so hopefully I will have some fun new stuff for 2018. If I don't have any more time than I have had for the month of December I will be sad. Hopefully, after this week it should settle down a bit.

My view as I type this morning. Lemony has the ball, Gus wants it. He is now 6 months old. Happy playmates.

Back to the trip.

I haven't shared a ton on this blog about my obsession with space, but I do have one. A big one! I spent years in my classroom hoping to inspire the next generation and I have a ton of memorabilia that I have collected.

If there is something going on anywhere near me I try to be there. Our closest friends are back in Huntsville and the company that he works for sponsored a moonwalker at the facilities in Huntsville on Thursday. We headed up Wednesday evening to visit them and attend.  I have actually seen four moonwalkers over the course of time and this would make number 5. It is the 45th anniversary of Apollo 17's landing, so Harrison Schmidt was in Huntsville. My friend got me into the presentation and even got me an autograph to go with my collection that will NOT end up on eBay until I am gone. We also got to tour his son's work location which was so cool to see him all grown up and doing some very cool work. Our kids grew up together and are best of friends.

We were going to come back to our cabin on Thursday and go to the lights at Calloway Gardens on Friday night.

All of this was subject to how things went with Jeff's brother. He had been in extreme pain the few days before we left. We honestly left worried that cancer had returned and was the culprit. He was scheduled for a procedure on Thursday morning, but insisted we go on for the trip.

We went to bed on Thursday night preparing to leave early Friday morning and return home instead of the trip to Calloway. He had been in the hospital and Jeff knew his sister needed help. Both of Jeff's siblings are older than him. Jeff was the accident baby. He is 14 and 12 years younger.

It all has turned out fine. Jeff's brother is doing much better. The procedure has ended up being successful. Biopsies have been taken, but the doctor feels hopeful that it is not the cancer returned. We would have some very cold temps and snow to contend with if we had stayed for the lights.

We got outside Huntsville and drove very slowly through snow to just north of Montgomery. The trip took way longer because we Southerners do NOT know how to deal with snow. Actually Jeff did an amazing job and I just enjoyed the show of being in a snow globe. I enjoyed the views immensely, but was happy to leave it in Alabama.

On the way home. Somewhere on I 65 near Birmingham.

Apparently, it snowed here overnight Saturday, but I missed it sleeping. It is very cold here. I am not going to complain as I said this summer nearly did me in with the humidity.

Hopefully, I will be back on my normal routine this week. I really need to do some shopping. Don't tell me if you have all yours done. I am way behind, but I will get there.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Home Tour 2017 Part 2

I am back with the remainder of the Christmas tour. The family room and kitchen are where we live most of the time.

Since I posted so quickly, if you missed Part 1, you can check it out here.

The Christmas tree is the star of any Christmas tour to me, and I love ALL Christmas trees. Big, small, white lights, colored lights, fancy, or simple. I just love the lights.





The ornaments are mostly collected over 33 years of marriage and few each from out childhood. The tree skirt was made my me way back in the 1980's.



I have it decorated all the way around so when you are standing on the deck of the bay window you can see a decorated tree as well. 

The shelves are decorated. Notice the afghan Mama made me:)


Some close-ups.


I am still wanting to mount the cardinals cross stitch onto a piece of wood or something, but the right thing has not come along yet. I will be patient and by next year maybe I will have something.

The cross stitch piece below is an ornament, but it has 2017 on it so I will put it on the tree next year.




Now, let's notice that the coffee table is bare and would look great with something Christmas on it...


Sweet little Gus who is will be six months old on December 8th has the idea that anything put on this table is for him to play with. Bare it stays for now.



Now onto the kitchen.

This counter rarely gets used, so it is my display area.


The kitchen table.


The candles are bayberry candles that I purchased from http://jennysteffens.blogspot.com . I love her little store. Great quality.


The kitchen island.



There were a few more things in the kitchen, but the lighting was not cooperating, so I left it at that.

One more picture. My favorite little ceramic tree that is really from the 1970's. I talked Mama out of it several years ago. It is sitting in my sewing room.


That is all folks. 

I have scaled it back as I get older. Nothing in the bedroom or downstairs. I will try and do an outside tour next week.

I am headed out of town for a few days, so I will be back next week with some year end reflections.

Merry Christmas all,
Sandy