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.


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,

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,

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.


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.

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Little Bit of Everything

I finished the Santa ornament last night. I really have no clue how I am going to fully finish it. I have that and my Home of Needleworker to do. Maybe this weekend???!!!

I have another ornament that is halfway done that I will work on next to finish.

Lemony is so much better. I can not say really for sure what happened to her, but she has the longest reach E-V-E-R. We had salads the Tuesday evening and we placed our leftover stuff in the middle sink where the disposal is. I had also placed the skillet that I sautéed some chicken in. She is well-known for waiting until I turn my back and then stretching out her neck over into the sink and cleaning it out. I didn't clean the kitchen up immediately which I usually do and even if I walk away I watch what I leave in the sink because of her. I just got distracted and she cleaned off the skillet and ate the leftover greens, carrots, etc. The culprit though was a few grapes. My husband didn't eat his grapes. I don't think she had more than 4 and they were small and organic. IF it wasn't that, then I have no clue.

I knew the next morning she wasn't well, because she left half her kibbles in her bowl. She is a gobbler and eats everything you give her. Then a little while later she came to me and upchucked. That led to vomiting for most of Wednesday morning. I called my most wonderful vet and got her some medicines.

This morning she came back to life, but most all day yesterday, she was mopey and wouldn't even drink water. I was very worried about the grapes. They are on the NO NO list for pups.

She is all good now though.

Sweet girl doesn't like the camera, but she is all happy again.

Gus was very unhappy with all the attention she was getting and tore up one of my baskets in the living room that I keep on the bottom shelf of the coffee table while I took Mom to the doctor yesterday morning. He also wee weed in the house.

He did have a big evening last night. The twins, our niece's kids are visiting form Houston. Katelyn fell in love with him at Thanksgiving and couldn't wait to see him again. He got a full workout from her.

Now onto Mother, she advanced to a cane yesterday. I went to get her to go to the doctor and she said she just felt like she could do it. I will take that. The doctor said it was doing well and she should heal well. Now, we just need to keep her sinuses clear and get her to eat. She lost about 5 more pounds in all of this on a already small frame.

I remembered why I didn't do petunias as they were doing awful in the heat. Not to be outdone, I decided to research what to do since they had been so pretty. I have been deadheading them all wrong. I also learned that you can prune them. I did that yesterday afternoon, so I will keep you posted on if all this works. I also have to water twice a day at this point and that isn't just petunias. It is just Florida.

Summer is here. It is already hot hot hot. I am going to enjoy summer though. As I get older I don't long for the days to pass too quickly. I have a couple more busy busy weeks leading up to my trip to Haiti, but when I return I hope to slow down and enjoy the long days. I want to use that paddle board while I am still young enough to navigate it around the bayou.

I think that is enough for now. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Stitching Update

I am plugging along when I can on my Santa.

The pictures are a little dark as I took them last night. I have some outlining, antlers, nose, and some French knots in a few places. I plan to redo his face. I used the suggested colors but it is so orangey. Other than the Santa, the colors are muted in this piece, so I think I am going to tone down the face.

My sweet friend Arlene from Nanaland sent me this wonderful bag to corral my supplies. I was so excited to open my package and find this. She purchased it on Etsy. I LOVE it!!!!

It also holds your loose threads.

Another busy day. Mother has an early orthopedic appointment and Lemony, the Golden is sick. She started throwing up yesterday and isn't eating or drinking. I called the vet and got some nausea medicine yesterday, but she is going in to see him today. My girl needs to be ok.

Better days are coming,

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Rocks

This past Friday and Saturday we headed to Dadeville one last time (well, hopefully) to clean out the cabin. We have a buyer ---in fact a family friend from my hometown that I grew up with. Everything is headed in a forward direction with a closing date set while I am on my mission trip. We all know that so it the goal to get it done before I head out in July.

The inspection has been done and agreed upon. Now it is just paperwork in the lawyer's hands.

It was bittersweet as I knew it would be. The decision is made. I am at peace about it. Jeff is at peace about it, but still it was a little harder to close that door for the last time and pull out of the driveway.

We have made so many wonderful memories, but new ones are to come.

As I closed the door and glanced back in at the empty cabin, uncontrollable tears welled up in my eyes. I turned around and Paul Allen caught me.

Then he reminded us of how we had collected all the rocks from the woods around the cabin to line the driveway and beds around the house. Every visit for a very long time we would all gather a rock to add to the line. It is very rocky in that area of Alabama.

There were a few gaps, but we lined both sides.

Change is in the air. I know it is time. Good memories.

Paul Allen and Jeff drove into Dadeville and bought a t-shirt from Floyd's Hardware, a wonderful old store just off the square. I meant to stop at the Lake Martin Mercantile to maybe gather a souvenir. I didn't stop. I was just too tired and too many things to do. I am supposing I will frame a picture of us at the cabin for the new place AND

both the boys agreed I take the Serenity sign to the new place.

I am guessing this is the last post tagged cabin.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Let's Talk Kitchens: New and Old

As promised, I intend to focus on something other than my troubles. Life with both the good and the bad is going on, so the blog's focus is on something lighter ---although trust me...real life is going on. (think: doctor visit yesterday with mother for a severe sinus infection followed by me falling asleep on the couch VERY early last night)

Now about kitchens.

I have not been so excited about kitchen pictures in magazines in a very long time. Let me preface this with I think EVERYONE should be entitled to their opinions of what they like and I have NEVER been a fan of cookie cutter anything. I love PERSONAL style.

This is not a post about dissing white kitchens.

Lately though, there has been no variety in the kitchen department. I mean variety is the spice of life😊 or so it is said.

All kitchens are white these days. My mother painted hers white before she moved down here a few years ago and was so happy. Her biggest disappointment in her new home was that it didn't have white cabinets. She loved everything about it but that.

I can appreciate white cabinets. One of my favorite kitchens period, white or not, is Jenny Steffins Hobick's. Below you will see her kitchen. I think what makes me love the white here is it is warmed up by the wood floor.

We are home shopping for a second home in our college Alma Mater's town. In fact we made an offer last night. More about that on another day. OF course, the kitchen is white.

Looking at all these homes made me decide to take a stroll down memory lane to what I love in a kitchen.

Does anyone else make a folder of ideas? I started my folders in college and still have many pictures from magazines from the early 80's and forward. I still love to hold the magazine in my hand, so it is one of my weaknesses although I have really curbed it lately.

I now have a folder on my computer for the things I see on blogs and Instagram.

Warning: as we stroll through my memories and magazine clippings... the photos you are about to see are all just from my stash of clippings taken with my phone.
No special touches here...

I adored this kitchen and it was the guide for our kitchen when we built a home back in 1986. I just swapped out green for my very favorite color of all time...NAVY BLUE. This is the home we lived in from 1986 until 2003 when we moved to our present home.

This began my love of wood grain. 
I wish I had lots of earlier pictures of my navy blue kitchen before it hit the early 90's and became a cluttered mess. What were we thinking with all that country stuff everywhere?!!!

I remember when we were building it and I told people I was going to have navy blue counters people questioned it. It turned out perfect and I LOVED it. Afterwards, it received lots of compliments. I also am probably still the only woman in America who loves those honey oak cabinets, but I do. It is all about the coordinating colors with them.

Here are more of that navy loveliness and the clutter.

Here is one pre kids with a little less clutter. The dog is my first child, Sally.

There was also a cool pantry and the kitchen area opened to my dining area with beautiful glass pocket doors.

Lindsay stayed in the pantry. She unloaded it almost daily and taught her little brother to do the same. 

Now, let's see some more clippings that inspired my kitchen. The next three were a Southern Living magazine kitchen that I loved. You can see it heavily inspired me.

Can't you see how I loved the wallpaper and kitchen cabinet choice?

I also adored the hutch and the brick wall. I had a brick floor in my kitchen and so loved it.

Here is another kitchen that inspired my clutter days. I simply couldn't live in that now. That is one time I should not have followed trends although I can look at it and like it from afar. This kitchen was clipped from A Country Woman magazine.

Shortly before we moved in 2003, I had taken the wallpaper down, and painted the kitchen. I took no pictures of it which really saddens me because it was some of my best work ever. Life was going on though at that time too... we lost Jeff's mother right after I did all of that and moved into our current home. It helped sell it I think.

When we moved into our present home in 2003, I was still inspired by the love of country, so this clipping captured my thoughts.

My current cabinets were custom built and are the most beautiful solid oak with lots of wood grain. I wasn't too crazy about the white counters until I saw this picture. I thought ok..

I adore my cabinets although they are 34 years old and on the drawers and a couple of the doors they are showing age. My husband has been slowly retaining and refinishing the messy drawers and doors. He is doing a phenomenal job, so I am excited for him to finish them.

Here you can see what I am talking about...the top drawer he has redone, the next one is in need of it.

I hope you enjoyed the stroll through 80's and 90's kitchens. I have tons more clippings old and new:)

I know I have certainly toned down the clutter, but I still love all of the wood grain in all of those old clippings.

Off to get started on a very busy day,

Monday, June 18, 2018

Family Time

I have been so busy with Mom that I really didn't do justice to the rest of life that went on the past couple of weeks. June is a busy month without having had Mama fall and the rehab stay.

When I was still teaching I no sooner got out of work than I was baking cakes and having two birthdays to celebrate. I often felt like once I got the birthdays behind me then it was time to rest. You know when kids are little there are sleepovers and all that to go with birthdays, so it was really my "YES, now I can do summer moment" when I celebrated Paul Allen's birthday.

Mother was still in rehab when Jeff and Paul Allen's birthdays rolled around. My kids stepped up to the plate to make it all happen. For Jeff's birthday which comes first, Paul Allen cooked at his house. He did a Low Boil and Lindsay made my homemade ice cream recipe and homemade chocolate syrup that was WAY better than mine. I was quite proud of them. We checked Mother out of rehab that day as she was beginning to go stir crazy about that time.

Paul Allen had all kinds of activities set up in his backyard. Cornhole, volleyball, etc...AND IT RAINED CATS AND DOGS!!! We managed it all anyway and had a great family time. Like I said, I was so proud of my kids. I couldn't have pulled it off better myself. I took only one picture. I was a bit frazzled after 2 weeks of hospital and rehab visits.

I will pass on it since it wasn't all that good. Jeff didn't want presents...instead he asked for a fishing trip from Tyler. Also Jeff, Paul Allen, and Tyler played golf for one of the schools. The other gentlemen is one of our best friends.

Jeff, Tyler, Paul Allen, and friend Bob

Paul Allen and Tyler in the Gulf.

Both of these events took place the two days before the birthdays began. 

Two days later is Paul Allen's birthday. By that time, I had Mother at my house. Lindsay and Tyler didn't come as they had just come in and Tyler is working some late hours on the condo on 30A.

We had a fish dinner with Katie joining us. 

It was a crazy birthday year... no candles on banana pudding that he requested. My candle had burned out.
She had helped Jeff pick out the birthday present. We got Paul Allen two fishing kayaks. He and Katie are outdoorsy for sure. They love to do anything outdoors. I have no doubt they will use these a ton. According to Jeff, two people can't fish together on a kayak that seats two as their lines will get tangled. I just go along with most whatever he says.

Here they are trying them out after supper.

And of course, Gus had to jump in and help.

That rounded up the birthdays that I felt a bit guilty over. I didn't bake the normal cakes, but Lindsay came through on the ice cream and I make a mean banana pudding!

I do hope after I return from my mission trip in July to make a cake for both of them and make it up to them.

There is much more to share about family life, but I will stop with my recording of the birthdays.
57...I always say Jeff catches me for three months and my baby turned 26.

I will try and catch up on this past weekend soon.