Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Few Thoughts Today

This will most likely be the last post for 2019. I am soaking up these last few days of the year. I have been somewhere between knowing I need lots of physical rest and wanting to be busy busy busy around the house. What has transpired is a good bit of both!

After one of the months that I did the least amount of cross stitching for the year, I have been trying to make up for that the last couple of days. The evenings have been glorious with some stitching time. I have been working on the Quaker family registry each evening. I didn't think I would be able to do it at night due to the dark and subdued colors of the floss but I seem to have found my groove. I am off count of the border and think I know where it occurred - ARGH!

I have been in full on reflection mode as well as tidying mode. I have to say I don't have so much to declutter with the exception of that sentimental stuff I have spoken of before. I have hit some of the hot spots around the house and made a bag of things to take to Goodwill. The sentimental stuff is waiting on me downstairs and that is going to be a long slow process for 2020.

I spent half the day in the sewing room. I call it that it but it should be something like the --- "multipurpose room, the laundry room, the office,  work room, the catch all" --- you get the idea. Wow! No matter how hard I try to stay on top of it sometimes it just gets out of control. December was one of those times. It is now all clean, the desk is somewhat tidier, the counter is cleaned off, the ironing is done, and lists have been made to deal with soon.

So now it is time to talk about what worked in 2019 and plans for 2020.

Home Life

My cleaning routine that I came up with and tweaked this year has been quite effective. Doing a little each day is working for me at this stage of life. I still have some serious hot spots...namely my desk, the kitchen island, and my table next to the chair in the family room.

I am simply determined that I will conquer those areas this year! Not sure how but determined. If you lay one item down on that kitchen island it is over.

Stitching and Sewing

I did so much better the second half of the year reigning in that buying of patterns when I HAVE more than I can stitch. I got to the point I felt overwhelmed with it. I had made some poor purchases. I did feel better after I sold some on Ebay. 

With that said, this is the year of stitching with my stash. I really really am going to try and stay true to that. I have a list a mile long I want to stitch and have all the patterns to do so, so it is time to do just that. You heard it here!

I also want to do some crafty projects that I have in my project boxes and have put off for some time. It is time to bite the bullet and start them. I think it is about making a plan to do just a bit at a time.
After keeping Tucker this year, Jeff was quite good about giving me some time on Saturday mornings to just go BE in my "sewing room." I really think I should call it the "work room" like at school. I would like to maybe continue that.


I really am proud of myself this year. I made some huge changes there. I pulled those roses up. I gave away a lot of pots and scaled that down a lot. I love to grow things, but I need to have a doable amount and need to quit trying to do more than I can or fighting what grows in my area. 
I have been researching and having fun doing just that. 

My little garage pots are looking quite pretty for a late December day and all of it should survive the winter and move right into the spring.

Loving those white pansies this year. The key is lots of fertilizer!

And the ornamental mustard has taken off in the swans on the front porch.

Family Time

I am just counting my blessings here. I can't even begin to tell you the blessing of keeping Tucker this year. Yes, he disrupted my life, my free time, and the like---but oh what a blessing he has been.

I look forward to more of that.
I know that I have to devote a bit more time for Mother in the coming year, so Tucker will be soon going to some day care for some of the time. I will not get free time, but more time to see about her. I know that time is coming when that will take up a lot more time, but it is what it is. 

In this category, I have some goals mapped out for health and eating that fell off the cliff with keeping Tucker. They are going to be a top priority!

Faith Journey

Let's see...

Walking with and trusting in the Father is just that - a journey. I am so grateful for Him! I have no idea how people get through life without Him. 
I mentioned reading a book by Emily Ley towards the end of the year. I ended up reading all three of her books and they really spoke to me. The first one is a story, the second one is a how-to, and third one just really wowed me - a story and a how-to.

I want to watch my contentment level by being careful what I fill my mind with. Too much computer and Instagram, etc. can leave one feeling very discontented and edgy. I plan to do a little fast on everything except my blogs. I don't feel that way with them. In fact, the little blogs I read and spend the most time are filled with ladies who encourage me.

I like this quote form the above mentioned book.
" When we spend hours scrolling through photos and updates from friends on social media, we are foregoing the undistracted time with our thoughts and with our people that would happen if we just put our phones down." ___Emily Ley

I plan to keep blogging. Some noticed the header change. That was a total accident. I was playing around one night and well, I lost my other forever...gone into the dark hole. 
I will work on a new one. Not pleased with the one I have just yet. 

If you haven't noticed I have touched on the categories of the tag line for my blog. I am going to stay true to that in the coming year.

Almost to the end ---

I have a new planner. I always splurge on a planner. I am a paper girl and it keeps me in order. I know myself!!!
Anyway, this year I made a switch. I am just itching to use the new one. It is a different layout and the company is a local girl ---Emily Ley --- a Pensacola native.

Isn't it just the prettiest?!

I have no word for 2020 yet! Don't know if I will choose one. If it comes to me ---then I will have one.
Hubby and I are heading to the Auburn house tomorrow and staying a few days. I am so grateful for place to go for a change of pace. I know it will force me to rest. I look forward to stitching, reading, and resting. I hope to come back refreshed and ready for 2020. 

Does anyone else think 2020 sounds so "futurish"???

I am leaving you with the most precious picture from Christmas Day's picnic.

 See you in 2020,

Thursday, December 26, 2019

One More Short Christmas 2019 Post

This is a post for me to come back to next year at Christmas decorating time.

I am one that takes the tree and all the stuff down on the 26th. I grew up with keeping it up to New Year's. We had a real tree growing up and didn't even go out to get it until about the second week of December. It was cut from the woods or a local tree farm from 1st grade age until graduation.

I however wanted to clear it all out and get my house back in order before school started back and I still feel the need to get it all in order before the new year. 

As soon as I start taking it down I get a little sad that Christmas has come and that the year is almost over, but I get over it quickly as I work. Then it becomes a mad dash to get it all down and back to normal.

I am ready to rock and roll on the morning of the 26th.

A few thoughts on this year. I used only what I had but I did so many things different. I put many things in new places and swapped it all around. I probably should have done a house tour to remember it since I really liked it all.

That said...taking it all down today has made me think I might need to start thinking about doing less. I know the kids love it and really appreciate it, but I think I might need to scale down a bit. I think I might think about that next year. I have time to mull it over. 

It is all down and sitting in the front bedroom. Most of it is in boxes and ready to go into the closet, but I am taking a rest. I am slowly putting the house back in order. 

While I dearly love the traditional colors of Christmas I am feeling so peaceful with all my blues and greens coming back into play. I have pondered many times decorating for Christmas in a blue theme, but I never seem to do it. For the one thing I am not about to go spend a bunch of money to redo things at this point of my life, but I also don't think it would seem Christmasy to me. I think I am wired to think it should be red and green at this age.

However I did enjoy a number of Instagram images of different colors. The woodland greens, browns, and blues were the prettiest.

All of that to say I will be using what I have which is red and green from here on out.

I may not do as much next year.

Jeff scaled back in the yard a ton this year. He said he just didn't have the energy to put it all out and all was fine in the world.

I enjoyed our Christmas this year so much. I think I was mindful that all were here and Mother is here  because I have been around a good friend who is going through something hard with an illness in her family and then my brother-in-law with cancer. 
I was very mindful that I had many blessings. 

Today has been cleaning and looking at less because I don't do much decorating for winter.  A little will come out for Valentine's Day but nothing until then. The less is so nice!!!

I received a sweet snowman ornament from RJ at Stitching Friends before Christmas. I am going to leave him out in the kitchen for a while longer.

I don't think I liked January much in years past, however I kind of like it these days. IT is a new start and time in the house to just enjoy cleaning and puttering

Just some final thoughts to clear my head. Now it is time to start the thinking about what I loved about 2019 and what I want to work on in 2020.

At the top of the list for 2019 was keeping Tucker. Obviously!

Christmas 2019 Recap

We will start with the weekend before Christmas. I had said it felt like a mini tropical storm and I was right. A weather radar picture showed a big counterclockwise swirl coming in from the Gulf over the weekend. We rode out to the beach, but I didn't walk because it was really blowing. The picture doesn't show how high the surf was or how hard the wind was blowing.

I do hope to get some morning beach walks in before the year is over.

Next, we will document the tree of 2019.

On the floor in front is an attempt to wrap a fishing rod. I did finally manage it but got tired and just sat down this night to enjoy the peace and quiet. 

*I had seen on a video where a girl used red pillowcases to wrap unusually shaped items. I had some old red sheets with a size bed that we no longer have so I made several bags for things and a long narrow one for the fishing rod. I ended up having to widen that one a bit the next morning.

Now back to the weather. The storm messed up big plans at our church over the weekend....well, sort of.

You see our church had planned a two day (4 times to attend) family celebration that would involve lots of games, ice skating rink, and all kinds of stuff that would be family friendly. It was going to be outside but the storm moved it all inside. Believe it or not it all worked out.

Katie and Paul Allen brought Katie's little cousin with them. She lost her father (Katie's cousin) this year and she has stolen all our hearts, especially mine since I lost my dad at about the same age. I welcome her anytime she is around. They have really taken her under their wing and she loves them immensely.

Here they are with Santa at church.

And then ice skating.
The ice skating rink was a flat surface that looked like those things you put in the bottom of a lunch bag that you freeze. They put them together like puzzle pieces and spray them with something.

Lindsay and Tyler spent the weekend in West Palm Beach with Tyler's brother's family. His brother and wife just had a baby at Thanksgiving so Tyler's parents went down and they had their Christmas there.

Another picture taken of Tucker down there. He is adorable!

Christmas Eve started with me making three pies. Two for our family dinner and one for Jeff's bother.
He did come to our family celebration. I was so worried he wouldn't come, but he did. I wanted to get a picture of Jeff with his brother and sister and I just completely forgot.

Two lemon icebox and one chocolate meringue which I will share later because it is soooo good.

The table all set. I had to set it and the kitchen table this year.

Tradition to use these dishes for Christmas dinner.

Presents were passed out. IT seemed like a lot, but they were mostly in big boxes. I actually spent less this year which was my goal.

A few scenes from the present opening time.

Paul Allen

You can tell Mother felt bad. She hasn't felt good the past few days.

Lindsay took most of the pictures and missed Tyler in all of it. I feel terrible. I was quite a poor photographer this year. 

There was some discussion of how it came to be that we open presents on Christmas Eve. IT was determined that with the Palmer family it began with Jeff being so much younger than his bother and sister. They had already moved way past Santa and just opened on Christmas Eve. He got a few Santa presents but he was by himself at that age. His brother and sister were already out on their own and came over for Christmas Eve.

I can tell you being an only child I begged out of that of Christmas morning thing quite early.
So it is tradition to open on Christmas Eve and pretty much always has been except for a couple of things from Santa in the Santa believing years.

Tucker with Lemony...

The customary pics in front of the tree at the end.

Tucker held on well... Too much activity to sleep.

Christmas Day found us doing something new...a picnic. The weather was wonderful and we traveled to the park by boat.

Two movies were seen this week.

Jeff and I also went to see Star Wars on the night of the 23rd. Made this mama very happy. I am a huge fan.

His choice was the Richard Jewel movie so that is what we saw Christmas Day afternoon. It was so very good. Clint Eastwood knows how to tell a story. I definitely recommend seeing it.

Christmas Day evening was spent just soaking up the last of the Christmas tree lights and relaxing and being ever so thankful for Jesus in my life.

Merry Christmas and time to think about what 2020 will bring. I will be back later with some of those end of the year thoughts and forward thinking.

Oh and the blogging commenting thing has struck me as well. For now I will do the same thing I did last year at this time...I have downloaded Firefox so that I can comment on your blogs. I hope to catch up reading this week and hopefully Safari and Google problems will figure out a solution like last time. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ho Ho Ho

The days are short and I am counting down to the 21st when we can officially start the count to longer days. I do not like to count days but I like a little more light in the evenings. I captured my foyer the other night. I go out this door morning and night to let the dogs out before the garage is opened up for the day. Mostly it is because it a quicker route from the bedroom. I am just loving the addition to the mirror this year. Why had I not done this before?

No presents under the tree, but many are wrapped. Gus loves tearing up boxes so I don't dare leave them under the tree. I thought he would be over all that by now, but he has torn up one ornament. It was a heavy one and fell to the ground. Fortunately it wasn't one I was real attached to.

The presents are atop the pool table.

This sweet stitch by Meg replaced the broke one. I like it lots better!

Tucker saw Santa at Bass Pro.

As you can see he was very unimpressed.

So the parents were told by the elves to jump in.

The Christmas cactus is showing off.

I have about three more things to buy. I didn't go out other than to church this weekend. I tweaked my back and decided I needed a weekend of slowing down and rest. IT helped. 

I hope to finish before the weekend so that it is just staying home and relaxing for the remainder of the time. The family with the exception of the son-in-law will be off starting Friday since they all work for the school system. I know Lindsay is looking forward to her time with Tucker.

I have only worked on my family sampler and not much on that. I hope to get some stitching time in too very soon.

It is fairly quiet around here and I consider that good. Just trying to soak up some rest if possible with the early evenings.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Midweek Pop In

I am sharing the stockings that inspired mine. Our sweet friends Cindy and Mike have hosted our church small group the second year for a Christmas dinner. Cindy does a Christmas house extraordinaire. It is pretty and quite a sight to behold. 

Without further adieu here is the mantle filled with stockings that sparked Jeff to think we needed something similar and then couple that with Paul Allen's shock that I would not want stockings hanging started this whole quest for some this past summer.

Here is the backside to the fireplace. The side you are looking at is in the living room and the other side is what you see in their large foyer. The home has a sweeping staircase near that side.

Here is one more picture. Every corner has Christmas on it.

I know I should have taken more pictures. She has an entire lighted Christmas village. 

Onto my coffee table which looks different multiple times a day with Tucker and Gus. I mentioned to Barbara from Sweet Tea and Sandals about a Santa praying over Jesus the other day. I ended up pulling him out for Tucker to look at. He hasn't tried to mess it up, but he loves my Christmas carol pillows PLUS the fact that the coffee table is sort of his staging ground for playing so at any given time there is an abundance of things on here or nothing at all. That could be why there is no Christmas home tour this year.

His little hand caught in the picture.
The Santa was something my mother-in-law had. She always had it out and I remember my own kids looking at it and so I kept it. I haven't pulled it out in several years. I think it is time to start using it again.

Oh my goodness, did I ever get some happy mail this week!!!!!!!! Meg from Live to Stitch sent me this AHMAZING stitched ornament  called "Blue Christmas House" designed by her. I mean could it be any more perfect. I think not!
Meg, I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 It found its home on my tree.

This is such confirmation about blogging! I have met so many of you online and although I don't see you everyday like my friends of everyday you mean so much to me. I love my here and present friends but none stitch or love all of the things I do. I would be lost without y'all. 

I wish y'all could see my little Tucker right now. He is sliding a pot he pulled out of the cabinet on the floor and just talking baby talk like crazy. I don't know if he would be better in a day care with other kids or not, but he has made my year. 
I get tired - yes - but, he is so much entertainment.
I have been so blessed to watch him.

I will be back later in the week with a quick stitch finish. I am doing one for Mother to use as a gift. 

Until then another little snippet of home. I had been putting my real vintage tree in the sewing room, but this year it is finding its home in the kitchen where it is lit each evening and today because it is cloudy.


Monday, December 9, 2019

A Little Bit of Everything

I have read all of your comments but I must say I have not been very good about responding. Last week most of those posts were written ahead of time and scheduled, otherwise I would have never gotten that many out in one week. Last week was such a busy week. I think I had somewhere to go for someone else everyday. Even Tucker got tired of not being home. We survived and this week should be a wee bit easier. 

I have been stitching but not nearly as much. I had all these Christmas plans but it just wasn't working so I pulled out something I was going to work on in January. Catherine at I Love to Stitch  gifted me a Quaker Family Registry sampler. My intention is to use the called for colors but make it a personal sampler to go on my wall in the Auburn house. I have the border all done and have started with the flowers. 

I can only stitch in the day on this one right now as the linen is dark as well as the colors and December is just not my fave month with no light so early. Does anyone else want to go to sleep at 6:00? If Christmas wasn't in December I have no idea how I would survive without light. I am a creature who craves sunlight. I actually like winter in some ways because it makes us slow down, but I need more light.

At night, when I am not running around shopping, wrapping gifts, or reading I have stitched on some Christmas ornaments. 

I am in that mode where as I am doing my daily cleaning chores I have to resist moving into my January cleaning out deeply. Seriously, December is not the month for that, but I am ready.

I have read so many inspiring books lately. I ended up reading all three of Emily Ley's books and they have me revved up for 2020.
More on that in just a bit.

I am not doing a Christmas house tour this year, because for the most part nothing is new. I have all the same old stuff out. I will say I have moved some things around so the only pics will be of something different and they will be interspersed in just life posts.

I did put some pine garland and ribbon on the foyer mirror. I have never done that before. It was in my Christmas bins, so nothing new bought.

Across from that my Christmas cactus is starting to really show off.

Not only have I been trying to skip to January's activities when I don't have my Christmas shopping done yet, I have been so reflective lately. I am that by nature, but generally that comes a bit later in the year as well where I think about what worked and what didn't. I always try to improve myself. I always loved that I got two times a year to do this when teaching.... January because it is just the so called beginning of a year, but also summer when I was rethinking the school year. I still sort of find myself thinking new year then as well, but January has definitely stepped up its game in that department.

I noticed that my blog post numbers were way down this year and if I am totally honest I started 2019 thinking I would end the blog in March on my 5th year anniversary. That didn't happen! This year I am thinking I will go to I get a more definitive answer from the Lord to quit. I enjoy the process of writing and documenting the stitching and the housework, but I enjoy reading others as much as anything. 
I don't enjoy other forms of social media. I have never had a Facebook and most likely NEVER will. I try to like Instagram, but it is not the same as a blog.

All that to say, I will be here for now and that feeling has passed.

Onto a lighter subject...
Night view.

Day view.

Lindsay was worried I needed help wrapping presents, but they are all on top of the pool table. Gus, the Springer and wrapped boxes are not a good combination. 


I gathered the remainder of them. I have shared with family and neighbors. I have squeezed and frozen some and now I have a bowl to use for December. I think we gathered nearly 70. 

The weather is perfect today. Typical north Florida weather. Short sleeves one day and long the next. I am not complaining as long as their is sunshine!

That is it for now...
Be back later in the week.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Stockings are hung...

Thanksgiving has finally been documented so now let's move on to Christmas. Nothing new was added except the Christmas stockings this year. Some things have moved around and even one new idea but all with stuff I dug out of the Christmas closet.
I honestly haven't even been to any stores to look at stuff, but I decided a while back I had more than enough stuff and I wasn't going to keep buying just to be buying. 

With that said, I have seen lots on Instagram to drool over.

You may remember that I stitched them back over the summer after the menfolk in my life didn't like the idea of no stockings. 

Here they are with a no mantle approach.

We don't have a mantle so they are hooked on to the fire screen.  Jeff even went out to the garage and found some of the chain from rehanging the light in the kitchen that was a close match to the color on the screen. He took some of that and made custom hooks. They look perfect!

As you can see the tartan ribbon won out this year. The closest contender was the brown like above the picture. More about that in a minute. I think even a Christmas green would look good. I didn't have any, so tartan for the win!

Some closeups as requested.

We have two T's, so Tucker's got a little dog added all from the same pattern book.

You may have noticed the garland above the palm tree picture. That was new this year, but I had it all. I also moved around some of the things that I put out on the shelves this year. I made quite a few changes, but again with all the tried and true long time things of Christmas I love were used.

A wee bit of TV for Tucker. We don't leave it on all day because I like peace and quiet and yes those are my arm weights on the hearth. Keeping it real...I didn't even THINK about moving them.

I will share more throughout the month like I did fall. 

In other news, I have loved my new potted outside plants this year. They are doing quite well. I need to document what works and what doesn't so here we go.

We have dianthus and dusty miller in a three  of the five along the wall. I will say that I have been heavily feeding all of these pots after listening to James T Farmer's Instagram stories. I have learned so much from him. He does a story every Friday that he is not traveling and he is a wealth of information.

Note these were all taken before Thanksgiving and with the heavy feeding are growing still and blooming more. I also try to deadhead daily.

The other two pots have some foxtail fern, lamb's ear (which I am loving), violas, and pansies. I had almost given up on pansies, but the white ones kind of caught my eye and then remembering some things I had learned from the Instagram stories about them needing lots of fertilizer, I went for it again. The white ones are really popping from the drive and I am loving them this year.

That is has been such a busy week of errands. When I get bent out of shape about the many errands I try to remember just a few years ago I would have been trying to do all of them while rushing out the door schoolhouse door at 3:30 finished or not and getting it all done. I really can't complain that it interferes with house chores or stitching or walking or well really anything. Watching Lindsay try to do it all reminds me quickly that I am blessed to be able to help her. 

Working hard to keep that positive attitude. 

Anyone else enjoying Christmas music. Pandora has a station that I have just loved. They play two traditional Christmas carol/hymns, then an instrumental, and one fun. A perfect combination for this lady.