Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Random Assortment of Stuff

This is one of those random assortment posts of everything in my brain. A brain dump - you might say.

First up is my progress on the mockingbird. I am steadily plodding along. I am purposely leaving the beak until last. I feel like the bird is the star of the show and should be finished last. There is a good bit to do underneath the bird similar to the top.

I am still working on my Advent calendar to be completed for Christmas 2020. I have #2 done and really almost done with #3. I am very excited about this calendar. I think it can be made to be something fun for grandkids.

I read a good book. I often read 2 and 3 books at the same time. I have always done this....nothing new for me. I got this book Thursday or Friday and finished it on Saturday - well let's say early Sunday morning. I had a heartache on Saturday and had to take Excedrin. Kiss of death for sleep, but necessary for headache. I gave up, got up and finished my book.

Richella has blogged at Imparting Grace (in my sidebar) for many years. She has a beautiful home and I have followed along for many years. She hasn't blogged a ton in the recent months as this book has been in the works. I don't often tell you guys about the books I read BECAUSE as I have said many many times before--- my taste in books is eclectic and I might sway you, but this one is worth mentioning.

Richella tackles the problem of comparison that really most of us deal with to some degree. Given today's bombardment with social media it heightens it all the more, but it is a Satan trap that has been around forever. 

I have read other books through Bible studies and just on my own. This one is different. I sent Richella a note that said I thought God has given her "her" story to write this book. The thing that makes it different from all the rest is that I think she gives very practical Godly solutions to help with it AND I think those practical solutions are realistic and doable things.

So yea, this is one is worth reading. It is on Amazon. I like the cover...it is a mirror.
I think this would make a great Bible study. It reads very easily and flowing- hence I read it quickly, but now I am going back to all the pages I dog-eared and looking through the study questions at the end of each chapter.

Now, onto something Jeff came home and shared the other day. He had a workshop for educators and he shared some interesting tidbits from it with me. It was the kind of thing I would love if I were still teaching. I don't know who the presenter was or where the information came from since I just listened about the info. Sorry, I know it came all footnoted.

I think you will enjoy reading some of it as well.

Statistics about phone usage.
People look at their phone up to 110 times a day.
Up to every 6 seconds in the evening.
Overall, 9 times an hour.
Peak time for use is between 5 and 8 PM (homework and family time??)
24% are checking it between 3and 5 AM

This was a slide from the presentation.
The captions says "The Swipe and Feed."

I found this photo on the Internet. Basically, it lets you work on your phone while feeding.

Photo Credit: https://www.swipeandfeed.com/media

Seriously!? I think we might need to put it down to cuddle.

Comparison of phone usage from 2000 to 2013 (probably even worse)
In 2000, people spent 2.7 hours online per week compared to 2013's 30 hours per week online.
In 2000, there were one million Google searches daily, compared to 2013's 4.7 billion daily Google searches.
2000 - 34 billions text messages sent daily. 2013 - 188 billion text messages sent daily.
2000- 0 apps downloaded. 2013 -25 billion apps downloaded.
There are tons more about Youtube views, Facebook, Twitter, etc. 
You get the picture!!!

68% of people said they lost track of time with devices.
28% extended restroom visits at work to look at devices.
75% check phone while someone is talking to them.
53% respond to messages while driving.

He went on to talk about attention spans are diminishing with the use. I don't even think you have to ask a teacher to know this is true!

Food for thought!
It has made me lay mine down more, and I will be purposeful about laying it down more.

I am heading to Auburn for the weekend. When we had the cabin at the lake, we had very little cell phone coverage out there. It made me unplug. We have plenty in Auburn, but I on many occasions try to continue to lay it down and really relax. This weekend will be one of those times, so if I don't respond to a blog post that will be the case. 

I will say keeping Tucker has been good for just that as well.
 I don't like being on devices when he is up, so that has kept me usage down. I am writing this while he is napping, but honestly most days I rest too while he is napping. I ain't a spring chicken any more!

I most likely will not post until next week, so until then may you be blessed.

Monday, October 28, 2019

A Fall Stitching Pillow

I put a final finish on the fall stitch. I couldn't love it more! I was waffling between a pillow and a flat fold, but at the last minute I went with the pillow. I am so pleased with it which is highly unusual for me. I tend to find all the faults with my finishes.

It will go out on display on Friday. It is backed with the fall leaves pattern from my hoarding of fabric days. I have a ton of this fabric and really can't even remember why I bought so much of it, but it worked well for this project. I made the cording out of 4 colors (DMC 921, 918, 680, and 742). I came to put these colors together when I was trying to recreate Gentle Arts Autumn Leaves that is in the border. That color is shown here.

Now, there is no way I would use the fancy floss for cording as they are pricey, so I went to the color conversion charts and it said it was a mix of 918 and 680 and while those looked good together I felt it needed a bit more. I had so many colors out when I changed up this pattern that I threw two others in there and they sat on my table for a week. The final cording was a mix of all four. I used 7 strands so it was rather thick. The only color that didn't get used twice was the 742. This is the brightest yellow. You can see them below altogether from my picture last week of them just sitting in planning stage. I think the yellow color was needed to match the Autumn Leave even in that small amount. It added the pop.

Here is laying in my basket so that you can see it a bit closer.

I took these after dark so most are not very clear.

I hope to be back this week with a book review and just other stuff, but I wanted to detail the pillow before I let it get by me.

I have been working diligently on my Advent calendar numbers and mockingbird, so I will share those this week as well.

Have a great day,

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Stitching Finish

I completed the fall stitch. It will be my only fall stitch this year. I wanted to do a Tom Turkey one, but I have lost motivation, so he will come out some time next year to be done in time for that Thanksgiving.

This was supposed to be Bittersweet September by Blackbird Designs. The only thing that resembles that pattern is the border and the right side of flowers with bittersweet. However, I think it screams November here in my world or at least the south Alabama world that I grew up in.

I kind of lost my way on this piece which harkens the question, what drew me to the pattern to being with??? I would say the colors, but then I changed the house to something else. I would have to say the colors of the border. I did discover a floss color to add to my favorites. That would the The Gentle Arts Autumn Leaves. It is so pretty!

I used a Plum Street Sampler pattern to add the pumpkin and acorn side.

I also made many many color changes; so many that I couldn't even tell you all of them. I just went to my floss boxes and picked out things that spoke to me. Some were DMC and some other fancy flosses.

I will try and fully finish it later in this week and also get to my Christmas pieces that are waiting on me.

I feel better having finished it because for some reason it was kind of stressing me. Stitching is my relaxing thing...not stressful thing. There are plenty of stressors without adding to it.
I will add that I like how it turned out, so all was worth it.

It is on to my mockingbird and Christmas Advent numbers.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Tucker is 1

A year has come and gone with little Tucker, so let's document his birthday. His actual birthday was on Thursday, but the party was Saturday.

Warning: grandson picture overload!

Lindsay sent this early Saturday morning. He is clapping. He seems to like to do that these days.

Lindsay made his banner. I told her she needs to save it for the many more to come.
She was a bit disappointed in the cake, but I reminded her he would not know and the cakes they remembered most were the ones where we just baked a sheet cake and added store bought decorations that they had picked out.

I think she settled a bit. 
The theme was a hole in 1 birthday party.

I baked a pound cake to go along with the store-bought cake. I also brought home made whipped cream and strawberries.

The weather turned out to be just right. We got much needed rain from Tropical Storm Nestor and she moved rapidly which is just the way you want them to do.

By the party time, all was clear and we were able to eat outside. 

Tyler's parents and cousin were able to come down, so it was an all around family affair.
I missed this picture, but Lindsay posted it on Instagram, so I quickly saved it.

The presents being opened.

He started out in Daddy's lap, but quickly retired to the floor to play with the many trucks he received AND the many toy golf sets. 

I guess the moral of the story there is be careful on your party themes.

It was a great evening and Tucker seemed to enjoy being the center of attention.

These were taken on his actual birthday.

I always take Tucker to meet Lindsay for lunch one day a week, so we made it on Thursday.

Awakened to a muffin and candle.

I am still working on my three projects, but let's talk about Bittersweet September.
It is the small that is deceptively small. In other words, there are a lot of stitches in this baby.

Progress is being made on the mockingbird as well.

Just when I think I am writing off Southern Living and not going to get it anymore, this issue comes in. I just looked over it today. I know of two recipes I want to try. Hmmm...it has been awhile since I have said that.
Looks like a good one.

That is it for now. 

So much to be grateful and yet so much to pray for as well.
Take care friends,

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ordinary Days

The pictures give you a glimpse of daily life around here. Nothing to special, but the ordinary days are truly the best days.

Walks with Tucker. 
Gus, the Springer had been outside and had gone and jumped in the water when I told him not to so he got locked up on the back deck to dry. Lemony, the Golden was rewarded for not getting in the water and went on a walk with us. She was very good as usual. Stayed right out front and led the way. 

Tucker is moving and grooving these days. He was quite proud of himself for pulling up to the bookcase. This was the beginning of pulling and cruising the furniture to get where he needs to go even faster. 

He was like, "Look at me, Grammie!"

That face!!!
Grammie is smitten but on her toes keeping him out of stuff.

It rained yesterday. It hasn't rained since August at our house. Two times last week, it sprinkled for all of 10 seconds each and just like that --it quit. Yesterday's rain was a wonderful slow and steady rain. A good rain.

I finally planted some flowers this weekend in the garage wall pots. They had geraniums that were basically sticks left from hot baking sun in the 90s since forever. Next year it is back to lilies of the Nile and grasses for just green color in the summer. 

The pots got some pansies in two of them and some dusty miller and dianthus in the other two. They are more Christmas colors than fall, but just happy to see something in them at all.
I can't say I do much for fall outside anymore. When the kids were younger we would go pick out some pumpkins about a week before Halloween and carve one of them. I don't go to the trouble anymore. Mums just don't well here, so I absolutely love seeing them in pictures from others though. 

It is still warm. I put on some pants for a baby shower on Saturday and nearly died. It has cooled in the mornings some and not sweating so much for the early walks. I think the worst of the heat is slowly dying and that is all I need. No cold --- just not oppressive heat and humidity.

I am stitching away on the three things I shared last week. I didn't get #2 on the Advent calendar finished. I started it on Sunday which is my plan each week, but I should have some time to stitch later in the week to finish it.

I am plodding along with the other two kind of dividing the time equally between the two. You would think the fall stitch would be a quickie, but that border has taken some time. It calls for filling in the middle of those diamonds with a darker color, but I am thinking I will do some satin stitches there. Just haven't decided on the color yet. After all, I am butchering this pattern, so why not change something else?

As you can now probably tell, my bird is a mockingbird. I am really enjoying him.

Tucker will turn 1 this week.
Last week was the anniversary of Hurricane Michael. I saw on the news in Bay County alone, they have collected what has been 36 years of debris. They took it mostly to parks to begin with and have about 10% more to deal with. That is staggering to think about.
It is still quite a mess over there in so many ways. It was truly devastating to the not only the people, but the environment.

I took this yesterday morning when I got up. I think about how many trees this size were broken in half by that storm. It is still so hard to think about how scared I was a year ago. Lindsay being 9 months pregnant and that ferocious storm headed right at us. Even though they kept saying it was going to turn a little east, one little wobble could have it sitting on us. I still have a hard time thinking about it.

Well, that is all I have for now.
Grateful in so many ways,

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Stitching and More

I am finally getting around to the stitching update, but we will talk about more than stitching.

I have been a bit distracted where stitching is concerned. I think sometimes there are just too many choices and that kind of got me to where I am. I just had to take a step back and do some thinking and focusing on what Sandy really wanted to stitch. The end result was I had a lot of things I wanted to stitch, but I also had a lot I didn't.

I want go into all that, but some of the fall things will just have to wait until next year, especially the Thanksgiving ones.

I am going to plug along on Bittersweet September by Blackbird Designs but it is going to be different than the pattern. I think the colors ware what drew me to the pattern, but I am changing it as I go. I plan to finish it this fall, but it may only get a week or two of display time before Thanksgiving. We will see how the changes take shape as I go.

For now, here is where I am...

The house looks light, but I think it will work.

I am not very far, because while at Auburn I just HAD to start this...

My photos are so dark...the light is fading fast these evenings.

I am not going to show you a pattern picture just yet. IT is coming and I am hoping to complete this one by November 1st.

Then I decided I needed to maybe do an Advent number a week if I was going to get this finished by next Christmas and have it done up in some form for Tucker and family.
The first one is done. I am doing them on a sparkly white that I have done some Christmas ornaments on before. I ordered some more of this and really think it will be perfect.

Doesn't look sparkly in the picture, but is is...promise:)

I never showed you where I hung the "cotton" stitch. I ended up putting it in the Auburn house living room. I had a Blackbird Designs sampler there.

I don't think I ever made a picture of the sampler in the place above, but anyway it hung where the cotton is now.

The sampler moved to the downstairs bedroom which I plan to make a gallery wall of my stitching.

I loved both in their new home.

I cleaned out a closet this week in my quest to survive the long hot summer. I got rid of shoes. Too many shoes. I had cleared out lots of clothes after retiring, but never addressed the many shoes I no longer wear. So yes, I am still trying to make lemonade out of lemons. It hasn't rained here since August. It sprinkled the other day for all of 10 seconds. I got so excited only to be let down. On a happy note, it was cooler this morning early.

I am now moving on to grandson pics. Tucker visited the pumpkin patch over the weekend and got some pumpkins.

The Methodist church is the place to get pumpkins!!!

Then Lindsay sent me these earlier tonight of him out front with his new pumpkins in place.

No smiles for the camera. However there are lots of them these days.

In just a couple of weeks we will be celebrating his first birthday. Time has flown by. He has changed so much and is looking like a big boy these days.

I finished the book that I mentioned the other day when referencing the seasons. I enjoyed it. That is one reason there is less stitching. I decided I had become a bit obsessive and needed to read as well. After all it is one of my favorite things too. The book, Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal was the book I was reading. I picked up the book our of the trading library in the Auburn house neighborhood. I actually pulled it out for Mom to read one weekend when we were up there. She read it and gave it back for me to take back. I don't think she was too sure about getting a book out of the little book house. I assured her I had put three in on another visit. I just love this idea.

It was a good read. I read it slowly until the last third and had to read to find out the ending. I will be honest it was predictable but had a little twist. It is not good enough to go out and purchase, but definitely worth picking up at the library. It is older with a 2014 copyright.

That is all that is worth mentioning in my neck of the woods for now.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Hot Season

Yesterday's post was prompted by this post that you are about to read. I just decided yesterday's post needed writing first. 😉 Both have to do with how reading something sends you on a wild goose chase of thoughts.

The book I am reading and haven't finished yet, is well written and has held my interest. It is not a page turner as I am reading it slowly each evening. I hope it turns about to be worthy of some of my stitching time.

The main character, a young girl was coming in after walking home from school in New Orleans. She was hot as one who has lived in the Deep South can definitely relate.

So these lines from the book sent me off on a real spin of sorts to prompt two posts.

After being told her face is as red as a Creole tomato, she responds with, "That's because New Orleans only has one season. Hot." 
The other character replied, "No, baby we got seasons. We got oyster season, crawfish season, shrimp season, crab season. Come to think of it, we got alligator season, hurricane season, Mardi Gras season. We got a whole mess of seasons around these parts. And baby, it's only the end of May. come September, even I begin to sweat."

This prompted me to think how hot it can be so much of the year here. Everyone is certainly aflutter over the heat this October, but it is not a new phenomenon. I can remember in high school that our homecoming was always in October. It was so difficult to plan what to wear for the game and dance. Some of those years were cool and you could wear a blazer, but some of them were downright hot. I even remember in college that the homecoming court on some years wore skirts and blazer suits while some years a short sleeved dress. Of course back then we didn't have a weather app on our phones with 10 day forecasts either. It was a guessing game on purchasing THE outfit.

Last year was hot as heck! Many times when we have this kind of heat late into the year, we worry about possible storms in the Gulf. I have had my eyes on the Gulf for just that. So far so good.

I guess I am officially old because I talk about the weather a lot! I remember thinking as a kid that old folks talked about the weather a good bit. I wonder if our tolerance for the extremes is just lessened with age.

It also made wonder about what seasons other than spring, summer, fall, and winter I observed. Hurricane would be a the top of the list. Growing up I heard a lot about hunting season from relatives; whether it was deer, turkey, or quail season. Football season is a season for sure in the south and I always loved baseball season. Most all of the seasons are hot with the exception of late December and January. An occasional week of cold can be thrown into February or even March sometimes. I have already shared that choosing attire is somewhat summer attire almost year round  thrown in with rules of no white shoes and seersucker. Those rules set seasons for us southerners. I like to wear certain colors and patterns in the fall even though they might be sleeveless.

I decided I had lamented enough about the heat yesterday and decided to do something useful. I gave my refrigerator a deep cleaning. It was needed and nice standing in the cool!
My plan for next week is just to buckle down and do some more chores like that so that when it does cool down I can spend it outside.

How's that for a good attitude?!

Stitching friends, I promise my next post will be a stitching one:)

Friday, October 4, 2019


Reading aloud and sharing new books with my students was one of my favorite things about teaching.

 I loved reading as a child. I would say I have always had an eclectic taste in books and read equal parts of fiction and nonfiction. I could be entertained with an encyclopedia as well as The Hardy Boys. As an elementary teacher, I  have to admit that I loved reading children's books. They squelched my burning desire to read and were easy so that I could read a ton during the school year waiting on summers to get to my rather long list of books waiting.

I tried to read new ones each year to always know what was out there and to be able to suggest just the right book for a student as I got to know them. Along the way I found the perfect books to read aloud to my favorite age group, 4th grade. I found that when I retired that collection of books was something I simply could not part with. Long time readers know I love my books.

One such find one year was read each February during black history month. Now this book grabbed me from the very first page. When teaching those said 4th graders writing, I would have used this to teach them about openings in writing. I would have said this book had a hook or a grabber depending on the book. 

This book definitely had a hook!

Upon reading this paragraph I literally had to reread it. Honestly, the first sentence grabbed hold of me. 

I hope you can see it. I love the sentence, "I told time by the trains that passed through the town."

"I walked behind Papa, listening to the dark, listening to the familiar sounds of the Alabama piney woods."

The Alabama piney woods. Then a train whistle. Immediately it evoked so many memories. I grew up most of my days until marrying after college in the piney woods of Alabama. Those pines surrounded my every view for most of my growing up years. There were other trees, but no doubt pines were a huge part of the landscape of my youth. Trains were the other common denominator. 

"Somewhere in the distance a train whistle broke the silence and floated on the currents of the warm May breeze."

Yep, I have listened to train horn blowing across the road, and off in the distance depending on where we lived, but it was always close to a train. In Columbus, Georgia it was probably a 1/4 mile away as a very small child, then across the highway as an elementary aged child when we lived in Range, Alabama. In middle and high school, we moved about 20 miles to the town of Brewton, Alabama where the train ran right down the heart of town and the sounds at night were off in the distance. I would go to Auburn University where a train again runs right through town and I lived right next to the train tracks for three of those years.

As you can see trains have been a part of regular sights and sounds. Marrying and moving to the Gulf Coast was my first experience with no train sounds. I did miss them, but I quickly noticed another sound that would take their place from then on...the sound of jets. I have a fondness for those too!!!

Back to the book.
The next page is even better.

"A shooting star raced across the heavens and I made a wish that one day I'd ride on a train to somewhere special --- a big city maybe where ladies wore shoes all year long and carried umbrellas when it wasn't even raining. Mama had been all the way to St. Lois, but she didn't think too much of city life. Said she was glad to get back home. But she didn't discourage me, saying, "Hold fast to your dreams and one day you'll get to ride a train, see all the sights you want to see." 

Hearing her, Papa always argued that it was the doers in the world who got things done. "Work, save yo' money, buy a ticket, and that's the way you'll ride ---dreaming aine got nothing to do with it." 
"But it's the dreaming-part that makes the working-part more tolerable," Mama usually answered."

It is truly a wonderful book and filled with so many good teaching tidbits whether writing tips, reading comprehension tips, or those life tips that I loved throwing in there.

I decided to share this one with you, because I was reading another book last night that a line made me stop and pause. You will hear about that one later:)

One of the great things about blogs is I love reading about the world outside mine. I have lived in a small swath of the southeast except for Germany as an infant.

Is there a sound or sight that is part of your core like trains are to me or jets to my children?
I would love to hear.

I promise I am stitching and have some to share very soon. Sometimes I just get a notion to write something down a thought. The other book's paragraph was on seasons. I can't wait to share that thought with you. 

Until then have a wonderful hot day,

Do you see Hank Heron?