Saturday, February 29, 2020

10 Things about Winter

Every season this blogger and author does a post on 10 things she learned in that season. I have never read any of her books and only occasionally read her blog, but these posts ALWAYS catch my eye. I decided that this time I would try that idea. I am not linking up with her blog, because I rarely ever do that. However, I am going to share my ten things here.

Here are my 10 things learned in winter....

My first one is that winter definitely has a purpose in the balance of nature but also in my body and mind. Winter keeps the seasons in balance by keeping everything budding at the appropriate time and cooling the Gulf waters down which is very important in our neck of the woods. I didn't always like winter and dreaded it. I now see it is a chance to do a little less and go to bed earlier and just stay in. I now see the value in those things for physical and spiritual health. It still isn't my favorite season because of the lack of light, but I don't dread it like I once did.

#2 - I really really really need to try and slowly rearrange some of the winter appointments. I think there are just too many that come at once and it wears me out. Not just mine, but Mom's. It seems every winter we are going to something two and three times a week which just throws me off for some reason. Knowing that--- I am going to try and move some of them to later times and maybe not have SO many at one time.

#3 - Housekeeping is different either with age or not working outside the home. I think it is most likely a combination. Slow and steady is the winner rather than all out going for it on Saturday or any day of the week for that manner. I might not get that all at once clean feel but I get a good enough and everything picked up not so stressed feeling.

#4 - I simply must be more disciplined with diet. There are really no shortcuts for me. It is either follow the plan or feel less than. Now, I am not sure diet was the entire reason for my crash in thyroid this winter. I think that had to do with some other factors, but I am realizing that diet is HUGE! I didn't grow up with Lent as something we followed at our church, but I do love it for two reasons. It is a time to think about the upcoming Easter season rather than it popping up on you quickly. Same with Advent. AND...I like to focus on a reset of sorts as in this year making sure I eat correctly. Sometimes the reset is just to focus on something like prayer or a special reading in my Bible.

#5 - Decluttering is a process and there can come a time when you feel much better about you really have achieved a better place.

#6 - With number 5 said, it going to be a reminder that I need to be very mindful about what I bring in whether it is home decor, clothes, crafts, etc. I will just go ahead and admit I was doing so good and then I didn't! I made a very poor impulse purchase last week. Yep! A poor one! I am not going to beat myself up, but it was way too expensive, didn't need it, and it didn't bring me joy at all. I am going to keep it out as a reminder of doing better. The purchase was a seasonal purchase, but it is probably going to stay out well past spring. We have a basket called the $40 basket at our house. This purchase is going to be similar to that. It might get a similar name. One time when we were first married and money was tight I got invited to a Longaberger basket party. I didn't have money to buy those at that point in my life and the cheapest one was $40. Y'all that was over 30 years ago. I felt awful not to get anything, so that was the cheapest purchase. Jeff wasn't mad but couldn't believe when it came in that it was so small. It was dubbed the $40 basket and still sits in our living room. Still called that:)

#7 - Watching dogs age is hard. Lemony has reached 11 years of age and apparently that is old for a Golden in this day and age. She is precious and lovable, but it is slowing down quickly. She has a bum hip and can't run anymore. Her heart wants to run, but her body says no. I am not enjoying the struggle for her. She is taking to her new bed a bit better.
Speaking of dogs...our first Springer Spaniel, Sally was a leap year dog born in 1984. We got her right after we married. She was about 10 months old. She was my first born. She welcomed home the real kiddos and lived to the ripe old age of 15. I had hoped she would make it to 16 but she said no. She succumbed just after her 15 birthday which we always celebrated on the 28th.

#8 - I am looking forward to spring gardening and yard work mainly because of some decisions I made last fall to downsize my load outside. It was such a wise decision. Less pots to maintain and try to water is going to be a BIG yes and getting rid of the roses was a winner. I actually don't miss the work that would have gone with them starting already. I can just stop in at the grocery store occasionally and pick up a few with a lot less work. The work outside now seems manageable and I find myself looking forward to the change.

#9 - I am so ready for light! Winter has its place and I am fortunate for a girl who is not a winter girl to live in an area where it is shorter lived. I am ready for the coming time change. I am ready and feel it will be a good thing for me.

#10 - I might be running out of ideas, but I am glad that I can see the benefits of winter EVEN though I am ready for spring.

And that my friends is 10 things I learned in winter.

Friday, February 28, 2020

St. Patrick's Day Finish

I wish I had time to actually write something, but I don't. Been a busy week, but I am going to share my finish.

Probably rushed the finish, but it is what it is. Next time I will slow down.

The pattern is the hoopla patterns from With Thy Needle and Thread compliments of my sweet friend Arlene at Nanaland. 
I stitched it on 28 count laguna with most of the called for colors. I had to sub some greens. I didn't do the one over one stitching but chose to do back stitching anywhere that was called for.

These hooplas have been fun stitches.

See you next week with hopefully more than a passing fancy.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A New Start and Some Small Finishes

As we were traveling back from Auburn last Monday I stitched a freebie pattern that Arlene at Nanaland had sent me a copy of. I didn't really expect to have time to stitch anything other than just finishing up Tucker's name that I took very little with me. I quickly threw in some floss and a small piece of linen.

Freebie is from Heart and Hand

It has subdued colors and I think some happy popping colors would have been a little bit better. I may even do it again at some point. I put a quick finish on it earlier in the week. I had a button with an old watch face on it that I thought matched it so it turned out cute. I thought about putting a ribbon around it, but I think I will leave it plain and maybe next year will be the year of the smalls. I can add it to a basket of smalls.

I ordered some ribbons from an Etsy shop. Pretty colors. I think I will put them to good use even though I didn't use them on this pillow.

This is the shop these came from.
Arlene also shared her With Thy Needle and Thread hoopla pattern with me. I was determined to stitch this over the weekend.

I had no linen dark enough for the sheep, so I tried tea dying some for the first time ever. It worked!
On the left is the linen and after an hour of sitting in tea is the version on the right.

I hope to put a circle finish on it this week sometime.

Now, for my newest start.

I am hoping to add blue jays to my bedroom wall in Auburn. The mockingbird is lonely.

I want to do more of these. I have another leaflet with my next project after the blue jays....chickadees.

For now, I started the blue jays this week so here is my nightly stitching progress. I started with the mama's tail feathers. This stitch will be my main focus for the future weeks. 

Spring does seem to be arriving early in the south. It was sunny this weekend which was nice although a bit chilly. Everything is beginning to bloom early. 

We started laying out fresh pine straw in the beds. Didn't quite finish so we will have to finish next weekend.

Florida lawn art...aka...concrete statues!
Groceries have been bought, meals have been planned, calendar filled out for the week so I am hoping to feel a bit better this week. A higher strength of thyroid medicine is now a week in so hopefully I am popping back to life again.

Hoping for sunshine this week,

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Details of the Name Stitch

I am sharing close ups and details of the Tucker piece I stitched.

I made Lindsay one from this pattern book back in the early 1990s. It is still hanging in her old bedroom. She requested that I do his name in a navy with a nautical theme. I wonder if she has thought about that Tucker's piece will still be hanging in her house long after he is grown. I mentioned this and some of you graciously gave me ideas.

Let's look at the letters up close and see what I used to do the stitch.

For the T, I used bird from the following pattern that Mary at Stitching Friends Forever sent me. I want to stitch these smaller patterns later for the summer after the patriotic season is over. I mean I simply must stitch that flamingo. Thanks Mary. The heron and sandpiper are regular visitors to our local beaches.

The U came from the original pattern book that I had done Lindsay's name with. It has a boy or girl in each letter. I knew I would only do one boy and U was perfect as is for this piece. The only thing I changed was the dog. The dog is personalized to be their Hallie, a Boykin Spaniel. I used the book to make all of the letters. The book calls for a lighter blue, but navy was just perfect for this stitch.

Next up, the C came directly from a pattern that Arlene at Nanaland had sent me and I have been holding onto for some time. I still really want to stitch it for my downstairs which may or may not happen anytime soon. I had to outline the sand dollar to get her to show up on the light blue.

Here is the pattern Arlene sent me. You will need to go ahead and notice the E as well. 

Let's talk K. I was stumped for awhile as to what to do. I even stitched the E first and then it hit me. The anchor. Could it be any more perfect?!
The anchor came from the following pattern which I ordered and will use many times. Keep this in mind again later for the water under that ship and a dolphin

I am thinking of some smalls inspired by many of you, so we will wait and see what happens with these ideas too. You should have seen me trying to turn the pattern to make it fit into the K. I am not one of those visually talented people who sees puzzle pieces and knows exactly where they fit.

Now, back to E and R. The E comes directly from the above BEACH pattern. Again I had to outline to get it to show up against the light blue.

When I got to the R, I really wanted to use a dolphin. Another regular sight around our parts of the country. Over half the elementary schools in our district have it as their mascot:)

I counted and realized the dolphin would go into the upper part of the R. I was planning on water all along for the bottom. First I was thinking of this pattern from Mary for waves. 

I am pretty sure at some point you will see this done on the blog. I adore this one.

It turned out I just added water myself inspired by the colors and pattern under the ship on the above pattern that had the dolphin and anchor. I just played with the stitch and let it come to pass. I then added a piling post to the side of the R from one of Mary's patterns that had the dock. Oh and some water splashes under the dolphin as prompted by my husband. 

I love how it turned out. I can't wait to see it framed, so you will get to see it once more later.

Now, let's talk stash. I was watching Carol at Saltbox Stitcher last week and she used an acronym I hadn't heard before. 
Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. 
I just had to chuckle. Do we ever stop wanting new stuff?
Now, I hope I have lots of time left. I am only 59.

However, I have lots and lots in my stash and a list of things I want. I just need more stitching time in a day and maybe wall space. 
I will be using some of these above patterns this summer.

I am trying not to look too hard at Instagram where people are showing cute stuff daily.
I mean how cute is this by With Thy Needle and Thread that Brenda displayed for market.

Good grief! I love everything about this...would want to display it just like this!!!!!!!!!!!!

Instead of punching the purchase key on 123Stitch and others I am keeping a list in the back of my planner of things I might like. I never showed y'all my new planner this year. It is so cute and just makes me smile every time I look at it.  I will share it one day.

I do have a freebie to share soon. I needed a quick small.

Almost finished. 
I came across another Floss Tuber to share. I am not a huge Floss Tube watcher. I am just going to be honest. I am busy and can't sit for long periods of time, but I have learned to watch those that I like in 20 minute increments. 
I missed this girl on Instagram as well. She did her first Floss Tube recently and just had some adorable stuff on it.
Crosshatch Quilts is also know by the same name on Instagram. I wrote down some patterns ON MY LIST!

I will see y'all soon hopefully with a new small to share AND some outdoor pics. They are trimming trees (the live oaks) in the circle outside. Kind of noisy.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Let's Catch Up

Last week was just tiring. For all of my January getting things done and not feeling like most of the people I read out there saying how long it was; February may have turned out to be my January. It has been busy, gloomy weather, etc.

Let's catch up.

Last Wednesday, in the midst of business I stopped to bake a Valentine's brownie for my small group that night. Two purposes, well maybe three. One was Valentine's Day was coming and I love to bake, two was one of the members had just had her 60th birthday. About half of us are having that number arrive this year. The other half have already had it. Jeff is our wee baby being 9 months younger than me, he won't see 60 until next year. The third reason is I really really wanted to use my heart shaped pan.
I had planned to make a chocolate sauce and just use a pastry bag and drizzle it in strips across the brownie. Much to my dismay, about half way through my bag which was a disposable one just burst. Hasn't happened before. I don't know if I didn't let the sauce cool enough or got into big a hurry, so it turned into a layer of frosting.

I served it with some fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream. I can't eat anything other than homemade now that I know how easy it is to make.

I somehow deleted my cute picture of it on the kitchen island with all the cups of strawberries out and a bowl of candy.

Oh well, it was good and all eaten. We are studying Daniel in our small group. Whew, this one has kept Jeff and I on our toes preparing for it.

I took some pictures of my back porch plants Thursday morning. Know how I remember? The white plate I served the heart shaped brownie on is still in the dish drainer from the night before.

I got up early and watered my back deck plants. My geraniums have survived the winter which means I don't have to buy new ones this year. The reason is I moved them inside around the kitchen table when the weather dropped below about 39 degrees F. That wasn't too many days as we have had a very mild winter. It helped that this year I have followed through with downsizing the number of plants I have. This is it on the back of the house other than plants in the ground. I don't have any downstairs on the lower deck. I kept some pots for jalapeƱos this summer, but those are easy peasy to grow.

See the white platter behind the taller geranium?

New growth coming out all around.

Even a bloom.

The inside location for plants is around the table. The ones you see around the table on stands are always there. Often this is a place I bring a dying one to nurse it back to health. 

One I rooted when I couldn't find one anywhere in stores. He is finally doing good. I do love growing things.

Jeff and I skipped off to Auburn for the weekend. We took in a baseball game on Saturday. The weather was cool but sunny so I enjoyed the game immensely. Sunday was rainy and yucky up there and at home in Fort Walton Beach, so mostly we stayed in and watched a movie on TV. We watched Ford and Ferrari which I thought was quite good.

I hung some stitching up at the Auburn house. The downstairs room got the Family Registry Sampler and I also took a piece I have never shared before. 

Second from right.

The larger piece is something I stitched back while Jeff and I were engaged for his mother. It has been in a closet since we moved in our current home in 2002. When I was doing my BIG purge in January, I had it sitting out trying to decide what to do with it since it was specific to her. I had almost decided to pull it out of the frame and just keep the frame. I sat on that idea for a couple of days and then it came to me to take it for my wall in the downstairs bedroom at Auburn. I think it worked out nicely. 

My plan is to add more stitches with TIME. Some sampler type or Bible verses. I actually have one bought for in there. I will need to change out the colors for it to match the room. More on that later. Stay tuned.

In the upstairs master there, I took my mockingbird. She looks lonely but absolutely perfect on that wall color. I will be adding at least two more birds stitched on that linen from that same designer soon. It will be one of my new starts very soon.

I love love love the wall color in that room. It is called "Atmospheric" by Behr. I walk in that room and just melt with love for it. I know that when Jeff retires and we spend more time there that I will be adding a chair and lamp for stitching in that room.

I am love with her. Maybe one of my favorites ever!

Now, for one more picture. I finished Tucker's name.
I plan to show some closeups later in the week. It turned out so cute. I will go into more details on it and Lindsay and I need to head to the frame shop together to pick out the frame for it.

I will be back with more at another time.
I have my own doctor's appointment in the morning. I knew I felt off the last few weeks. I had my bloodwork drawn last Monday. I finally looked at the results Friday on the way to Auburn. My thyroid numbers are all over the place. Explains a whole lot. Anyway, I am very glad to go to the doctor in the morning .

Where is the sun in February? Please return even if it is colder. I am in need of it!

The bloom was further along today when we arrived home.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Stitching, Baking, Daily Life

Let's do some life posting.

The Tucker piece seems like it is coming along slow. It is. I have lots of outside of the home activities which have kind of tuckered me out in the evenings and then the fact that I am kind of designing this as I go it has made it a wee bit slow. If I did something like this again, it would probably be worth the extra effort to draw it out completely on some graph paper. I didn't - so it is just stitch and think and repeat.

Here is my progress.

I am doing my best not to look around at what others are stitching and stay focused. So far so good!

Last week was Tyler's birthday. Lindsay asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he asked for a red velvet. She was going to go buy one, but I said I would absolutely love to do it. Baking is therapy for me. I don't really love to cook, but bake ---oh yes.

I have never made a red velvet so I went to my cookbook closet. Surprising with all those cookbooks there weren't a ton of them, but I knew as soon as I saw the one I used that it was the winner. I love a cake that uses buttermilk, sifts flour, and adds those two ingredients in small bits beginning and ending with flour. It is almost always a winner. The only snag for me was the vegetable oil. I don't use so much of that anymore. I use coconut oil in brownie mixes and can't tell the difference so I took a leap of faith and used mostly coconut oil in the recipe. It was fabulous. I didn't tell anyone except Lindsay because I could hear them all saying they could taste it. Not one person said anything other than it was delicious. Win!!!!

Here is a picture of the recipe and I used a standard cream cheese icing. I did not add nuts per Tyler's directions. I would have added nuts!

Coconut oil for the win and the bottle I assumed was a small plastic one, but I just added until I thought it looked right. Less is best was my thinking.

The weekend was very nice so Jeff and I took a hike on the Florida Trail in Crestview just north of us. It was typical north Florida pines, scrub oaks, and palmettos.

I was really tired for some reason on Sunday evening and slept through most of the Super Bowl on the recliner. You know when you sleep like that you need it.
I missed all the hoopla about the halftime show. I do not feel I missed a thing.

I noticed many saying out there in Internet World how long January was. I think I was so productive and then dealing with Mom being sick that I didn't feel that way at all. It was cold and I stayed inside and busily took care of some long needed tasks. My pile has been donated.

The weather started off for February spring like, so Tucker and I spent some time outside. Today is rainy and it is supposed to be cloudy and wet for the next few days, so more inside tasks to be done.
We enjoyed it while it lasted though.

Some glimpses of life with him...
No stroller, Grammie. I can walk. AND great winter pots. The secret to pansies and dianthus is weekly fertilizing.

I can use PaPa's car wash brush.

A little TV.

The new dog bed was supposed to be for Lemony, but Tucker likes it more.

Mother starts vertigo therapy on Monday. She did this about two years ago and it was very helpful in more ways than just vertigo. Just moving her body. The doctor says the ear infections probably started those crystals to moving around again. We are still trying to finish up a few more appointments. She is not driving so I am shuffling her around. She is not liking that and ready to get herself back to independence, but I feel we may be just moving into a phase when I am a lot more active in that, so I am preparing myself for that and trying to take care of myself as well.

I don't know how I got so lucky, but I am married to a good man who is so helpful. I never ever want to take that for granted.

That is about it for the last week around here.

Watching rain,