Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Weekend Wrap-up

This will most likely be a rambling post of thoughts.

I trimmed a plant and brought some in. Made a pretty table centerpiece.

I put a simple finish on Lady Liberty and put out my patriotic decor in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Here is just a small sampling of them. For the most part I spread them out over the house. These days I seem to be in a less is more mood and I have never really found a place in our home to put all of it together which is what I would like. My other place to put things is the sewing room for which you can't see today. I have a mess made in there right now.

Four of my favorites are on or near the top along with Paw Patrol for Tucker.

I spent a good part of the weekend painting at Mom's and trying to decide what to do about her technology so that she can watch church better. Jeff and I watched with her this Sunday morning so we could see if the technology is just too old to handle it all or if it is user error. I think it is a combination. Now I have to see if the user error can be taught enough to warrant buying new technology.

We painted a couple of walls that had needed it but I never got around to it. They weren't just horrible, but for her they were. It was mostly where someone had touched up things with a finish that was different so they glow in the sunlight. I have two more small walls to do, but I am not what I used to be and if I go all out I won't be able to have the energy to keep Tucker.

I rested yesterday and Jeff and I took pretty much an all day drive. We left around 10:00 yesterday and drove all along the coast to Cape San Blas. The traffic was a little lighter than over the weekend as many were heading north to home. The area from Santa Rosa Beach to Inlet Beach was not even considering social distancing. Now the beach area is large, but there are only so many little places to eat and they all seemed beyond crowded. We were able to see Lindsay's friend's house that was burned. It was not huge area, but you could see the trail it took. IT seemed to have melted the siding on many homes that it didn't burn all the way down. I didn't take any pictures as we just rolled on by.

I hadn't been all the way to the Cape since Michael hit. I had stopped short of Tyndall AFB when I went. Now Jeff had seen the areas around Tyndall as he helped work out there. It is still sad to see so much devastation a year and a half later.

One of the more interesting things I noted this time were the live oaks. I shared the pines all broke in half and much of that is is there or cut out probably for logging, but the live oaks that survived were bare after the storm.

Yesterday, they were the oddest live oaks I have seen. They were coming back, but rather than their huge canopies draped with Spanish moss they had smaller branches that had survived and each individual branch had lots of new growth and leaves growing all along the branch. I really should have taken a picture because I can't describe the oddity. Just a bunch of big branches with lots of new growth close to the branch. Perhaps a good description is that the limbs were wearing a fuzzy sleeve.

You could definitely see the path that it took. We even noted where the eye wall came across because the trees down go in two different directions. Mexico Beach had lots of building going on, but you could see where many homes had been and how they were just taken right off the pilings. It reminded me of how as a young girl we drove to Houston along the Gulf Coast near Biloxi a full two summers after Camille hit and it was still so much evidence of such a strong storm.

We of course live on the coast, but when Lindsay and Paul Allen were in elementary school we visited Cape San Blas many summers for a week. It was just so quiet and unspoiled. We would rent a house on the bay side and spend the week snorkeling and frolicking in the water. Our last vacation over there was the summer before Lindsay started 6th grade in 2001. We have gone over but not for a week at a time since then. I have a big birthday coming up this fall so we have rented a home there but on the Gulf side for the event with insurance for canceling  this time. I told Jeff I would love for us all to be there again, but my birthday month is the height of hurricane season and with Mother slowing down there are just too many things that could throw a wrench in the plans that I am a little scared to even write them down.

The cape was breeched by the storm and they have put big pieces of concrete rocks along the place where it was breeched. It will take a very long time for that to come back and may need some dredging to add sand there. The process for getting dunes back involves fencing and sea oats to capture sand.

Picture is from Wikipedia and shows where the breech occurred.

The Gulf waters are just on the other side of the rocks. I remembered to take this to show the kids as we were leaving.

We went to the end of the cape to the state park and walked on the Gulf and bay side. I am the lady who must always pick up a couple of shells and stop to look at the different plants. We took a hike along the bay and my find was a hawk feather.

A storm was coming in and followed us home last night.

The clouds make it hard to see but there is the fencing and sea oats I mentioned.

Bay side hike location.

We packed food since we didn't know how crowded or if we could get anything along the way. We did however stop on the way home in Panama City for a drive through milkshake.

Oh and my treasures for the day.

That was our day. I say it very frequently that I am so grateful that we didn't get that one and that Tucker waited a week to arrive.

I have stitched a little bit on two smalls, but I have some ripping out to do on both. How is that!
I also read a book for which I would have recommended IF you like Florida history. It was a historical fiction set in the early 1900s in Miami. It was a fun read for someone who loves Florida history which I do. However, we made it all the way to the end of the book with no sex and while this one didn't have too much it was still a little sad because the detail wasn't needed to tell the story. Seriously, why does everything these days feel the need to add something like that. Pooh!

I did self frame my little verse. I love this verse, but I don't know if I love the stitch. It is going to be in my office area of my sewing room, so it was for me anyway. It is a lovely pattern and would be great with the called for silks, so I am holding onto it. I may do it again ONE day.

That is it for me today. A long one, but I kind of wanted to record the day and the thoughts.

Memorial Day weekend always ushers in the summer season to me and Friday morning as I sat out on the back deck I felt the heat of summer arriving.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Stitching Post

I finished up my second and final patriotic stitch for the year today.

Lady Liberty is by With Thy Needle and Thread and I have had it in the stash for ages. Arlene did it ages ago and sent it to me. I actually started it on 36 count way back when. I had done some of the flag and stopped and it went to time out (a term I have heard from stitchers) because I just didn't love the loose weave and coverage. I decided it was time to get it done or pass on it. I really didn't want a really large piece for displaying such a short time during the year. The answer was some 40 count in the stash. I don't remember the color...maybe a platinum. It is a gray color.

It is slightly too wide to fit in a 5 X 7 frame so I will make a flat fold out of it. It is more like just under 5 X 6. I finally feel like I have enough patriotic stitchers so unless there is a sure 'nough pattern out there that will be it. I am not hunting for one but just knowing that I won't purchase it unless it is calling my name.

I have the rest of the year lined up with stitches and I am trying really hard not to look at anything else.
I have
a summer piece I want to finish up,
 one more bird for my trio of birds,
a September word play,
and the Advent calendar are going to take priority.

Trust me when I tell you I could make a lifetime list and new stuff comes out all the time.
I am mulling over a town stitch like I saw with Country Stitchers using all the village pieces I have in my stash.  I fell in love with how she put them together to make long pieces like a town. I would love ...

These are pictures I snapped with screen shots of the floss tube video.

Deb added in the snow and made the landscape tie in from building and scene to scene for a couple of long framed pieces.

to do this. I would love to do this with our beach town of Fort Walton Beach. It isn't a snow town, but a beach town but I could envision some palms between the stores and of course the stores need to be local stores. So much twirling through my mind with this, so you see I have 2021 all dreamed out. Designers quit tempting me so I can stitch from my stash.

I just totally love this.

Quite frankly, I have been thinking a lot about how easily we can be distracted and want more. I have so much right here to keep me busy for ages...not to mention the space book and some flowers I want to do.

Which means that we will see what comes out of all my plans. Will I stitch what I have or will I get off track because I am greatly influenced by others?
Time will tell!

I can't believe this next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I know sometimes I sound like a broken record with the teaching thing, but it was my life for 31 years. Memorial Day didn't mean school was out but it did mean kids had definitely turned off their brains. As time went on, I got good at thinking of things outside of the box to fill those days so that they didn't drive me nutty. Just like them each year, it signaled my brain turning to summer projects.

This June 6th will mark 6 years since I walked out those school door for the last time as teacher. I simply have no idea where those six years have gone. They have been documented in the blog, but they have gone by so quickly.
I have a little bit more to document before I close her down somewhere down the road.

This past week was back to keeping Tucker every day, but the day has been shorter. They don't go back to completely full time hours until the next phase.
This weekend was actually a work weekend. I worked downstairs doing some rearranging of furniture and then outside cleaning and getting some chores done before this wonderful spring weather we have had turns to hot.

Happily stitching,

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Hodgepodge Post

I will start with a stitch for stitching friends dropping by. After finishing the blue jays and before starting the next one, I decided a small was in order.

I found a freebie here...http://www.brookesbooks.com/CrossStitchFreebies.html
It is quite small and would be very cute done on 40 count for a corner of a decorative pillow with just a wee bit of stitching on it, but I was looking for a filler in a basket or so I thought...

This is done on 28 count laguna with DMC colors that were called for in the pattern.

Here she is finished up in a small pillow. I went pulling out all my summery smalls to see what I had and if a bowl was in order or just scattered around the house.

I keep all my smalls of all seasons except Christmas in Lindsay's dresser. It is quite fun to pull open the drawers and see all the work from my hands. I think most of these will come out over the course of the summer and be scattered about over the house. I don't really have a look for a bowl yet or at least I don't think.

We will see.

I am planning to stitch a somewhat smaller patriotic stitch that has been sitting in the wings for far too long. I think it is time to get her done.

Lady Liberty in progress.

My current thought is she will be done in a flat fold. I am trying to get the skirt done first as I think the remainder of the stitching will go fast once that is done. 
Then I have a summer piece started that I need to finish and then back to the birds. 

Sunday was the first time I have had all my chickadees under my roof at the same time. That was the very best present ever. 

We celebrated Mother's 85th birthday which happened in March as all the Big C thing got started. 

She would most likely be upset if she knew I was posting it for two reasons ---she is convinced all forms of social posting is a bad idea and second she is ready for a haircut!!!
A Dorothy Hamill cut is what she sports.

Lindsay made her an adorable sign to take her picture with.

Y'all pictures of Mom are all I took. I was just so happy to have the family together. WE were under the 10 rule!

We made good food and desserts and I got my grocery store roses which I have told the kids is all I ever want.

I made Arlene's pimento cheese and some bacon jam and even some homemade bread. I was on a roll. Recipes that I used are linked with the names of the item.

I also made two pies.

I know it was Mother's Day but I told them I wanted to. They did the rest.

An update on Lindsay's friends and the fire. I am completely amazed at the goodness that has taken place. Lindsay and her friends raised $6,000 to help them get a rental and some new furniture and so forth. The insurance company has come out and said they will rebuild. Now, I don't know how quickly all that will take place, but the money raised will help them get set up while they wait. Continue to pray for them. I know the young man is taking it pretty hard. Lindsay said a piece of ash landed in the seat next to L as she drove away so she was frightened and knew it would not be there. T didn't have that plus his grandmother died and he had a funeral to go to, so a lot to swallow at one time.

It just reminds me how grateful we need to be for every good thing we have. Life is short and not always easy.

A quick pic to leave you with. This is just too cute not to share.

Tucker trying on PaPa's shoes. The background is good too. Shells on the floor, a dog bone, a toy turned upside down, the mop because that is his favorite toy, and a frozen lasagna dish in the living room that none other than Gus got off the counter and brought into the living room. Real life!!!

Take care,

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Blue Jays and Trials

I finally finished the blue jays. I really thought when I finished them yesterday morning that I would be writing a light hearted post last night about the stitching these birds. However, lots of things can happen in a quick amount of time, so I have more to document and share than just bird stitching.

I am going to share the birds first for those that just visit for stitching and then I will do a life post after the birds.

I am very pleased with them.

These patterns are just so incredible. There are lots of color changes so not for the faint of heart, but it  is those color changes that make the birds so life-like. How do I keep my sanity with those color changes and detailed patterns?
With this bad boy....

I got this over 35 years ago. It is magnetic board and strips of magnets. The different sizes come in handy. The longer strip for a long line, but often the short ones are good to for marking a line of stitching in a different direction.  

The birds will be framed in a similar manner as the mocking bird and go in the master bedroom at the Auburn house. The original plan is to do three of them and that is still the plan. I have waffled back and forth between two patterns you have seen, but I have decided to go with a third pattern I haven't shared. I will not share that today. I will save that for a later post, but it has been kitted and ready to go.

You know I have only one complaint on the stitching of the birds. I love the look of the linen I used but it is some seriously flimsy linen. If I had a do over I would have chosen something different, but it is pretty.

I plan to do a couple of patriotic and summer smalls before I start  the next bird.  Now, I have to tell you I got tired along the way and was beginning to procrastinate. It really probably had lots to do with the current life situation we find ourselves in, but one night I just thought I really need to get them done. I seen blue jays almost everyday on my neighborhood walks with the mocking birds and another (hint hint). Then there appeared to be a family of blue jays with babies flying around in the trees next door. I watched and it was if they were cheering me on to get this stitch done.

I have spoken before about sitting in my sewing room and watching out the windows at the birds in the trees. They are often seemingly unaware of me, but I love watching them. One day the blue jay came and parked right on the fence while I was stitching. I began to enjoy the last days of stitching this one. Like I said, they were cheering me on!!!


Now, for life...

Yesterday, news was breaking all day long here of fires in the counties to the east and west of us. If you know anything about the Florida Panhandle, the counties are all lined up running from the border of Alabama to the waters of the Gulf Coast. We are number three coming from the little tip of Alabama. Our county is familiar with forest fires with controlled burns. Our county is largely military reservation so you rarely hear about out of control fires. Santa Rosa County to our west had a very large fire going on all day that they were dubbing the Five Mile Swamp fire. It was largely along the water with a lot of saw grass area and forests around the bay and bayous.

Jeff and I were getting ready to do our weekly Zoom meeting with our church small group when Lindsay called with horrible news. One of her very good friends lives in Walton County which is to our east. The little village she lives in is Santa Rosa Beach. There are tons of things named Santa Rosa all along the Panhandle.  A fire had broken out between Highway 98, the major road that runs parallel to the coast across our area and 30A where the friend lives.

Lindsay's friend had time only to grab the baby, the diaper bag, her purse, and the dogs and flee. She didn't even have time to buckle the baby in. They were screaming for them to flee. Her husband was at work in Destin.

Tyler, my son-in-law works on 30A less than a mile from the friends house. They had to leave north and drive all around the bay to get to Fort Walton Beach where her parents live. That is a long drive to be reconnected.

They did indeed lose their home. Their entire street on one side is ash on a slab. Today it was released that it started due to a "illegal burn" and an eminent arrest is slated.

My son has a good friend, (another fixture at our home growing up) that is a fire fighter in Walton County. He said it was burning so hard and so fast (the wind was crazy yesterday all day) that they would just have to give up a house and move down to try and save the next one. I know there are many exhausted young men today.

I would just ask that you pray for the couple. Their baby was a year old in early March. I mentioned her here a little over a year ago because she was born very prematurely. They spent 8 weeks in Pensacola with her. Lindsay remembered that she had been released a year ago this week because it was on Cinco de Mayo. That is a lot to take in. Lindsay and all her friends have amazed me at the action they put in motion to help them so they are being taken care of, but a lost home during all of this just plain hard.

I mentioned our church small group meeting because we had put together this topic last night based around this idea that I found in a devotional.
"Let's choose to see inconveniences as an invitation to participate in God's plan." by Kayla Ferris
The devotional used the idea that you look at a favorite story in the Bible and look for two things. First, look for the "wonderful". This is anything that demonstrates the goodness and greatness of God. Second, look for the inconvenience. An inconvenience could be something difficult, painful or messy that takes place along the way. The author notes that in doing this exercise she began to notice that the path to wonder in God was often inconvenient.
She used the story from 2 Chronicles 9 of the Queen of Sheba to illustrate the point. Her points included that the trip to see King Solomon for answers was costly, long, and dangerous...completely inconvenient, but completely worth it. King Solomon answered all of her questions and she said to him, "Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on His throne for the Lord your God!" The Queen of Sheba gave credit were credit was due and and witnessed the greatness of God.
Now, I know I am totally watering down and simplifying all of this, but I thought it worth noting that was the topic and I feel I know how to pray for Lindsay's friend and her little family.

The devotional went on to say that is hard to be inconvenienced, but often it is that pain or inconvenience that brings us into the wonder of God.  I do pray that for L & T!

We gave our small group an assignment to share their favorite story next week looking for the wonderful and the inconvenience in the story. I look forward to their response, because we can all use reminders that God is in control in times that make no sense at all.

IF you made it to the end, please say some prayers on this national day of prayer along with many others for our nation.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Do Over on the Finish

I am popping back in to show you the different trim on redbird. I didn't hate the blue I used, but it simply wasn't quite right either. It wasn't a hard fix, so I took it off and lived with it a day and a half with nothing. I laid different things on it from stash... some lace, different blue trims, some different flosses including DMC 221 which was the substitute for the fancy floss and the one I ended up having to use to finish out the red bird.

Now, I ALMOST left it with nothing. I really liked the fabric and it went well with the red. Hubby seemed to like the cording with the red, so that is where I landed.

You know I think in my head originally the redbird and the bluebird were going to be displayed together, but after pulling out the finishing materials they took on a life of their own which is just fine. I ended up loving both separately. They didn't need to be on display together. Redbird is still sitting in my sewing room because we went to Auburn this weekend. He will find a perfect vignette location this week.

We went nowhere but our home. We ordered meals with apps so it was strictly just a go check on the house and a different setting.

Both of my kids were alarmed by the number of people who flocked to the beach this weekend. Both were headed that way and ended up not going because it was so crowded and not with locals either. I hope we don't have a spike. It hasn't been all elderly who have tested positive around here, but I think all of the deaths have been elderly. Quite sad.

I am making this a quick post, but will be back later with an update on other stitching I am working on...bluejays and more
AND some new flowers to be potted.

Stay safe and keep praying for our country,