Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Advent Calendar, Lemons, and an Astronaut

 I set a goal of completing the Advent calendar by the end of October. It is complete and has been given to Lindsay and family.

This was an ambitious project for my crafting abilities; something I learned quickly after starting. At one point, I was a little bummed and didn't think it would turn out too well, but I am pleased with it. At some point, you have to realize you aren't the craftiest person, but you can either buy something or enjoy the process of making it even with its flaws. 

The problem began with the linen being a tad stiff to make perfect little pocket squares. I loved the linen while stitching up the numbers. It has a metallic sheen to it and seemed like the perfect choice, but it was stiff and made it very difficult to make corners poke out no matter the poking and clipping.

While lining them and making the squares out of the stitched pieces I was quite discouraged, but I wasn't about to give up with all the stitching in the project. I got those all done which took a good bit of time to do and realized that I needed to come up with a plan to make up for the lack of uniformity needed.

I determined that I needed to mount them on rectangles to make up for the corners. Draw the eye away from the corners...was the plan.

I had originally planned to use the red tartan plaid because I really love a tartan plaid. I think I know why now...I found I have quite a bit of Scottish in me from my recent DNA test. Ha Ha! 

The plaid just seemed so busy with the stitching, so I made a trip to the fabric store and found a red and green fabric that were basically the same pattern with different colors and the plan came together then.

I thought the quilting process would be downfall on this project, but thanks to Youtube and the Missouri Star Quilt Company video on binding that turned out to be the easiest part and I procrastinated for no reason. Now, I don't think I will be taking up quilting anytime soon, but the video was very helpful.

I did hand stitch on the back to make it look neater. Again, I felt like everything else had to be really good to distract from the pockets not being even. 

I added a dowel painted silver and some ribbon, bows, and charms.

It is not perfect at all, but the finished product turned out much better than I was expecting and Lindsay likes it so that is what matters.

I finished it with two days to spare in the month.

Now, onto Tucker, the astronaut.

Lindsay found this outfit last year at Halloween at the most wonderful seconds store locally here. She grabbed even though it was way too big because of my love of space. She has tried for a month to get him to try it on. I have several pictures she sent me of him crying in it each time. She even went shopping two weeks ago for another costume since it seemed he was not going to wear it. 

He loves Paw Patrol and they found a cute costume, but the moment he found out it had a headpiece....well, Lindsay figured she was just wasting money so she didn't get anything. 

She had decided that if he didn't want to wear one she wasn't going to push it and he could just wear a Halloween shirt.

The day arrived and he wore it most of the evening and enjoyed it. They went to the two closest neighbors who had a treat for him and then they went over to a friend's house for the evening. Lindsay put some candy outside her house with a sign. Her neighborhood is one that lots would have come to since it is a sidewalk neighborhood, but not so much this year. 

Tucker has had very little candy in his life. Lindsay is all about him being healthy. He knew instinctively what the candy was all about and was quite interested in it. I Facetimed them later and he was still thinking about candy.

They just know! Paul Allen learned early on that it disappeared so he ate as much as he could sneak in his mouth before getting home. 

No mama or school teacher enjoys the sugar rush that follows.

He is the cutest astronaut I know. Spoken like a true grandparent.

And lemons. Tucker stayed with me on Friday. He had his Halloween activities at school on Thursday and I just needed a day of Tucker. We picked a 5 gallon bucket of lemons off the tree. They have come much earlier than last year. They weren't ready until early December last year. I don't really know what that means... An early winter and maybe an actual winter? Who knows? IT is 2020 after all. 

Either way, we pulled them off and he enjoyed putting them in the bucket. We then took some to the neighbors in the cul de sac. He LOVED doing that. 

We brought the bucket inside and I thought I would deal with them later, but he was not having that. He handed them to me one at a time to place on the counter. He likes doing tasks like this.

I picked another bucket today, so I would say the harvest this year altogether was 2 and a half 5 gallon buckets. It was less than last year. I will squeeze the juice in the next few days and freeze then in 1 cup containers. I had juice for quite a while last harvest.

I wish I had enough light and space in my yard to do an orange tree.

As with counting down the days to Christmas, I am counting my blessings. Being a grandparent is at the top of the list 

AND views like this. Full Blue moon tonight on the water.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Mostly Stitching Post

 I have been stitching away each evening. I have mostly worked on my two large pieces and I am loving both of them.

I am a long way from showing off a heron since I started at the bottom. You might think all this green and blue would be boring, but that would be quite the contrary. I have just watching this lily pad come to life

My lily pad is the one just under the white flower. Long way to go!

I have tried to do a page of each of my large pieces before swapping back and forth, but I got to the halfway on the lily pad and changed to my sampler. I think that will be my plan with the heavy stitching for the lily pads.

The sampler is just so pretty. I have stitched three pages with the exception of the wording. I think I am going to leave all of the words for the end. OF course, that could change.

My progress is making it to the bell.

I have truly enjoyed the stitching on both of these.

I stitched this turkey earlier in the year and finally put a finish on it. It is designed to be a circle. It is one of the hoop patterns. I have no idea what came over me to make it square, but I just decided he should be a square. I kinda like him squared. Tom Turkey got colorful feathers like he would have had on my classroom bulletin board.

I have also started about three Christmas ornaments. It is time to stitch one up. HOWEVER, I am not allowing anymore Christmas stitching until I finish the Advent calendar for Lindsay. I have the squares done. I need to put a backing on it. My goal is to finish it by Saturday. I will finish, but I must say I have learned a little lesson about my crafting abilities. -----They are not so good. I need to just purchase items such as this from now on and enjoy stitching things I can actually frame or make into a pillow or flat fold.

***Never too old to learn a lesson.

We took a quick trip to Auburn this past weekend. Mother went with us. It was a quick trip and nothing special took place. It rained for most of it, so we watched football and rested. I enjoyed the change of pace and location. The leaves are not changing yet. That is usually a couple more weeks away, but I always love going to Auburn in the fall. I will say it is oddly quiet. Auburn played away and rain had everyone inside. We did take a morning stroll downtown. I had hoped something Christmas ideas for the kids would pop out at me, but I didn't have much luck. 

I did enjoy the stroll though.

I planted my pansies and they are doing ok even though it is still quite warm. No pictures - too cloudy.

No surprise we are under a tropical storm watch.  I want it to go away, because I feel so sorry for Louisiana, but I don't want it either. The northern Gulf Coast is waterlogged. The water has not receded from the previous storms.

I have to drive Mom to Pensacola for an eye appointment this afternoon, but I am thinking we will be back before it starts raining and blowing IF it stays on its course as of this moment I am writing.

Hey. it is just an odd year! I think so many things are off even in nature. I look around and things are blooming early and other things are late. It is all OFF.

Lemons will have to be collected this week and squeezed for the juice. I love having my own lemon tree.

That is about all that is going on in my world. I feel like that is enough.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Thursday's Treasure: Baseball

 I haven't done a Thursday's Treasure post in a while, so in a moment I will share a story and a treasure about baseball. The World Series is upon us and my team didn't make it. The post might have been a wee bit more fun if they had.

My team is the Atlanta Braves. The Atlanta Braves came to Atlanta in 1966. That would have been a year after my dad, the baseball fan passed away. He gave me his gene for loving baseball. Now, his team was the New York Yankees. I hold a special spot for that team, but I would definitely choose the Atlanta Braves in a showdown. I think he would have too. The Braves were known as 'America's Team" in my teen years and beyond. We were able to watch them for all games in those days due to the cable channel, WTBS. The way my family figured...if the Braves were playing then there was something to be watched on TV. 

I passed on my love for the Braves to my son. Paul Allen grew up in the Braves good years of the 1990s. He lived, ate, and breathed Atlanta Braves baseball AND still does.

Before I get to my story, let me just say baseball is just part of our family's story. Paul Allen played starting with Tee-ball and Jeff coached. I was the team mom. Now, not all of that is good memories. Parents can be annoying and sort of suck the fun right out of things, but I tried to keep the focus beyond the park on the good times that it brought. 

Paul Allen was so excited when he started tee ball and found out his team name was the Braves. He was pretty sure he was a superstar.

Of course, I still have this shirt.

We followed Auburn baseball of course, and one of Paul Allen's favorite games ever was getting Tim Hudon's autograph. He was an Auburn pitcher who later went onto to pitch for none other than the Atlanta Braves.

Paul Allen collected Braves' baseball cards and has a few treasures of his own.

I always drummed up interest in my classroom with books that I read or had out for the students during the World Series. 

Last week our family was all excited because the Braves made it to the National League playoffs. All the way to game 7 we were hopeful, but it didn't happen. We will wait again for next year. 

I will pulling for the Tampa Bay Rays, the American League team. We have been to a Rays game as well. Many years ago, we went to a Tampa Bay game against the Detroit Tigers. I was pretty excited about seeing the Tigers because after all, Magnum PI liked the Detroit Tigers.

If I haven't lost you yet, I will share my treasure.

My dad loved the Yankees and of course when he was growing up it was full of iconic names. One name was Mickey Mantle. Right after I was married when we read newspapers, I found it odd but Mickey Mantle was coming to Fort Walton Beach.

Of all things, he was coming for a promotional for Lee Jeans at our local Gayfer's (a fantastic store that deserves its own post).

Now, I don't know how in the world Lee Jeans got him to do that or if that meant he had fallen in such status that showing up in FWB for Lee Jeans was a good thing, but EITHER way...

I meant to see him. Being summer, I was free for the day. I got there early and found that the line was forming but I was surely in a spot that assured me a chance to meet him.

I was poorly prepared for my meeting. I had a piece of paper. Others in line had baseballs and it was quite an event. Popcorn and hot-dogs were for sale. I didn't dare leave that line though. I managed to buy a baseball from the lady in front of me for a $1.00.

I eagerly made it to meet him and shared that my dad had been a big fan and that I had bought a ball in the line as I was not prepared. He was very kind and said I spent way too much money on it. 

Anyway -- it was a moment for just me. I am not sure my son will like it since it is a Yankee's player, but I think since he is named after my dad and loves baseball he will probably hold onto the treasure that I hold dear. 

I actually hold the story more dear than the actual baseball. The excitement of meeting Mr. Mantle and knowing my dad would have liked it meant more than the actual signature. 

Isn't that why we hold onto items...the memory associated with it?

My autographed ball is kept with a few other treasures that have their own story of my dad. I am showing you where it is located in my china cabinet. It has a fixed glass in front of it so the picture is awful, but I felt I would show its location first.

Here is the actual ball which is already fading.  Autographs fade but stories live in our hearts.

Let's play ball,


Monday, October 19, 2020

Tucker Turns Two

Tucker has turned 2. I can't believe it has been 2 years since a little bundle of joy made me a Grammie. It is one of my most precious titles.

Two is such a wonderful age for a birthday. They realize it is about them. I started getting excited for his birthday when we were celebrating mine back in September at Cape San Blas. He was sitting in my lap when the family sang Happy Birthday to me and he got so excited like he though it might be for him. Well he got his day.

His day was filled with a trip to pick out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch that a local church has each year. He had fun picking out pumpkins and Lindsay said he wanted to get them all.

After his nap, the family and a few friends attended his backyard party ---well food was in the house, but we all stayed outside. The weather could not have been more perfect Saturday.

Lindsay really had everything so cute. She went the Econo line for it this year, but honestly you would never have known. She had a friend take a couple of bags of balloons and form those impressive strings of balloons. 

She made cupcakes this year rather than a store-bought cake and a girl in the neighborhood makes the cookies like she ordered for my birthday. They are cheaper than a cake and are just adorable.

Tucker seemed to realize it was all about him and was super excited. He waited patiently for every aspect from blowing out a candle and finally getting to eat a cupcake to opening presents.

It is always fun to me to see how much Uncle Paul Allen interacts and loves on Tucker. Tucker loves him and Katie. Paul Allen had him banging on the table and chanting for cupcakes. Katie is a kid whisperer - period. Tucker just wanted to go and sit beside her.

I watched him when they came in making a beeline to get to them. Makes me smile.

He had both sets of grandparents and Mama too. He was all set for a wonderful afternoon of fun.

He is truly my gift of sunshine.

The theme for his party was boats, since he absolutely loves boats. He lives where he sees them everyday and he is completely fascinated by them. He drives over bridges everyday of his life and notices them. Of course, he has pretty much been on one on the weekends since he was about a 6 weeks old, so he should like them.

I took a cardboard box and made him a boat to play with until it tears up. I felt like my teacher days again.

AND one more...

The second birthday is in the books. 

Love being a grandma,

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Life Around Here

 I have almost stitched another page on Let Freedom Ring...

I say almost because I still have not made a decision about the area near bottom of those pages. There is some wording outlined in a fancy floss that I didn't get in my order. I may change the color and I may change the wording to do a backstitch rather than one over one. I am planning to go all the way across before I make the decision. It is such a pretty pattern and I have enjoyed it very much.

I think today I will pause and stitch an ornament maybe and then do a page on the heron.

I did stitch a Halloween piece. That was not in my plans at all, but I just felt like it when I saw this pattern. 

My next statement is going to sound bad, but it is meant in the most wonderful way. The hat reminded me of my mother-in-law. She always had a witch's hat that she wore on Halloween when the kids came over. Now, that is the most unlikely thing EVER for her. The first time we saw her in it we about fell over laughing. Anyway it was a cute thing and the pattern instantly made me smile thinking of her with Lindsay and Paul Allen. 

I did swap out my fall stitches for the last two weeks of October for now 4 stitches I have. They had all been in my sewing room but I brought out a couple for the bookcases.  I added a few new things to the coffee table. I do love a happy Jack-o-lantern.

I have been just home busy as a bee. I have been doing an extra measure of cleaning in each area as I go the past week or so and just being home has brought me peace. I have had the TV on very little ---honestly just quiet.

I have been walking each morning around 8:00, but today I am taking a break because the soreness from the weekend caught up with me. Up until a week or so ago I went at a different time everyday. I decided to stop that and just get it done early. The light is fading in the evenings and pretty soon I won't be able to go then.

You see all those concrete pieces? Jeff and I brought those from a nearby house where they had dug up their driveway to replace with pavers. That little area had a little trouble from the storms. There is no seawall on our neighbors property and the wave action knocked out our skirting for the deck. It actually got caught in our dock so it was mostly saved. Jeff put it back but noticed a hole had washed out just under the deck. He used all the tomato pot plants' dirt to fill it up and then put the boards back. 

We added the concrete for reinforcement. However, toting them down the hill caught up with me last night. I decided my body needs the rest today, so writing a post instead of my walk.

I also did some yard work and moved my geraniums from the back deck and added them to the front door pots. They just don't get the sun that they once did with the pine trees. The other plants are temporary

Can I just tell you I have a love/hate relationship with those pine trees? For one they have grown immensely since this house was built in 1984. They dump copious amounts of straw on my deck and scare the life out of you during a hurricane and YET...

They possibly block the house from other things during a hurricane and certainly possibly save the lower deck from maybe more wave action AND provide lots of pine straw for my front flower beds.

Anyway, they are a big part of my days and have definitely changed the lighting on the deck over the years so for now I am going to think on what I will put in the pots outside my kitchen window. Hmmm.

Tucker has been in quarantine which is up tomorrow. His teacher tested positive but no kids have had any problems...just been home which meant Lindsay has been working from home. Yesterday, she had an important Zoom meeting so he went to work with Tyler. 

Tyler said he loved watching the big trucks unload stuff so I think he had a blast.

Mother is having headaches so we have a telemedicine doctor appointment with her neurologist from Pensacola. I am actually so happy I don't have to drive over, so this may be one of the good things about the Big C.

In other news, our church is back in full swing - by full swing I mean every thing is opened. We are still providing online church, and I would say about 35% came back. I am not sure I have the numbers correct. 

Since my husband is an elder and we are good friends with the pastor I will tell you that church is no different than most of the country. Half want masks, half don't, pretty much every detail with the Big C is split down the middle. 

Anyway, I taught my girls for 2 weeks in a row. I am nervous. In fact, mid week I get down right anxious and then I look around at the world and I go try to teach my girls. 

I made some pumpkin spice blondies this weekend for Jeff. I hate anything pumpkin spice, but he said they were good. Here is the recipe I used. He chose white chocolate chips for his blondies.

Oh and for those of you who like home decor, Lindsay got a new piece of furniture. She replaced a bookcase on a long wall with this lovely piece. She has more plans for it, but this was right after she got it home. She wants to get a beach picture made into a 3 piece canvas to go on the wall.

That is about it in my world...

Grateful for my cave, AKA my home. The dogs and I enjoy our quiet days. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Hodgepodge Post

A little stitching first...

I finished flower #3. This one is the Cherokee Rose. Sorry for my blurry dark picture. I will do better soon.

There is another flower planned for a total of 4 and then I will share all and how I came up with the four flowers when I love ALL flowers.

Now, onto storms. Seriously 2020 ---just stop this nonsense! I am usually a positive person, but I am tired like everyone else of the crazy. No one on the northern Gulf Coast needs another storm. Saturday is at the anniversary for Michael over to our east. Those people would probably surely don't need one on the anniversary of a hellish night two years ago.

 To our west in western Louisiana they have had one already that was really really bad. However, I know from experience (Erin and Opal ---1995) they will come to the same place in the same year. Alabama and Pensacola haven't even gotten cleaned up from the devil, Sally. 

My street still has debris from it as well, but I drove to Pensacola yesterday for a doctor's appointment and trust me a storm in there would be disastrous. The street sides are loaded with limbs, logs, wet carpet and the like. I did hear on the local news this morning that they were sending out more trucks to try and get as much as they could up from over there.

I can't take my eye off of it because quite frankly the NHC has gotten intensity or landfalls right to well in the past two years. 

So, I am on full alert and ready to spring into action. I haven't pulled things in yet, but watching closely.

Now, onto another happier topic...PURSES.

Now, my philosophy has always been if you are feeling sad a new purse could do wonders for you. I lived by that sentiment for MOST of my life.  However, with retirement I quickly realized I didn't need to buy a new one every time I turned around. I did a post a while back where I pared them down to 10. Now, I don't have all those and I will admit I have a dozen, but that is it. You hear ---I mean it.

Seriously I can't even use 12, but some of them I have for sentimental reasons and with this story you will see sometimes it isn't a good idea to quickly get rid of things.

I pulled out one the other day when I was cleaning out a closet and pulled one out to get rid of, so that meant I could have a new one.

After some really long thoughts I decided on an eBay purchase. I needed a medium size more fall/winter purse. I have more spring/summer.

I ended up ordering one and get this...I had this same purse in the early 2000s. I got rid of it and kind of always missed it so when I saw this I knew I would like it. 

I don't think the picture does it justice, but it is in great shape and for $20 rather than a $100 + I was pleased. IT is clean and no wear. It has some leather fading, but very minimal.

I chose this one for its medium size.  It has three compartments.

I have actually been using a much smaller purse in retirement because if I travel I carry a tote bag with more stuff in it, but just around town I need my basics. However, with all those virus stuff I have my masks and hand sanitizer stuff so I felt like a needed a wee bit bigger than my smaller fall/winter purse.

Here is my small fall/winter purse.

I also have a large fall/winter purse, but things can get lost in the cave. This one is a knock off brand that I got at Dillards. I really like, but don't like those short straps.

I found the perfect purse a few years back. I have used this purse more than any other purse EVER in 60 years. I have written how I love purses several times on the blog. I loved a purse even as a very small girl...way better than a doll. You never saw me without one.

You can see my near perfect purse here. I still love both of the purses in this post.

One more topic before I start supper. 

I finally did a DNA test. I am completely overwhelmed with all the information that it sent ---not necessarily the test but the people who have contacted me and sent me further information. I will be down this rabbit hole a while. I really wanted to put a family book for the kids for Christmas. ---don't know it I will accomplish it.

One surprising thing...not a bit of Irish. Let's just say I feel like the guy on the commercial who thought he was German, but found out he was Scottish.

I have a lot of Scottish... 

Ok... I am shutting it down for the day. Need to go cook supper.

On a serious note, add the Gulf Coast to your prayers. I would love to see this thing just fizzle out and disappoint the Weather Channel.