Sunday, April 23, 2023

Yardwork, Neighborhood Scenes and More

 I am a nature watcher and one of the coolest things in nature occurs here in spring. It is the live oaks and their process of shedding leaves and bringing forth new ones. They do all of it in a span of about 3 weeks while never being completely bare. The process usually starts in March and is finished about halfway through April. You will notice more leaves on the ground than usual and when you look up you notice a lighter green color and over the course of 3 weeks they completely revamp themselves. I always find it completely fascinating while there are those who it upsets greatly. My neighbor is one of those people. I will show you some pictures and you can decide where you will fall on the spectrum. 

Below is a driveway picture if not blown off regularly for the 3 weeks. At any given point during that time period, you will see lots of brown leaves or just some, and then you will see towards the end of the process those little brown seedy things. I like to call them worms, but I think the correct word for them is catkins.

Those little brown worms might be the only part I complain about because I really love the live oaks. They are truly what makes my neck of the woods iconic. Back to those worms, they will stick to you like magnets and they love pets. Then they always lose their magnetism once you have arrived indoors and then proceed to be little grains of seeds all over the floor. This part usually only lasts about a week, but like clockwork at the point where there are the most of them possible to be on the ground it will rain and they will stain your driveway, so that if you are one of those people who must have a pristine white concrete driveway then you will find yourself very unhappy. I however, am not of those people who likes a pristine white concrete driveway. I like my home to look like we have been there a while.

This is what the cut-de-sac looked like yesterday morning with the "worms" and last of the leaves on the pavement.

 The leaves aren't completely filled in on the older ones. 

In some sad news, we did lose the lemon tree. It was heartbreaking to pull it up. 

Jeff had cut most of the top of it and then used the truck to pull it out. 

We have planted a new one. This variety should be much cold hardy than the Meyer Lemon we had.

This variety is called a Harvey and hopefully it will never see temperatures like the Christmas Deep Freeze we had. It is small but the fun begins of watching it grow.

I got my pine straw out in my sideyard and planted a couple of day lilies in said side yard as well as some angelonium and vincas in my garage wall pots. The picture of the garage wall is not staged - it was taken while I was working.

I love watching the plants fill in and get big and happy. Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. There is so much work to do, but I enjoy it. 
Pressure washing is on the list up front and there is tons on the back to do, but Jeff and I have learned to do a manageable amount each weekend.

Downstairs, I painted a table.

It was white and is at least 39 years old. It looked terrible so I painted it to give it new life. The chairs are almost kaput, so I am going to add some of the ones they usually have on the front of the store at Lowes...the canvas ones with the darker metal frames.
Do you see all the leaves, straw and catkins that need sweeping up on the deck. There is a live oak on the back of the house as well. Lots of pressure washing needs to happen too. We will be getting a new seawall soon and I really can't even imagine how it is going to look because it will be higher than the old one.

Now, remember the house across the water that was being built. It has taken f-o-r-e-v-e-r. They finally put in grass on Friday, so I thought I would share the new look across the bayou. They are still working on the landscaping, but here is the progress. 

Regular view from my deck and then a ...

zoom view.

Next door to me outside the cul-de-sac are two cottages on prime real estate. I am glad it has been left like the old days for the 39 years either we or my in-laws have lived in our present home. 
The cottages have been updated and look so cute. I thought you might like a peek.

This one was a sage green and got a pop of blue. It looks great. 

The one closest to us was changed from a bright yellow to white and cute wooden shutters were added all the way around the cottage. They removed the front door and made an entrance on the side.

They put in green doors on the white one. It really is adorable.

Both cottages are owned by members of the same family. 

That is it for the neighborhood. 

A few pictures of Lindsay's house. I won't show all just a few more of the new colors. I had already shared the new colors in a previous post and a few of the rooms.

The living room is all set again.

Here is the dining room.

Here is the master bedroom with the darker bedroom wall color.

They are proud to be back at home and settled once again.

That is all I have for today. I have been stitching and reading, so I will share more of those hobbies another day.

Happy spring days,

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Stitching: Now and What's on the Radar

 I mentioned sometime ago, that I had changed course on what I wanted to stitch. I am not over samplers by any means, but I am going veer away from them for a while. When I return to them, the factors that will draw me in are: a Bible verse, patterns that lend themselves to being personalized (like A Thirsty Hart did) and size (no more gigantic ones). 

I have had a few new ideas on my radar, and I watched a video that just set those ideas in motion - well, somewhat.

After watching the video, I spent an afternoon in my little room and emptied some project bags and stored those projects away and did some thinking. I packed away Let Freedom Ring. I have lost all interest in it and just can't get it back. I literally may take part of what I have and cut and make a drum from it. I am going to sit on that idea for awhile. I have several sampler patterns that I am just storing for awhile. I will give myself time to ponder it all.

What projects are taking my time these days? For one, I am continuing with my one Christmas ornament per month. I am having fun using up the little pieces of linen and patterns. I think this is a worthy project to keep doing. This month's selection is one I have done before. Flamingle Jingle will be added to the basket for April's ornament when I get a moment to finish it.

I pulled out an old pattern and started stitching some sunflowers. The pattern is from July/August 1992 Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazine.

I plan to stitch this into a pillow. I debated long and hard about doing the sampler, but I really love the sunflowers and think the pillow will be just the ticket. It calls for French knots in the center of the flowers. I loathe doing French knots, so I am going to do some beads instead, but will have to wait until I am finished with all the stitching since I am a hooper. 

On a side note  about stitching smalls, I have found I just don't like a lot of stuff out in the living room, especially. I have however, found that I love it all tucked around in my shelves in the sewing room. It doesn't feel like clutter in there, whereas it feels that way in the living room. I just love moving it all around in there and play around with them all the time. I do keep one small item in the living room and one in the kitchen, but most of my smalls are on display in the sewing room. This sunflower pillow will be the perfect size for several places such as my church pew and an antique rocker in the dining room among a couple of choices.

I will still throw in a small seasonal item to stitch with my plans. I don't need anymore fall things, but those always catch the eye.

Now, to the thing that has been on my mind for ages and the video that started it. 

I am finally going to put the head ideas on paper and make it happen. I watched Deb of Country Stitchers who is normally on with her friend Liz. I like both, but their videos are so so long. It takes me days to watch one as I usually only have about 20 minutes at a time to give to Floss Tube. I will say I don't watch FT all that much because of time, but also it makes you buy stuff:) I have learned to write down the things I like and wait and usually the urge to buy will pass. Actually, almost always! Deb stitches things I like and I love her home. If I lived in the country, I would love a log cabin like hers, but I will say I could never have as much stuff as she has. I love it in her house, but to actually live in that much would send me over the deep end. Remember, when country style was all the rage in the 80's. I learned a lot about myself then. I liked the look in magazines and in the summers when I was home from teaching I would try and replicate the looks, but come time to go back to school it would all have to go. Trips to Goodwill would be made. I was like that in the classroom as well. I can get to thinking I need what I see, but in reality it is not what I can live with. I just don't like a lot of what I call visual clutter. I know that amount is different for all. I like the look and Deb's home is just beautiful, but my reality is I like a little more streamlined look. Not a minimalist though.

On with the inspiration video...Deb shared her bedroom and the hallway outside it and I loved all the stitching. My wheels were turning.

The first thing is something she has shared before, and I have had it on my mind for a couple of years. I am going to make it happen. Here is an inspiration picture from the video.

I do not want to do a Christmas village, but a "my town" stitch. This has been in my head for ages. I know that it will be hard and take a long time, but in the next 2 months I am going to start this project. My vision involves stitching the buildings of downtown Fort Walton Beach. I want to include many of the store fronts that lined the downtown area in the 70s and 80s. I have been collecting pictures from them for a while. I have my graph paper ready to start planning it. 

I want to include the old school building that is now moved a block away and the Indian Temple Mound, the Tringas Theater, the jewelry store, the clothing stores, the newsstand, etc., so I am thinking there will be 2 to 3 different framed pieces when I am done way way way down the road.

I am looking forward to the project.

I think that between Christmas ornaments and the other items on my radar that I have pulled out that I have a stitching plan. There were 3 other things in that video that have inspired a project that is in the works over here. I sent Deb a message that she had inspired me. Never enough time for my favorite hobby. 

Then- there is finding time to putter in my flowers and read. I am never bored.

I didn't sleep last night because the wind was howling on the bayou last night. There was a tropical low sitting just off Pensacola so we were getting lots of wind all night. I hope this is not what we will deal with all summer. I think the news has really been covering all the rain the peninsula got from it, but it was quite windy here.

I will stop there. I have so many other things I am wanting to work on and one that I am actually trying out, so more to come later.

Happily stitching,


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Life Lately and Easter

Time is traveling at supersonic speeds these days. I am in such a busy season of life. I didn't imagine a decade ago that I would be so busy. I was still teaching and thought to myself, "I can't wait to retire from teaching, so I can slow down." I chuckle at that often. Teaching had an added stress that my busy days do not have, and I have no desire to go back. 

I was all rested from the week off for spring break. I had no grandsons to care for and Jeff and I had decided to just stay home and rest. I knew I would have all 3 boys on the Monday after, but it turned into 2 when the daycare that Tucker and Palmer attend was putting in new floors and didn't get it finished. I have no idea what working parents do who don't have a grandma to help out. The story got even crazier again.

Lindsay left here on that Tuesday afternoon to head home. When she got home she was in for a big surprise. Nothing bad like the first one, but a shocker anyway. I truly wish I had a picture for you to see. She FaceTimed me so I did get to behold the sight myself. Remember, they had new floors after a month of concrete and were now getting painting done. 

Let me back up for a minute. The insurance did come through and since Tyler works for a construction company he was able to get the most bang for the dollar. The flooring was practically free so he was able to get the whole house painted and new baseboards throughout and even add some shiplap to the walls in the kitchen and around the fireplace. 

Now, back to the story. On Monday, the painter came and they talked as best they could about painting. He was Mexican as many construction workers here are these days. She thought they were going to paint one room at a time, but these guys do big projects for the construction company, so they envisioned their normal routine. WOW WEE... When she walked into the house on Tuesday, every single thing was off the walls, the closets were emptied, etc, and all of the furniture and ALL of that stuff was moved to the center of each room wrapped heavily in plastic. The new floors were covered in plastic. If you haven't guessed by now, they would be spraying. Anything white would be first, anything that was one of the two colors they chose would be next and then the final color. In other words, you had to move out again.

Tthat evening they drove back here and trudged in to spend the rest of that week here trying to make do with little clothing. While they were on their way here, I sent Jeff to get lunch stuff for them and then I remembered Palmer had lost one of his shoes here that day. Jeff then proceeded to go to Kohl's to buy a new pair of tennis shoes, while I prepared the beds. The funny thing is I had been downstairs the day before letting the boys run around and Tyler got up the next morning early to take a shower and found the missing shoe in the shower downstairs. Palmer got a new pair of shoes anyway because the others were getting small. 

Now, in as much as all that crazy story that is just a sampling of the crazy busy life I lead, there have been many blessings too. For one, the flooring that covered their whole house being leftover in a warehouse in Pensacola from a project that all was needed was to get a trailer and go pick it up. That shaved off a lot of money and let them get the whole house painted. They chose a different color since the flooring was darker than their original.

I will share pictures when all is back in order completely. They have had so many life interruptions. The week that was all happening was the week Lindsay puts on a huge job fair for the school district. Folks, nothing is ever smooth sailing over here. I think people don't know because we are a family of doers and we don't whine, so most would never know that week was such a crazy one.

Here is a sneak peak of Lindsay's home. You can see the colors. The main areas got Sea Salt on the walls and the bedrooms got Oyster Bay. New tile around the fireplace.

Palmer's room was put back together first because it was easy and he had to go down first. The Oyster Bay is so pretty on the bedroom walls. 

Now, we can move on to other things. The weather is all over the place. It has slowed me down this year on my outdoor projects. It seems like every weekend is rainy or cool. It also seems like I have more to do this year than usual with the colder winter we had in December. Much more has needed attention. I know I will get it done eventually.

I have only managed to get straw down in the front 2 flowerbeds. There is much more to do. Notice the cloudy.

The next photograph was taken a little later than the one above and shows that the bottlebrush have exploded with color. I really thought some of them might be dead, but I finally pruned them and they just popped.

The daylilies and magnolias are all starting their shine. The magnolias are already just showing off or completed loaded with their flowers about to open. Just beautiful. The spring thus far has been cloudy so many days. If the sun pops out, Miles and I spring into action to go for a stroller ride.

I planted more roses in pots on the lower deck this year and I am already getting to have cut roses on the kitchen counter. 
This makes my heart sing with joy.

Proof that Palmer seems to like to pull one shoe off and then not know where it is.

He is our little blonde boy. 

I will save the stitching for later since this has been a long post.

I have been busy with so many things. We lead a Bible Study at our home on Wednesday evenings. We are getting ready to lead a group at church on Sunday mornings that is for those that have questions about faith. It lasts for 5 weeks, so I will lead that with Jeff and teach my littles and watch the service at home for those weeks. Easter was just amazing

On Good Friday, I put my phone and computer mostly down for the weekend to just soak up the wonderful thing my Savior did for me. I could almost tear up in a good way counting my blessings.

I will share far too many pictures of my family for Easter and catch up with everyone. I don't read as many blogs as I once did or comment like I should, but you know what...I can't get this time back as it flies so fast and these little boys won't be little long.
T-ball, working in the yard, church, seeing about Mama, cooking, cleaning, reading and a wee bit of stitching keep me hopping in a good way.

Palmer was not feeling the picture taking vibe.

Notice he has on one shoe:)

We used the timer for this one.

Oh and the kids took their picture together at church.

I will try and get back with a stitching post soon.