Sunday, October 22, 2023

Stitching and More....

 First up is October's Christmas ornament. This one may be my favorite this year. I have made all of the ornaments this year into flats, but this one I did into a pillow. I noticed that the pillow is not any heavier than the flats, so there may be more before the year is over.

The pattern came from the latest Christmas Just Cross Stitch magazine. I just love the little cardinal.

Here it is hanging.

The next picture shows the backing fabric. The trim is some rick rack from the With Thy Needle and Thread's Country Store. I have a lot of it and every single thing I have ever used it on, I have loved it.

I have also started my Florida sampler. I ran into a color issue right away and knew I had to adjust. 

This little oranges look like pumpkin spice colors rather than citrus oranges. I stitched them and immediately knew this wouldn't do. I bought an orange to bring home to look for new colors. I brought out lots of colors laying them across my orange. Some interesting notes... the above orange is organic and shows what a Florida orange looks more like here fresh from a tree. Of course, they might not be that perfect in color fresh from the tree. The tops are lighter near them stem getting the sunlight and the bottoms are a little darker. The pattern maker had that concept right, but just not the coloring. Now, I have seen oranges that more like an orange crayon color. In fact, I saw some in Target yesterday. I know they have to have been messed with in some way because they are all one color not as I describe with the tops and bottoms. Since the above picture, I have been working on the ones coming down the left side with different colors. I couldn't use the colors that matched the above orange perfectly because on the linen they looked like lemons, but I have played around a bit more and think I have found a color match that I can live with.

BTW, that orange was delicious and I have been on an orange kick for the past few days.

I also have stitched on the tree so there will be more to show next time. I am changing it up a wee bit too. The Spanish moss has to be just right since I walk out my door to that daily.

Gardening Time...

I did find orange pansies and planted 2 pots of them to go with my blue/purple ones. Pansies are just such a happy flower. I am drawn to them every time I walk out and they lift my spirits when I drive up or walk back in the circle. My pictures are from a week ago. They are really popping now and will fill out the pots in another week.

In the blustery wind the other night, one of my begonias was laying over pretty good, so I snipped that stem and added it to some of my roses for a pretty vase of goodness.

The weather this past week was just perfect. Cool mornings and then the most pleasant days. The next picture is just some wildflowers in the neighborhood. Just so much goodness all around.

One morning I went out to water the roses and decided to capture the sunrise. I absolutely never take for granted this view. I am so blessed to live here. I love the coast. I was made for it.

Such tranquility in nature in the early mornings.

To finalize this post I have some family pictures. Tucker is 5. How can he be 5? Does anyone who has read this blog since he was born believe he is 5 already?

We celebrated on his actual birthday with supper and cupcakes.
I made this picture but Lindsay edited it and I think it is just about perfect.

There are many so I am just going to share a few. 

Lindsay and Tyler were with Tyler's family out to eat this weekend and captured this family photo. It is a good one.

Today at Tucker's friend party at the park Lindsay got this one of Paul Allen and Katie with all the boys.
Another really good one...

Tucker had a monster truck themed party. I made cake and cupcakes and Lindsay made a cute sign plus she had the tables all cute with the theme.

A friend of a friend knew two guys who have jacked up trucks that look like real monster trucks. They came by with them to the park and the kids got to go out and see them. It was a big hit.

And because my heart is ... oh just because....

And that is it for this post. 

Happy Fall,

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Thursday's Treasures: Art


For this treasure post that I am mostly writing for my kiddos, I am sharing my dabbling in art. I heard someone say this in a teacher workshop once when trying to choose a favorite subject.... "I am the jack of all trades, but the master of none." I immediately popped up to look over because that is me. I have so many likes and am eclectic in many ways. The one thing I like that probably never wavers is traditional home decor with a wee bit of country for whimsey, but country can be cluttered in my own home and that drives me nutty, so mostly traditional. This jack of all trades thing explains my choice of favorite subject as I can make a case for all of them and my choice of reading material which is all over the place.

How did my venture into art go? Great, but again not a master. It all started around 7th-8th grade when I broke it to mom that I would NOT be taking any more piano lessons. Now, I was absolutely positive I wasn't going back, but you never told Mother no, so I presented her with a well thought out plan of how I had no real talent in it and the teacher recognized it and it was agreed upon by us both. I promised to continue practicing, but that I could only read notes. I heard nothing and was never going to go past a certain level. I kept my word and dabbled in piano playing on many days without the stress of going to an awful lesson. 

Then my mother went to some meeting at a ladies house at church and discovered that she taught art lessons in her private studio out past her garage. Her wheels began to spin and so art lessons began. If I remember correctly, I took art for 2 years and I really liked it although there was no doubt in my mind that I was again mediocre and that there was REAL talent in the room. I was always ok with that. I worked hard at everything I did and excelled enough to be recognized for hard work, but I was never really talented at anything. I think it is still the same today. Jack of trades...master of none. That is not all bad. I think it makes for well rounded if you really want to know!

The woman, Mrs. Gillis that taught the art lessons in her home took a shine to me and we became good buddies. She is a huge part of my faith story, but that would be another story. 

The way it went down in her studio was that there were kids all around doing different things and she would get you started on something you were interested in and you would work on that project until completion. She liked for you to complete your masterpiece and then she showcased it by having her husband frame it.


My second project was the oil still life you see above. What you can't see behind this framed still life is a blue ribbon. Yep, you read that right - a blue ribbon. 

Mrs. Gillis had an art show each year at the public library there in Brewton...might I digress another moment and tell you how much this girl loved the library. We moved to Brewton from the woods right outside there when I started 6th grade and it was my first experience with a real library. I had gone to a rural school with a book mobile which I can tell you now was amazing too, but a real walk in library where you could browse and touch the books to your heart's content was so special. I would have Mom drop me off every week and tell her to go run errands while I browsed. I was an avid reader and it was just so special. OK, back to the art show. 

She would have the local junior college art teacher come and judge the material giving ribbons to each medium of work. I remember as my mother and I entered the library to see the art show thinking that I hoped my work didn't look too dorky up next to the older kids' works. I had a charcoal drawing which had been my first work and the one above there since I had only been going to lessons awhile. I think Mrs. Gillis might have helped on the apple in the charcoal. I knew there were really talented kids in the class, but remember my teacher had taken a shine to me and just seemed to like me a lot. She gave lots of encouragement.

I walked down an aisle or two and then I spotted the blue ribbon. I was speechless. For a moment in time I could only be happy and proud and Mrs. Gillis was right behind me to share in it all. Then Mother.    

I was soaking up this moment when I spied Jack who was older and so very talented. The kind of talent that you take out a canvas and whip up goodness without even thinking. He didn't say one mean word, but his face said it all. How could some little middle schooler get first place in this category with that. He was devastated. My happy moment kind of dimmed. 

There is a photograph with me standing my first place painting. I am not knee deep in photo albums, but more like chin deep right now. I actually think that album is mom's assisted living apartment so maybe one day I will remember to take a picture of me back then and post at a later time.

The thing is I didn't feel any animosity towards Jack for his facial expression. I understood! He was way more talented than me. In this one and only painting I had gotten the color mixing right ---maybe needed a little help with the shapes, but I had learned to mix colors and shade which I still use to this day in things. An art teacher just noticed that and like a teacher recognized it. 

I did go another year before Mrs. Gillis decided to hang up teaching herself. I painted the landscape that hangs in our Auburn house. I don't have a great picture of it, but it is one I also love and am proud of. 

I painted a pair of spaniel pups in a basket that my aunt has at her house. They are definitely amateur hour because I could NOT paint the eyes. My last thing was the magnolia that I wrestled away from Mom when we moved in to our current house. It is done in oil pastels which may have been my favorite medium. 

I never did any formal art again, not even in high school when they began to offer art as an elective. I think I had told myself there wouldn't be a Mrs. Gillis lifting me up, but rather just a busy teacher looking at the really gifted kids. I think I understood that too. 

I have always loved art, but I don't think I am missing anything (jack of ALL trades). I kept the oil pastels and used them to make some wonderful bulletin boards. I took pictures of things and blew them up using the overhead projector and colored them in with those oil pastels and shaded them just right. Then I would run them through the laminator and that would blend them even more with the heat. See, I did use the talent. 

The charcoal and the oil painting have been at Mom's house for decades, but they have now come home with me. I have to find a place for the charcoal piece...for now, the closet will have to be its home. I did learn to sign my name small by the end:) 

And this explains why there is a 1st place Blue ribbon taped to the back of the oil painting.  I am proud of it and sorry that Jack didn't get the recognition he deserved, but I am sure there was a lesson in there somewhere and with his talent I have no doubt he got plenty of recognition down the road. 

Monday, October 9, 2023

Stitching, Reading and Puttering in the Flowers

Stitching has taken a back seat lately, not by choice but more by necessity. A couple of weeks ago I really decided I had to add it back. I stitch in a hoop and that stabbing that needle down through the linen and back up is a soothing movement, so I will share some of what I have done. I love reading and puttering in the flowers and cross stitching. All 3 of those hobbies have been neglected as of late, but when I do any of them they bring joy. 

For awhile, my mind was so scattered so the stitching was all over the place as well. I started a little summery piece and put it away, then started another summery piece and actually got a good start on it. That is the following picture.

Then I really wanted to do that idea that has been in my head forever to stitch my little town like the Christmas towns I have seen done. I started the first little palm tree and then had to put it away. That one will really have to stay down until I get some more settled days. I will keep it in my head until then.

I did manage to push out another Christmas ornament for the Stitch Along. The following picture of Santa and his toy sack is from the famous Christmas book that I have used so much. This one is for September. I need 3 more to have my 12 for 2023.

The next picture shows the backing fabric. With all of these ornaments I am using stash.

My plans for the ornaments all along were to be used for gifting, so I want to keep it up!

Then in all my scattered state of mind, a new sampler came out called "A Florida Sampler." It sparked a memory from a page in a book I read earlier this year about the local area called This Is Your Life by Walter H. Reddick, Sr. I loved that book so much. The author describes in great detail the bayous of Choctawhatchee Bay and even our own bayou. Here is a diagram from the book which was in Destin on Choctawhatcheed Bay. 

The book reminded me so much of my own ancestors who lived along the Alabama / Florida line and probably experienced much of the things as this author's life.

As soon as I caught a glimpse of the new sampler, I wanted it and had ideas of personalizing it some for here. Oh so many things to stitch and so little time and for right now a very scattered mind. I have stitched an orange blossom to start. 

The sampler will be my large project and the ornaments my small quicker things as time allows and energy to stay up at night.

I have been just as scattered in my reading with multiple books started. Yep, I am having trouble concentrating, but I also feel a little more peace settling over me too. That would be the Holy Spirit comforting me. The world is as crazy as ever, so we need some diversions don't we?

Speaking of the world...hope your family tight!!!

Let me go off on a tangent before I share a book. Tucker will start kindergarten next year and back in the early spring Lindsay was all aflutter about his preschool. When he started daycare at almost age 2 a church right near her office opened up a daycare. It has been convenient but also a wonderful little place for the boys, but they never were able to put together their final piece which was a real preschool experience for that last year before starting school. Lindsay and the other mamas in Tucker's class began looking around and one of the mamas that lives in the actual community came up with another idea. A church that actually has an elementary school was the solution and so the mama went to work to get Tucker and her son enrolled. It means Lindsay has 2 drop offs but they are on the way to work and not hard to get in and out of. Palmer goes in with her every morning and helps get Tucker's things all unpacked. She says it is quite a scene. Lindsay has been able to pop in a few times and read to the children. It is all going wonderfully, but here is the story....when we went to the zoo last month Tucker showed off his new ability. He can say the Lord's Prayer all the way through all by himself. He has learned so much in addition to the Lord's Prayer. Such a blessing.

Back to books. I read a lot of nonfiction so there is no issue having multiple books going, but I have been challenging myself to escape in fiction more; something I once loved doing. When a friend suggested a book I looked on the Libby app to see if the library had it. They had both the written version and audible version. I opted for the audible version and am really loving it. The only thing is they pronounced Biloxi, Mississippi wrong:) All the ways we pronounce our little towns and locations are a need for a post of its oqn. In fact, I would venture to guess that 75% of those of you reading wouldn't pronounce the bay that I live on correctly. There are so many places that the locals have put their own special spin on. Anywho, the book is quite good thus far, so if I think it is worth noting I will share the title later.

I also planted some pansies in one pot. I chose some that I would call blue. You may remember last year there were no pansies to be found which I think was due to the hurricane that hit Fort Meyers. I finally found some orange ones and ended up falling in love with them. Now, I want more orange and I don't know if they will be here this year, but these blues ones are sure pretty. I put some marigolds in the swans since the geraniums gave up the ghost in the hottest summer ever. 

I will share pictures of my flowers later as this is about all the time I have for.

Adding back the hobbies even though life is completely chaotic and full is important too. Even if I don't have much time it feels good to add it back to my days. 

Mother fell twice this week. Only one required a doctor visit, but she is getting so feeble. Taking it as it comes and leaning on Jesus. 

We had our first cool autumnal day with temperatures yesterday. It was so nice. I have much to do so hug your family and count your blessings....Sandy

Monday, October 2, 2023

A Weekend Away

 The family had a lovely weekend which is all I have to share this week. I really had planned a post about that oil painting I shared the other day and a wee bit of stitching, but I can't pull them off. Time is truly limited these days. However, the family slipped away for the weekend and it was a nice time. Not restful...not with 3 boys and 4 dogs. I wouldn't call it a lazy weekend at all, but lively and fun.

The kids and us all slipped off from work early on Friday and arrived in Auburn in time to go get pizza together. Yours truly took no pictures. My mind just couldn't keep up, so thankfully the girls and Jeff did take some. We missed an opportunity to get a big family picture together, but with 3 active boys and the dogs (one of which kept trying to escape - not Gus) I think we just rolled with the time.

The pizza place was on the quieter side of town. We love one downtown, but you couldn't get anywhere near it with Georgia being in town.

There was lots of playing outside. The boys loved the wagon. Palmer would pull it and Miles would get behind and he thought he was pushing. They worked together well. It was too warm for fires, but yet it was beautiful weather this weekend. It put me in a fall mood finally.

Here is one of them actually getting a ride.

Saturday morning the girls got this sweet picture of the boys all in their Halloween pajamas. 

In the second one, Miles is lifting his foot because he was about to be on the move.

Such joy they bring to my heart.

We sent the kids to the game together. It warms parents' hearts when your kiddos and their spouses have fun together. They pulled hard and I was so proud of Auburn. Much better vibes around town over last year. Rebulding will take time.

I timed the two little ones' naps to be at the same time and they both slept a long time, but I still had to play with Tucker. Lots of "so-called" ping pong. A lot of picking up the ball if you ask me. By the 4th quarter they were all up and Mimi had to watch because I never thought we even had a chance, so I had 4 boys tumbling all over me. Gus makes 4. If you look closely, he is holding his own with them.

Gus was a such a good dog all weekend. Maybe 6 years old was his magic age for being good:)

The next morning after Paul Allen and Katie left, Lindsay and I realized we had done an awful job with pictures, so one was captured of Mimi and PaPa and the older 2. 

I think the news from the previous post just hit us hard and we were happy to be together trying to soak up good and process things. We will be fine. Going to live the days well.

I do hope this week will give me some time soon to share some stitching and some other things. It is just busy with going and coming right now.

Not a restful weekend but a good one to set the mind on good things and embrace fall. Such a different look just 3.5 hours north of us. Sometimes I just need to go to Auburn this time of year to get in the fall mood. I am there.

See you soon hopefully,