Thursday, March 28, 2024

A Stitching Finish

 I completed the Ole Florida Sampler. True to being a sampler there are some imperfections, but I like it a lot. I will admit that the sampler pattern was one that I did not just get to sit down and just follow. I had to make color changes quite a bit and I also found the pattern hard to read. I think that had to do with the symbols or at least for me. Here it is all finished. 

I lightened the photos a bit so I think the coloring looks a wee bit off on the blog. The original pattern was a tribute to a Florida grandmother and therefore had her name, location and date. I still need to iron it good, but times is very limited so I am just going to run with it. 

Now for a few closeups and details about what I did. 

I changed the live oak a good bit and really liked how it turned out. 

The bears are probably my favorite piece of the sampler. 

I personalized it with the original name of our little town of Fort Walton Beach. It started out as a Civil War camp back in 1861 with no action. It didn't appear on any maps of Florida until 1911. In 1932, the name was changed to Fort Walton and in 1953, it became Fort Walton Beach.

I liked the little house. In fact, about 30 years ago, right outside the circle there was a similar house in the woods. The little area now has 3 homes on it, but for a very long time the little patch of woods with that house was a destination for all dogs on their neighborhood walks to do their business. It was not a happy day for the neighborhood pups when the lot was cleared and new homes built there.

The home also reminds me of a picture of my grandparents early home. I also added some curtains that weren't charted as a nod to my grandmother's curtains in the picture of their home.

I did changed the dirt to a more sandy color. It was charted as a red clay look which you need to go further north to see that.

When I first looked at the coloring of the cows I wasn't too sure about them, but upon a little more research I decided they were pretty spot on for the Florida Cracker cows. I looked a few pictures and stayed with the colors. One might not know that Florida is a big producer of cows.

The Florida Cracker or Florida Scrub is an American breed of cattle. It originated in Spanish Florida and later in the American state of Florida,[5][6][7] and is named for the Florida cracker culture in which it was kept.

I put our individual bayou since both of my kids have lived all of their growing up years on Don's Bayou. You won't see that name on anything other than a local map of Choctawhatchee Bay. Bayous are names given to all the nooks and crannies along the bay.

I have stitched on this pretty much exclusively since New Year's Day. In this stage of life that I find myself in, I have to tell you I have loved that. I like having something else I can go to if I get frustrated or mess up and need a break, but staying with the one stitch has been very comforting to me. I never knew people had lots of stitches going at the same time until I got back into stitching upon retirement from teaching. I had taken a break when kids got to the teenage years as life was so very busy. I think I may continue this approach. 

While I have 8 or 9 project bags containing things I very much desire to stitch I am thinking I will pull out the shells I had started and complete them next.

I hope to get the sampler all pressed and to the framer's next week.

This week has been way busier than even my normally busy weeks. Yesterday, I was feeling all the tension of it and not feeling like my mindset was where it needed to be for Holy Week, so I decided to stay away from all social media for the remainder of the week and keep all the time suckers in their place. I felt better yesterday when I decided on that.  

Tomorrow I will have all 3 boys because when you send little ones to wonderful church daycares and preschools they are off for Good Friday as they should be! I have a family reunion on Saturday and wasn't all that thrilled with the date, but I am going and will enjoy seeing family. Then Sunday serving so little ones can see the glory of Jesus and spending time with family.

Thankful for the Savior who leads my life,

Friday, March 22, 2024

10 Years

 March 22, 2024 AD

Today is an anniversary. I hit the publish button on this little blog 10 years ago. Time has flown by and I don't think the past 10 years have turned out at all like I planned when I hit that publish button 10 years ago, but God knows better than me what life is supposed to be like and that statement comes with ---a thank goodness He is control.

Before I address the anniversary and the fact that I am posting twice in one week, I will share my other little excursion for this spring break. The administrators from the school district chipped in and gave Jeff a gift certificate to The Grand Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama

I have had a much needed break with the last few days. I have rested and let my mind relax. I really really did and feel like I am ready to get back to all the tasks coming my way. 

I knew about The Grand, but honestly have never driven by it even though Lindsay and I have gone for many years at Christmas or Easter to shop in Fairhope. I am familiar with the area but just never checked it out. Wow, it was so nice and I really would love to go back when it is warm and utilize all the amenities. It is a beautiful resort on the Mobile Bay. The absolute best thing about it for me is that it is truly a place that looks like it is supposed to. Let me explain. Growing up just across the Alabama line from where I live in Florida now I know what this area is supposed to look like. The native plants and the look that is indigenous to the area. From Mobile to at least Panama City should look one way and unfortunately developers these days are trying to make northwest Florida look like south Florida. I love ALL of Florida but they most definitely have different looks from north to south. The Grand captured and has maintained the beauty of the area. 

Azaleas, live oaks, etc. Not palms.

The place is covered with the live oaks and the grounds of the place are immaculate.

Now Jeff is still dealing with his back and it was cold for our visit. I mean winter is holding on hard this year. I put my big boy pants on and bundled up and decided I would enjoy my trip over there despite Jeff not being able to walk with me or having to bundle up to stand the cold.

I took walks around the bay evening and morning and let nature soothe me.

The resort is on a point so the walk along the bay was long and enjoyable. 

We dined well. Our room was perfect. I fretted over the decision on whether to stay in the original older part or a bay front room. I ultimately chose the bay with a balcony and am glad I did since Jeff wasn't able to go on all the walks with me. We watched the sun fully set on the balcony and then watched the lights of Mobile appear across the bay.

Next up are views from the balcony.

We actually had a corner room on the far end so we could see out both the window on the back and side, so I chose well.

The beginning of the sunset.

As I said, we ate well and all of that was paid for too. Can't beat that.

This was a crab meat, spinach and artichoke dip that was amazing.

On our way home, we stopped in at the Southwood Kitchen in Daphne which was featured recently on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Let me just say if you ever over in south Alabama anywhere near Mobile or Baldwin counties run to this restaurant. Both of our meals were a 10. Sorry no photos to show you how tasty it was.

Mother turned 89 yesterday so I cooked her some fried catfish for lunch and made her brownies. The kids had already celebrated with her. 

Now, it is back to real life and lots of appointments. She has yet another procedure on her back this Monday and Jeff is waiting for an MRI appointment. He met with a spine doctor today. 

I enjoyed my trip to Auburn and Fairhope and in between both I have spent some good times strolling the neighborhood where I would venture to say we are having a spectacular azalea season. I think we may be past the chilly days now.

Now, what does one say when you have a blog anniversary?
I don't really have any words of wisdom today per se.

I often have so many words in my head and I honestly thought I would share way more than I have, but life has kept me very busy.

I really do want to get back to writing and sharing my thoughts more. Maybe that will happen, but I will let the Lord lead there too. I know my plate is full and I am in a season of life that has kept me busy. I am very blessed despite the troubles. It is important to focus on blessings rather than the interruptions. They will always be there. It can be just a mindset of looking for the good like birds singing and azaleas showing out. 

How much longer will I blog? No clue...that is up to the Lord. I do know that many have touched my life through blogging. I read for many years a blog called Clover Lane. The woman was such an inspiration on home keeping when I retired. I was sad to hear of her passing. I have learned so much from others and am grateful that they have shared their lives with us. 

Grateful and blessed for the many friends I have made in this little part of the world.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Spring Break

 My weekly post is late this week. I was trying for Thursdays, but schedules don't seem to work as well anymore for this schedule loving girl. There were some sick kids and spring break daycare closures that threw my schedule up into the air. I am grateful to help out the kids though.

March is being temperamental as always, but the cloudy rainy weather is still hanging on unfortunately.  I am hoping April Showers is really March Showers and May Flowers will really be April Flowers. 

In the meantime, we will enjoy the show of azaleas that are in full bloom all along the roads of the Deep South. 

I will type and share some of the ones I have captured in my own yard and down the street.

Jeff and I have been old people hobbling along this past week. I pulled a muscle most likely from lifting boys and Jeff has a pinched nerve that has been relentless. He will think it is about to let up and then he just stands up wrong and it starts all over. Mine is much better but he is still struggling. We have both been hunched over and slow walking all last week. It is a sight to behold. 

Palmer got a little sick and couldn't go to daycare for 2 days last week. He and Miles had a blast together. They really do seem to be fun for each other. Palmer felt bad but not really bad enough to play. He would be tired by the end of day. 
On one of the days while Miles was napping, Jeff took him to get Chik Fila and to a park to eat it. He asked a lot of questions and they drove around trying to let me rest while Miles was napping. That afternoon when Lindsay loaded Tucker and Palmer and headed for home, he told Tucker in a bragging manner that PaPa had taken him to Chik Fila for lunch. Lindsay said they hadn't really even gotten off my street. Little ones. OF course, Tucker was jealous.

Tucker got his chance though. Palmer made it back to daycare and Tucker's preschool was closed on Friday so we had him that day. I almost told Lindsay to let me have both of them. Miles was not with us that day as spring break started early for Katie on that Friday. We decided Tucker should have his own special day with Mimi and PaPa. He soaked it all up and got Chik Fila as well.

Jeff and I went to Auburn for the weekend. We did very little as both of us were hobbling, but peace and quiet were in order. I finished a very good book. I read a lot but don't mention the books unless they are worth the read by someone else. 

May years ago, I read The Three Miss Margarets by Louise Schaffer. I loved it and didn't know there was another book written about the trio. I found it at the library this month. It wasn't as good as the first but a fun read. It was called The Ladies of Garrison Gardens. Both are old books from almost 20 years ago.

The book that I loved was The Women by Kristin Hannah. The author has written many lately that have been coming up in feeds but I just hadn't read one. This one caught my eye because many were discussing it but mostly because it was about the nurses of The Vietnam War.  I really liked the book. I thought she captured the times well and after I read it I looked her up and she is 11 days younger than me. I thought to myself -well that is why she captured it well for ME anyway. 

I am still stitching away on my Ole Florida Sampler. I think I have about 1-2 weeks of stitching left. It is close. I have really enjoyed stitching it and I have enjoyed not switching up things too. I restarted this one in midNovember of '23 but didn't start exclusively stitching on it until the 1st of January.

The railing was built last week too. It looks amazing.

It will age in color pretty quickly. I told Jeff 9 years is a long time to make a decision. He didn't believe it had been 9 years, so I had to show him. He got quiet on that one. 

I will say no one has come along in our talks that could do it to this precision on the stone and tile, so the wait was worth it.

Jeff and I are headed out on one more excursion this week. I will share it next week. Praying he can enjoy it since it is too late to cancel it. We may just be sitting and staring at the bay that we are headed to or if we are lucky we can do a few visits to good eating places and a few antique stores. 

Plugging along in life, but I make a point each day to focus on the positive and the good things. It has truly helped my outlook!!!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Home Sweet Home in the Spring

 I finally got some sunshine and warmth. I have completely soaked it in. Yesterday, as soon as Miles went down for his nap I quickly mopped the kitchen and went to sit outside on the back deck. The sun was shining and the sun felt so good. I was like an alligator on a log. 

I will share my view and my thoughts while soaking it all in.

That pine tree to the right and I have a love/hate relationship. It drops so much on my decks. Right now it is those little worms. They are everywhere. It basically sits in the water, and I have worried more than once that it will fall right into that kitchen during a hurricane. On the other hand, I have wondered if it doesn't act like a shield for the flying things in a storm. 

Here's the deal I have no control over any of it.
It does provide shade and it has survived a lot of storms in its life, so I do my best not to give it too much grief over all the mess it makes.

I moved the geraniums over to enjoy a bit of those sunny skies too. One of them was falling over due to the wind that had come in earlier in the week. Is March 4th and 5th too late for March coming in like a lion?

Here's the deal with March.... It is magical in one sense, because everything is coming back to life but I think it and December are the most unpredictable and wild months for weather here in my little corner of the world.

Do you see that beautiful blue sky? 

That live oak on the left is about to undergo a major change. Between now and the first of May it will lose all its leaves and yet never be bare. Oh the deck will be covered in so much stuff, but I wouldn't change a thing. I love watching it all happen.

Today after taking Mom for an appointment I came home to a little one who wasn't interested in a nap so he and I sat outside in the front yard. He and Gus had a blast together collecting sticks.

Spring is showing up around the home and in the neighborhood. I took a few photos this week of all the things. I love to look back at my blog to see if something is early or late or right on schedule

Down the street, I took this picture because the petals around it are as pretty as the blooms on the bush. The camellias have been pretty this year in my neighborhood and I think right on cue they are finishing up just in time for azaleas to be the star of the show.

For those that think I always have perfect flowers, let me show you the truth. The pansies have had a lackluster year. The only pot of the 3 that looks good is the ones front and center. Two things are going on is the light in this area has changed over the years with the growth of the trees. It gets less sunlight especially in the seasons other than summer.  The one closest to the house just fizzled out and got a disease which I think was lack of sun and so much rain. I didn't have to water all winter. 

They will remain there until April when I will replace with vincas.

The orange tree this morning is just covered with little buds for the blooms. They are beautiful when they open. All of those will not produce oranges because it is too small at this point. The lemon tree is ragged this year but has survived. It too is just too small, so I don't think we will have a large harvest in fall.

The other morning I went out to photograph my 5 roses downstairs. They are all sprouting and looking great. I can't wait for the first bloom. Out of all the signs of nature, I am thinking this one is the latest. They seems to be a little slow this year. 

WE have a lot of work planned this spring in this area. We have to finish getting all the dirt packed in between the new and old seawall. It is mostly done. We need to add some in right under the walkway out to the water and then I think we can call that a win.

We will finally be adding a rail to the second level. The wood is there and don't even ask why it hasn't already been completed. Jeff sat on that one a long time. Just waiting on the workers. Notice all the things that need to be done. Constant blowing off of the droppings from the trees and pressure washing the mildew off the stone. Pollen and window washing too. I am ready to get out there and get it all started. 

T-Ball started for Tucker. Jeff and I got to visit last weekend for the opening ceremonies which is a big deal in Destin.

It was still pretty cool and cloudy last weekend.

Miles is growing up so fast. He was is in deep thought the other morning while eating his muffin. He loves to eat. He is going to eat them out of house and home when he gets older.

This morning I made a smoothie which I think he was pretty sure was the greatest thing he had ever tasted. He wanted more more more and sucked up the last drop.

Those were the highlights of this week. 

Spring has arrived in the house no matter the outside weather. I am all in at this point.