Saturday, May 18, 2013


Yes, I know I didn't finish the April challenge. It's because the Sister's Weekend "challenge" and the gotta-make-a-bridal-fascinator "challenge" and the gotta-make-a-bridal-bouquet "challenge" got in the way. Nuff said.

Yesterday I had a conversation that .... disturbed me? challenged me? Caused me to stop and count my blessings. The conversation was with someone that used to be in my life daily and now our lives hardly ever touch each other ... we haven't spoken in about a year.

The conversation went something like this:
"How is everybody down there doing?"
(me) "We're all doing just fine. No complaints."
"Did you hear about Henry passing away."
(me) "Yes, I heard about Henry. I'm so sorry. I know how close you were to him."
"Yeah, he didn't live that long after Susie died."
(me)"Susie died?! Oh, gosh. I'm so sorry. I didn't hear that Susie died. That's just awful."
"Yeah and now Mary Lou is gone, too."
(me) "Mary Lou?! Mary Lou passed away?! Oh, I'm so sorry. Ya'll were friends for so long. It must be hard on you. I'm so sorry."

As I said, the conversation made me stop and think. We can't any of us tell the day or time of our leaving and we don't always get to say goodbye. What that says to me is that we must celebrate the blessings in our life. And we must celebrate the loved ones in our life every. single. day.

So today, I'm gonna say I love you to all those people in my family and all those people who have come into my life, touching it and changing it. I'm so very thankful for all of you. And for those of you that I don't know yet, but who are reading this, may God reveal to you all the blessings that surround you.

On a completely different note, here are a few pictures from Sister's Weekend 2013 in Galveston, Texas. It was truly a celebration of sister-love.

This is a picture of all of us wearing the watches DH bought for us.

This is an early morning walk on the beach for four of us ... with coffee in hand.

I promise it's coffee!! We just laugh a lot when we're together. Yet another reason to be thankful ... the sound of sister's laughing.

Have a very blessed weekend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Under

UNDER - okay this was a hard subject for me. At first all I could think of was underwear and there's absolutely NO WAY I was going there.

Soooooo, I thought and I thought and I thought some more. Finally, I searched google for a hint and now I have two unders for you.

UNDER the cedar trees. We have several cedar trees on our property. I don't mind those on the back acreage because they're not a bother, but the two close to the house are a problem.

Cedar trees will drink all the available water they can, little gluttons, and will slow down the growth of anything else.  And they don't let anything grow under them. So getting rid of these two giant hogs is really important now that we've added a few desirable trees to the yard.

UNDER construction.

We're in a constant state of flux here at my house. If we're not installing hardwood floors, we're removing a window and replacing it with a door ... or removing a bathtub and replacing it with a jacuzzi ... or building a carport ... or adding a porch ... or re-siding the house ... or putting on a new roof. Yep! They know us by name at Home Depot and Lowe's and all the discount construction places around.

But someday ... someday we'll be finished.

After we install a lower deck ... a fire pit ... a greenhouse ... a rose arbor ... a pool ... you get the idea!

BTW - My google search took me to a book by Louisa May Alcott called Under the Lilacs. It sounded so interesting, I bought it for my kindle. Love me some Louisa May Alcott.

HA! I guess that's three UNDERs for today! I did better than I thought I would. Have a fab-u-lous Thursday!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Three

THREE - This will be a short one today and more serious than usual.

 My thoughts of three are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I've understood who the Father is since I was a small child attending Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mineral Wells, Texas.

I came to understand who the Son is when I was a young teenager attending The First Baptist Church of Hurst, Texas.

But I didn't really understand (not that I will ever completely understand) who the Holy Spirit is until I participated in a Bible study at First United Methodist Church in Voorheesville, NY. The study guide was Catherine Marshall's book The Helper ... her name for the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you know who Catherine Marshall was, but for those of you who don't, her husband was the famous Scottish preacher who became Chaplain of the United States Senate in 1946. His life is depicted in the film A Man Called Peter. Catherine wrote the lovely novel Christy based on her mother's life (it later became a TV series).

In reading Christy I learned the meaning of 1 Cor. 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (emphasis added)

By reading The Helper, I came to understand more about the Holy Spirit ... the Helper ... and the part He plays in the Holy Trinity.

Blessings upon you this day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Yellow

Okay, now I'm embarrassed. I got my subject days confused.
Since I covered Sharing yesterday, today I'll talk about YELLOW.

What does the word mean to me? Sunny, happy, shining.

My favorite yellow things?

Yellow golf shirts ... I have more than one because they make me feel so cheerful.

Daisies. They last a long time in a cut flower arrangement and they just keep looking so fresh.

Roses. Though I'm fond of pink roses, yellow roses are my favorites.  I usually grow Earthkind roses and there just aren't any truly yellow Earthkind roses, so currently my roses are various shades of pink. However, I ran across a list of Texas Superstar Plants which are selected by Texas A&M as being superstars in the Texas landscape and I found something called Grandma's Yellow Rose. Soooo, Mother's Day is coming?!? Hint, hint, hint. Maybe Mom needs, REALLY needs a yellow rosebush ... or two.

I currently have two Gold Coast Junipers in my front yard and I'm thinking of adding more because (1) they don't mind the heat and/or drought (2) grasshoppers won't eat them and (3) they keep color in the garden all year round. 

Have a very sunny-yellow Tuesday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Share

Obviously I don't know the proper way to schedule my posts because Sunday's post didn't go until this morning. Oh, well! (Google search ... how do I schedule my posts?) I'll check that out later.

SHARE - I asked DH about the word share and he said the first thing that came to his mind was the way that he and I share with each other. Okay, I know this sort of thing just gags some people, but when we come to the last cracker (chip, cookie, morsel, whatever) of a meal or snack, we always share the last one. (I know ... aaaahhh isn't that just too sweet!)  He gives me half and he takes half. We share our concerns about everything ... kids, weather, health, family, the state of society, whatever. We share funny thoughts (we laugh a LOT). There's a constant flow of sharing back and forth, off and on all day. I guess that's the blessing that comes with a good marriage.

MY first thought of sharing had to do with a couple of kids we "adopted" through the church. They're both in South America and both in financially needy situations. Roberto is a small child and has some serious birth defects. But he has the sunniest smile you can imagine. Dayana is a teenager and very curious about the Americans who adopted her. We received a letter from her on Friday, so she was uppermost in my mind when I considered the subject of sharing.

Don't you just love that she decorated her letter with little colored flowers all over it! I did that sort of thing in the ninth grade also. And she sent us a full page of flowers she had colored. I just love that.

She's like a sponge wanting to soak up all the details our  "typical American" lives. I got such a kick out of her letter because in one paragraph she mentions that she plays soccer and wants to be a great soccer star when she grows up. Two paragraphs later she wants to become an international chef when she grows up. Gotta love the open-wide ambitions of an enthusiastic teenager.

I remember being a sponge at that age. Absorbing interesting words, non-southern accents, more sophisticated habits, and ... last but not least ... Glamour Magazine's Do and Don't fashion advice! 

Anyway, in giving her a glimpse of our lives (including some of my favorite recipes for her to try out), I guess you could say we're sharing our hearts. But make no mistake - the gift we give her is small compared to the gift of joy we receive in reading her letters.

As Martha would say, "Sharing. It's a good thing!"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Outside

Word of the day is OUTSIDE. What this immediately brings to my mind is sailing. DH and I love to sail.

We have a daysailer called Rising Sun which we sailed for several years, launching her at the local lake. This was an interesting purchase. DH saw the ad in the newspaper, but when we went to look at her, we could tell she hadn't been sailed in a long time. Since we'd have to clean her up and paint her, DH asked the owner to knock off $50.00 from the asking price and instead, he decided to cut the asking price in half! When we went to pick her up, we had an enjoyable chat with the owner trading sailing horror stories for about an hour. He's a very interesting fellow who has written several books and is a consultant to Dr. Phil and has some great stories. However, when it came time to pay him for the boat, he wouldn't take the full amount. He would only let us pay $5.00. What a surprise!! I guess he knew fellow sailors when he saw them. We did clean her up and enjoyed sailing her for several years. We still have her ... just in case we want to sail at a different lake.

A couple of years ago, DH bought on ebay a Dolphin in San Diego called Delphinidae. Although her owner had refurbished her completely (including all the bright work and a brand new motor) he'd never sailed her. So after our purchase, we drove to the coast and while we prepped her for the move to Texas, we actually slept on her for several days  - she sleeps 5 (thin) people. DH and I are both a little super-sized, so sleeping on the boat was ... interesting. But it was an adventure neither of us would have missed.

Now Delphindae lives in a slip on a lake about 20 minutes from our house. We can sail her at least three seasons of the year. And -- Texas being Texas -- she's occasionally fun in the winter also. As a matter of fact, Billie, DH and I went sailing on New Years Day 2012. It was a little crisp, but fun, fun, fun.  

DH and I are currently working on a project (we hope to finish this year) which will give us a porch on three sides of our house. My hope is that someday soon, OUTSIDE will also mean sitting on my back porch with a glass of iced tea.

Now that's what I'm looking forward to!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Chore

CHORE is the word of the day. Although DH and I made a list of chores this morning, we've only completed a few. Better a little than none at all, huh?

Have you ever heard of a SHE. It's a Sidetracked Home Executive and I'm a gen-u-ine member. Which means I work a little, play a little, work a little, play a little. That's why I'm only partially done with my list-o-things-to-do.

But, during my down time I've managed to complete two mini footstools. HA! Ran across this tutorial for a "bottle cap" footstool on Pinterest this week and thought I would try it.  It was calling out to me ... I couldn't resist ... I just HAD to make some mini footstools.

The thing I found interesting about her method was that she turns the cap open side UP, fills it with cotton and covers that with fabric. That gives you a solid base on which to add legs. Very clever!

So here is my do-it-instead-of-completing-your-chores photo. I don't think these are ready for my etsy shop yet (because if you lift the skirts, they're pretty ugly), but maybe I'm on the right track.

BTW - I used diet coke caps for my stools and I took the fabric from my giant scrap jar. Doesn't take much fabric for this little baby, but it's kinda cute, huh?!

Friday, April 5, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Evening

Well, it's Friday. We've made it to Friday! Woohoo!!!!

It's been a busy, busy week (as usual). You'd think that retirement would mean I wouldn't be so rushed. On the other hand my sister, Billie, has a theory about space which is also applicable to money and time. She says you should never wear elastic-waist pants because your body will expand to fill the space. And whenever someone gets a raise in salary, their spending usually expands to consume the addition. I think the same thing has happened to my time. My projects have expanded to fill the space I had. Having said that, I'm excited because I have some new miniature designs for my shop. I'll wait and show them next week.

Because NOW it's time to think about the word of the day ... EVENING.

That word brings several thoughts to my mind. Since DH and I no longer do the opera or symphony at night (Sunday afternoons are so perfect for us), our evenings are ..... aaaahhhhhh ... relaxing.

And Friday evening is especially welcome because it brings the weekend. Whether the weekend will be packed with construction projects, running errands or just kicking back in our PJ's, weekends are the reward for making it through the week. And we get to spend the time together, which is our very favorite thing to do.

Evenings in my little corner of the country start with a glorious, technicolor sunset.

Since we're foodies, our Friday-evening-celebrate-the-end-of-the-week is always special. This evening we'll dine on cheese, bread, fruit and wine. 

Recently we discovered a cheese called Cambazola, which has become a favorite. It's a mix of buttery, creamy brie and sharp gorgonzola. I can't imagine who thought of this combination, but it's wonderful! Aforementioned sister, Billie, introduced us to Humboldt Fog, which has a similar mix of creamy and sharp. The third cheese tonight will be a soft cheese studded with walnuts. We'll have crusty french bread and wine. I'll add a small dish of currant jelly to the tray tonight so we can experiment with creamy, sharp and sweet combinations. Yum!

And if it's cool tonight, we'll have a fire and kick back in our silk jammies.

Cheese and wine and jammies, oh my! Hope your Friday evening is as lovely as mine is gonna be.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April Photo Challenge - Texas Spring

Usually spring comes real early in Texas, but this year it feels like winter hasn't completely let go yet (currently 42 degrees, feels like 37 ... by Saturday, the high will be 77). That's Texas, pleasant one day and colder than a well digger's backside the next!

Most Texans agree that spring has arrived when the bluebonnets bloom. However, since I don't have bluebonnets yet, I'll share a couple of pictures from TexNan/SumpnSassy's back yard. The hill country is alive with bluebonnets, but it will take a few more weeks before they bloom here in North Texas.

Love me some bluebonnets!

But early spring in my little corner, is when I get the lawn tractor out and am surrounded by the smell of freshly mown grass. Spring is when Little Princess Good Girl starts shedding all over the house. And spring is when my Seven Sisters roses bloom.

I love the Seven Sisters because they are so very tenacious. No matter how hot and dry the summer, no matter how many grasshoppers chew on her leaves, my Seven Sisters thrive. They don't just survive, they THRIVE.

Hmmm. Is that what they mean by bloom where you're planted?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Photo Challenge - In My Car

First, an update on Mod Podged fabric projects from yesterday.

The cosmetic bag. I lined it in pale green cotton and used a pink zipper. Cheeful!

The iphone cover. This was easier than I thought. I used a piece of wax paper and a sharpie to make the pattern. I'm really pleased with the result.

Last for today is the "wastebasket" closed & opened. It has the kind of closure you squeeze on either side and it snaps back into place. Easy-peasy. 

Don't you just hate all that flotsam & jetsam that winds up in the bottom of your purse? I'm really hoping this will help me keep a clean purse. Great idea, huh? Keep a little wastebasket in your purse. HA!

And now on to the April Photo Challenge.

I love my car. Let me say it again. I L-O-V-E my wonderful lime green VW!

When I drive it I feel like I'm in a giant bubble of happiness. And it has seat heaters ... although the winters in Texas are short, I am ever so thankful for a warm butt. Love it.

One of the many, many things I love about my car is the vase on the dashboard with yellow gerber daisies. I used PhotoShop on this photo, but I like the stylized daisies.

 Doesn't this view make you happy? Yeah, baby. That's what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The joke is on me!

Apologia - April 1st flew right by without me noticing! I had resolved to do a photo each day ... and I missed the first day! I was so busy yesterday (cleaning, errands, yada yada) that I completely missed the DATE!

Soooo, today will be a two-fer.

FUN - What do I do for fun? I CRAFT, I READ and I WATCH TV to relax.

CRAFT - My latest project is Mod Podged fabric. It started months ago when I decided to brighten up my checkbook. I used a fabric that looks good all on it's own, but I glued it with Mod Podge to the existing checkbook cover, added several layers of Mod Podge to the fabric and the colors positively POPPED. And it makes it water proof-ish and dirt proof-ish!

Fabric before Mod Podge:

Glammed-up checkbook (sorry about the shine ... can't help it if I'm so bright! HA!):

I'm currently working on (1) replacing my in-the-purse cosmetic bag with the same Mod Podged fabric (I'm Mod Podging before I sew it together), (2) as an accent on my iphone cover, and (3) I'm creating an in-the-purse "wastebasket" bag for gum wrappers etc. to keep my purse neater. And next I'll (4) add a sunglasses case to my list-o-things-to-do. When I'm finished with these projects (and have a perfectly coordinated purse interior), I'll show the results here. Maybe tomorrow? Maybe Thursday? Got stuff to do today and I have to wait for the Mod Podge to dry before I continue.

READ - On my iPod I've just started listening to WWW:Wake by Robert J. Sawyer ... very intriguing story line. This is great for traveling to and from town or while washing dishes or whatever. I listen to the book, the time flies by and the tasks get done. It's like ... magic!

On my kindle I'm reading Against the Wind ... a light romance novel by Kat Martin that I checked out of the local online library.

When I get to the sexy parts of any story I sort of flip, flip, flip till I'm past it. Let me just step on my soapbox and say this right here about current "literature" (not saying this about Kat specifically, just the genre in general ... genre in general ... say that three times!). I like good plots, sassy, funny characters and clever dialog, but I could do without the leaning toward soft porn. As Amelia Peabody used to say when she came to a love scene "et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."   See - no need to go into details. 'Nuff said.

WATCH TV - lately I've been going through the Agatha Christie's Poirot series via Amazon Prime instant video. It intrigues my "little grey cells" while I'm doing hand work ... like hemming DH's new dress pants or gathering teensy lace for teensy pillows.

Sometimes at night DH and I watch Blue Murder. Here's what I love about Amazon Prime instant video ... NO commercials! And I'm really enjoying quick "free" access to British mysteries.

Now on to today's topic ... JUMP.

The first thing that came to my mind when I thought about the word jump is my cat, Holly aka Little Princess Good Girl. We keep a wooden bowl of mixed nuts (in the shell) in the den. Then if we want a snack, we crack a few ... it slows down consumption to have to crack them before you eat them.

Holly loves walnuts. No, she doesn't eat them, she plays with them. She uses her little kitty paw to grab one from the bowl and then she starts wrestling with it, holding it between her paws and JUMPING around the den. It's so funny to see. And when she whacks it around on the floor, it rolls, but not the way a ball does. I think that makes it more interesting for her. As a result, we find walnuts hidden all over the house. HA!

I don't have a picture of Holly jumping, but here's a picture of her in all her tortoiseshell calico loveliness, resting in the cat nest I made for her recently from an old wool sweater.

I'll start thinking NOW about tomorrow's theme - IN MY CAR. Perhaps I should clean my car before I show it, huh?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

April Challenge

I ran across an "April Photo Challenge" at The Idea Room and thought I would modify that idea. Rather than participating in the group challenge, I'll challenge myself to take a photo a day and share it here on my blog using her photo suggestions as the starting point for my own photo quest.

My only concern about maintaining the stream of photos and related thoughts is that SISTER'S WEEKEND (woohoo, cheers, anticipation and shouting!!!!) occurs during the middle of the month and that will require a major interruption filled with margaritas and lots of laughter. Look out Galveston, the GIRLS are on their way! Anyhow, I'll try real hard to keep the pictures coming. This will be the most ya'll have heard from me in .... well, ever!

What have I been working on since I wrote last? Where have I been? Well, I've been sick, sick, sick since about mid-January and just started feeling better a few days ago after my recent doctor's visit. (BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.)

Nevertheless, being the truly twisted person I am, I've still been busy working on tons of projects. We have a wedding coming in late September (in Albany, NY) and the bride has asked me to make a fascinator for her to wear to the rehearsal. She wants one like this:

I have all the materials except the feathers, but I'm sort of circling around this project, trying to get it firmly deconstructed and reconstructed in my mind, so nothing to show you yet on this pending project.

I've been making some shabby, cottage chic pillows for my shop, which is a departure from the machine embroidered pillows I normally carry. Sounds easier than it is. The tiny ruffles are a pain in the patoot! And I had to fake the fabric covered buttons. On the other hand, pretty much everything in the mini world is "faked". HA!

I recovered a mini chair with a print on top and some teensy chenille on the seat. Actually the chenille is cut from an old dishtowel that I hand-colored, but I think it looks pretty realistic.

I've been working on designs for mini birdhouseswastebaskets, and gerber daisies. I'm liking this particular birdhouse with the handwritten letter and roses. I think it's lovely.

I made a headboard from multiple pieces of cardboard (including a couple of granola bar boxes) last week, I'm still working on the rest of the bed. I made some more wastebaskets in different designs and I've tried a few shabby chic bushel baskets. Still working on finessing these items. BTW - TexNan ... the waxed paper transfer idea worked great, as you can see. Thanks for the tip. It's another great tool in my toolbox.

These things are definitely not ready to go into the shop, but I think I'm moving in the right direction. More experimenting to come.

Speaking of experimenting, this is a design I set aside because I couldn't figure out the perfect way to create the lid for the enamel breadbox, but I think I'm onto a new technique which will help me with this one. I really love this breadbox design -- I've seen it in so many British films -- but my lid doesn't fit perfectly. I was stumped, so I set it aside temporarily, but I think I'll pick it up again ... in my spare time!?! HA!

  Most of my mini projects were perfect when I was sick because they could be worked on when I wanted to be busy and put away when I needed to rest. Now I'm feeling so much better, it's like WonderWoman has taken residence inside my body and I'm rarin' to go. WOOHOO!

We'll see how long that lasts, huh?