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Monday, September 28, 2015

Over the Moon

Phantom Opera

Last Thursday was supposed to be Opera Night for the family.  My husband left work early so he could change clothes and drive us back into Nashville. I will make a long story very short.  After my son mentioned the Dirty Dancing performance was also playing (not possible) My husband looked at the tickets and realized Turandot was not playing the night before this current out of town trip but the one two weeks from now.  In spite of the look on our son's face in this picture we all took it in good stride and went home with a lot more time in our night.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Warning:  This is just an excuse for a shameless cat picture plug :-).  The other evening Abigail was poised for pouncing on something behind the couch.  After seeing something dark move behind the couch, I was prepared to jump on the couch and scream like a little girl.  Upon further curious inspection I realized it was only a moth.  Phew, that was a close one. Following her flying snack escapades our little fluff ball decided to nap next to my stitching spot.  This cat gets away with so much more than I ever would have expected one of my cats would just on her sheer cuteness factor. 

Stash Enhancement

Yes, dear readers, I have a small stash, and I'm proud of it.  Maybe it's because I moved a lot as a kid.  Living in six states can adjust how you think about collecting stuff.  The other day I took the plunge and ordered.  A Ghoultide Welcome by Plum Street Samplers.  I have no idea where it is going, and this is usually a prerequisite.  Our regular gathering of stitchers was Saturday, and I was out of current projects, so I was really hoping it would arrive in the mail by Saturday.  I feel incredibly blessed it came on Friday, so I could start on the windows before conversation threw me off and caused more frogging than I was planning on.  I was able to get a good start before heading out.  I don't do the Halloween themes like many stitchers, but I absolutely adore this design.  I've decided to change the title to An Autumn Welcome and change up the witch.  As always I'll post progress.  This one is going to be fun.
Honestly, I thought I was finished wildly ordering things at the drop of the hat . . . until today.  I've been searching for a replacement wedding sampler for several years.  Nothing was really great, modifiable, or just right.  Was I giving up?  I was beginning to.  I stitched the current one about 3 months before our 15DS was born.  This was while I was nesting and before I had a clue what my design style was.  It was also before tons of gorgeous pieces had been designed.  I opened up Terri's blog today, and there it was.  The heavens opened.  Light shined on the laptop screen, and angels sang in glorious union.  Love Never Fails will be my replacement.  Of course there will be some modifying to do, but Terri already modeled most of it.  Thanks, Terri.  I will show progress, but I'm a one stitching project at a time kinda girl, so y'all will have to wait until after my current project is complete.  That said the design and called for linen is on it's way.  JOY!

Stitching Sisterhood

Gorgeous offerings at our regular gathering.
I'm very excited to say I'm a brand new owner of a table top Ott Light.  (Squeal)  I can finally see in my favorite stitching spot day or night.  Before the light I was attempting to see better by placing the table lamp on top of the couch arm.  It fell more than once, and didn't do the best job.  One of the ladies at the gathering on Saturday was clearing this out of her house at a very deep discount.  She didn't think it was on more than an hour.  I have benefited from her generosity.  Not only will I be able to see and stitch, but the lamp monster will no longer be ambushing this unsuspecting stitcher.

Lamp Monster and my new Super Light.

Over the Moon

Did you see it?  I wasn't exactly sure I would with all the clouds, but after a little prayer, petition and patience the clouds lifted enough so I could get some pictures.  The photos are nothing compared to seeing it live, and I'm so thankful I could.  I'm also thankful for the tripod.  The moon was moving as I took longer exposure shots than normal, so there is a little bit of ghosting.




Thirsty Visitor

Most lilacs bloom once a year each spring.  I have a Persian Lilac, so mine also blooms in fall.  Lilacs have been my favorite flower since childhood, and I can't think of a better variety. There are far fewer blooms in the fall, but each one smells just as sweet.  Today, I came out for a photo session and encountered a thirsty little friend.  I love that I can have a beautiful bush and provide for God's smaller creatures all at the same time.

Until next time count your many blessings--God's gifts to you.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pre-PEAR-ation


 Build a Pear

This morning I have dug deep to finish my latest pear from Samplers and Santas.  Marly's had purple flowers and a different colored pot, but I thought these DMC choices might go better with my home's decor.  First, I cut out the back from some 40 count linen.  The more I can use it for other purposes the less I will feel the need to stitch on it.  My eyes can't see 40 ct. very well anymore.

I typically use my computer screen as a light box.  This enables to change the sizing as needed.  When I get it right I trace around the pear with a air dissolving marker.
Time to pin and sew on Mom's old Singer.
Eyeball a rough seam allowance and snip away.

Fill with lentils and whip stitch closed.
On the Shaker Shelf with her friends.

I usually find my "pear stems" from outdoors.  This one came from our ornamental apple tree.


Finally finished a recent freebie from Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm.  The finish will require a Dremel, so y'all will have to wait.   :-) TEHE :-)

 Coin Treasure

It is my job to sort and roll the coins in our change jar.  DH hates doing that, and I don't mind since I look at it as mad money for framing cross stitch :-).  Yesterday I found a Buffalo coin among the others.  It's pretty old since the date has worn off.  No date makes it pretty worthless to a collector.  Cleaning a coin also devalues it.  I had forgotten that and plunked it right into my jewelry cleaner to see if I could find a date.  No date.  No worries I'll just add it to my other coin finds that are practically worthless to a collector such as a Canadian penny.  I used to find those more often as a kid when we lived in Massachusetts and New York.
I love the heart shape I found in this section of bark.  It came from a tree that was recently cut down in our wood line.

For giggles I spread some zinnia seeds from a dead flower on the dirt in our pot several weeks ago.  Now I have lovely sprouts.  Which will come first flowers or frost?

Zinnia ready for seed harvest.
Hide . . .
. . . and peek

I thought these basil were gonners for sure.  Then I watered it.  I got green leaves a few days later.  I think it may be time to make some bread with the rest of it.


Until next time, be thankful for your many blessings--God's gifts to you.
Judy


Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Joy of Home

Early Friday morning I decided to sit on the back patio with Abigail and a cup of coffee.  I wasn't out there more than five minutes when I heard honking.  "NO WAY!" I thought excitedly.  I only get to hear the geese migrate a couple times a year and only if I'm out there at just the right time, but I've never ever gotten to see them. After 15 years, today was the day.  A few moments after hearing them I saw the gaggle soaring in a v-formation above our house and then past the trees in a Southwesterly route.  There was no time for me to get my camera, but I have the memories to last a lifetime.  What a blessing.

My Dad would have turn 83 on September 1st this year.  He was the oldest of five children growing up in Michigan during the Great Depression.  He spent time in the Air Force, Army, and was a Navy Chaplain which meant he was a supply chaplain for the Marines and Coast Guard.  On the civilian side he spent shorter periods as a teacher and more full time as a small church pastor.  My heart for special needs children and adults definitely came from him.  At the end he was a teacher/lead teacher in a couple of alternative schools.  My love for photography definitely came from him as well.  Because he grew up in the Depression he was grateful for anything on his plate and cleaned it better than anyone I know.  God blessed him with my mother who is a wonderful cook.  It's a wonder he stayed slender throughout their 46 years of marriage.
Dad asked for German Chocolate Cake each year for his birthday.  He also drank more coffee than most people I know.  Each year Mom, my sister, and extended women folk on his side like to join me in making "his cake" and drink some coffee in his honor.  
I really do frost the sides of my cakes, but clearly not the last two. :-)
Because I don't eat a ton of sugar on a regular basis the 2 c. in the coconut pecan frosting was a little overwhelming.  I added a 1/4 teaspoon of instant coffee crystals in honor of Dad, and I found I really liked it.  Dad would have too.  I should also mention there was a cup of coffee in the cake--so good. My dad was a night owl.  He would make instant coffee and stay up for hours on the computer--another love.

My mother inherited the family home.  It was built in 1809 by the original family that lived there about 125 years.  My grandfather bought the home and adjacent farm about 20 years later.  She primarily uses a wood stove for heat with some wall units in a few other rooms.  The stored firewood was mostly used up last year.

I remember praying asking God this Spring to create a way for us to help her and the fire wood situation.  It is hard for her to accept help since she is so independent.  This March we found out our local electric company needed to cut some trees in the wood line behind our house and our neighbor's houses. Of course, this made me ecstatic we could give something to Mom that she would accept. She's very independent, but we're working on her :-).   The Wood cutters were more than happy to leave the wood for us so they didn't have to haul it off--maple, oak, and hickory, all good wood for burning.  Some trees were already dead, so we didn't have to worry about seasoning it for six months to a year.  We were very happy to have firewood for Mom.  Another gift from God.

My husband rented a log splitter to get everything split before the winter of 2030.  DH and DS started two doors down.  It wasn't supposed to rain, but when the truck bed was about 3/4 full guess what happened.  They listened to Pandora in the truck cab until it finally quit.
Look closely.  You may see the rain.
Today it was absolutely beautiful and not supposed to rain.  You guessed it.  It rained hard for about 20 minutes after this shot was taken.  No worries.  It's Suday, and no one was working today.
There are at least four more loads of firewood loads just like this.
Yesterday while my men folk did man stuff I did girl stuff.  I finished off my quilt series audiobook on CD while I worked on Lori Brechlin's freebie.  I hope to finish it today.  The finish will require power tools, but I think I'll like it.
Lori Brechlin's "Summer's End"
Not Forgotten Farm
It's time to finish this quilt (my first) before my Mother is no longer living.  Before you think I'll never finish such a monster, you should proably know I do better with larger projects with lots of effort involved.  I'd like her to see me finish it.  Of her two daughters, I'm the one most into quilting and the most likely to quilt one.  I find this surprising with all the sewing my sister has done.  She just visited a quilt show with a friend so there is hope.  My quilt (picture in my quilt trough) was inspired by a green and white family quilt over 150 years old.

The family quilt is a Triple Irish Chain.  Mine will only be a double Irish Chain with navy and bone kona cotton.  I've seen what happens to wool and silk over time, and I want this quilt to last a bit longer.
This may be utilitarian stitching but I'm still very impressed.  Each of these smaller quilted squares is about 1 cm. square.  WOW.

Until next time, count your blessings--God's gifts to you.