If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Mother Has Gone Crazy

Yes, she has - Mom has gone crazy.  Well, at least when it comes to her stitchery.  Lately she has been working on a crazy quilt.  I cannot imagine how much time nor how many stitches she has in this piece. 
Here she is showing her work in progress.

Mama always has some sort of stitchery project going.  Her hands are never idle.  Often she will have more than one thing in-progress at the same time.  She has cross-stitched an uncountable number of samplers, wedding and birth announcements, ornaments, pillows, and pictures.  She recently completed a valance for her dining room window which featured a rose bouquet stitched on linen.  Every member of our family has been given gifts hand-crafted by her and all are beautifully created and stitched.  Her latest project has been to create some crazy quilt squares using the taffetas, satins, velvets, and trims from when she was a professional seamstress making formal-wear.  Many a lucky girl had her special dress stitched together by my mother - wedding dresses, bride's maid dresses, prom dresses, etc.  Of course, she also stitched up most any other type clothing or home decor at that time and she could turn out hand-made items in a speedy manner.  So, she is putting those scraps and bits and pieces together and adding her own embroidered vines, flowers, and illustrations to each piece. 
This shot shows a closer look at all the squares she has connected with the velvet.

This square has my sister and brother-in-law's names embroidered in the corner.

This one features the names of my daughter and her family.

This one has Mike's and my name embroidered in the corner.

This one has Mom's and Daddy's birthdates stitched in it.

This has my niece, Rebecca's name on it.

My son, Bryan and his wife Jessica have their name stitched on this one.

This one features my niece, Madalyn's name.

Here is one with Megan, my oldest niece, stitched upon it.

Once Mom got the squares connected together, she decided it needed some continuity and connecting a little more elegantly.  So, she is adding embroidery vines, trails, and more stitches creeping off the squares and around the velvet. 

Somehow, I don't think anybody is going to get to curl up under it -
I'd bet it is going to hang on a wall instead, won't you?

I know she is proud of it and I think Daddy is impressed with it, too!
Look at those smiles.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home-Cooked Is Sometimes Better Than Eating Out!

I'll bet there are very few women in this world who do not like an occasional dinner out.  However, sometimes it is better to throw together something quick and easy that is just as good without having to make the trip to town. 

The other night I wanted Mexican food.  Yet, Mike and I both were too tired to even drive in to pick up take-out.  So, I turned to one of my old favorites. 

Very few dishes were dirtied in the making of this dinner.  So, clean-up was a breeze.  I did the prep stages, slid the dish into the oven and headed to the shower.

When dinner was ready, we loaded our plates and flopped in front of the television for a change.  It was a real luxury.  You can find the recipe for easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas HERE.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Princess Tea Party

Last week I got a notice that one of the local high school's drama department was putting on a fund-raiser where children could come enjoy a tea party with some princesses and see Cinderella's carriage.  There was an admission charge for the child but adults were admitted for free.  (What a great way to get parents and grandparents to come and supervise their own children!)  Several of the teenagers dressed as various Disney characters for the day.  They greeted the children, posed for pictures, painted nails, and handed out coloring sheets.  Other teenagers dressed in black skirts or pants and white shirts - several boys wore bow ties - and served the cookies, juice, and fruit drinks. 

I think it was probably a good money-making venture for the drama department and was great fun for the children (and their parents and grandparents).  We saw Mary Poppins, Rapunzel, Jasmine, Aladdin, Aladdin's Genie, Cinderella, Prince Charming, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, Peter Pan, and lots more.

I offered to be the hostess for all four granddaughters. (I was glad that their mothers came along to supervise, though!)  I know that the excitement built as the week went along.  Bridgette said that every morning Lydia would ask about 'tea pahty with the pinces' and Danny said Cassie and Evie had been thrilled to get to dress up and ready to go.  I'm not sure who had the most fun - the parents or the children.  Everyone had huge smiles and kept talking about how cool things were. 

Cassie isn't sure she needs Mom's advice in decorating her tea cup.

Tea cup decorating is something that seems easier to learn when watching an older girl model the techniques for Cassie but Evie just applies her ideas and goes at it!

Lillie was ready to pose with the cast from Aladdin, the Princess and the Frog, and Belle.

I don't know which princess looked prettier - Cassie or Cinderella.
Prince Charming and the carriage were pretty spectacular, too.

Lydia was rather hesitant but Snow White was just too much for her
and she had to pose with this princess.

Good fairy, Meriwether's magic wand (and a little coaxing from Laura and Danny)
got Evie to pose with Cassie, Cinderella, the Prince and the carriage.

Lydia joined Lillie and Arial for an Under the Sea photo.

Pocahontas posed with Lillie.

Everybody lined up for nail painting!

Who gets to go first?

Grand B's dream - all four together and sitting still!
Nail painting all in a row.

Nail painting can be serious business.

Evie likes her pink nails.

Lydia patiently waits for her nails to be painted pink like Minnie.

Evie supervises Cassie's nail painting. 
Notice all Cassie's accessories - isn't she fancy?

Isn't this a sweet looking little princess?

Lillie and Lydia had to check out what color Cassie had chosen.

Whose smile is more pleased with those pretty nails?

Lillie's turn to get fancy nails.
Do you think Bridgette is having fun, too?

I thought it would be a good idea to get all four to pose for a shot together.
What was I thinking?
1, 2, 3 - everybody look in a different direction!

Lydia didn't really want to pose.

The big girls showed off their newly painted nails.

Evie had her own ideas about posing.

Lydia was just too tired.

I was, too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Man's Trash

I have too much junk.  I guess everybody does.  That is why there is almost always a yard sale going on during any given weekend.  Last weekend a friend of mine had a yard sale and I stopped just to say hello and show off my granddaughters.

I got some treasures, though.  Like this brass container. 

It was dull and dented.  Around the handles it was a little gunky. 

Yet, it is pretty heavy in weight and is a cute size.  I kind of liked the patina of the tarnished brass and the gunkiness.  However, I decided to shine it up a little.  So, I pulled out the brass polish and scrubbed on it a wee bit. 
Doesn't it look cute with the pumpkins, gourds, and cinnamon sticks in it?

I set it on the mantle in the kitchen beside the cute monogramed ceramic pumpking my daughter gave me as an early birthday present.  I'd seen them at Hobby Lobby about a month ago and told her to watch for them to go on sale.  She did and I got one!  Yippee!!!  Guess who is the favorite child right now?  

The good thing about it is that with a little time it will have that darkened patina to it again.  I cannot decide which way I like it better...  I think it will also look good at Christmas time with glittery pine cones in it.  How else could I use it?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainy Days

All those days last week when I was stuck inside at work performing data entry and it was sunny, breezy, and beautiful.  Today I'm out and about and it is drizzly, drippy, rainy, and grey!  Isn't that always the way it turns out? 

I'm not complaining much, though.  We need the rain and I can splash around a little.  When I think about it, I could be milking cows and slurping and sloshing through the mud and having a wet, muddy cow's tail swatting me in the face!

Anyway, with this sort of weather, I feel the need for comfort food.  So, tonight's dinner menu includes a Company Club Braid (a fancy sounding sandwich that is easy to make).  You can find the recipe HERE.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fast Paced Life

Don't we all seem to be living a fast-paced life these days?  I find that there are times when I cannot seem to keep up with myself and feel tired and run-down and plain old exhausted.  Then, I read or hear about somebody else who is lapping circles round me with all they do and I feel humbled. 

I'm also finding that we tend to have this idea in our head of what our persona is and we often want to rebel against what we think folks believe our persona might be - i.e. good girl/bad girl, smart/dumb, techno-savvy/techno-illiterate, etc.  Maybe this is just an instance of the fact that we have traits inside ourselves that we loathe and those we love and those vary from time to time and day to day. 

One of the things I have been trying to do as I evolve in this life is that I am trying to be better at consideration for others and less selfish.  I don't always do so well at it - but I am tenacious!  This week I was clicking links in blogs I follow and stumbled across a moving post which made me pause and think about myself and all the things I need to work on in me.  I thought I'd share it with you HERE and encourage you to dig around and learn more about the author, Emily Wierenga.  Be sure you read all the way to the end of the post because that is probably the most inspirational part of the entire piece.  Hope you enjoy!

(Short and sweet today because one of the things I'm trying to change in me - or around me - is the piles and messes I've created all week by neglecting my housekeeping!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sparkling Like Diamonds

Last weekend we saw the first rain we have had in weeks. There are huge cracks in the ground, the grass is brown and crunchy, the leaves on the trees are turning brown, and I'm wondering if some of those are going to survive. 

When I looked out one of the windows this morning, I noticed on the screen that the droplets of water were sparkling like diamonds.  Not only are these raindrops beautiful, but all the others are as well. 

Isn't it amazing how everything already looks a little bit greener after only a couple of days of light rain.  I think we have had a total of about three inches during the past couple of days.  Already, everything looks better and the cooler weather makes me feel better!

Monday, September 12, 2011

New and Improved

I tend to like anything that makes my life easier.  I think most of us are that way, aren't we?  Who wants to have to go down to the creek with a washboard to clean the family's clothes?  Who wants to have to hook the wagon to the mule to go in to town?  Who wants to have to fire up the wood stove to cook breakfast in the morning?  Who wants to have to trek to the outhouse for our morning constitutional?  I guess I'm just growing old and set in my ways, though.  I'm having a hard time keeping up with the times.  I feel a little guilty because here I am a technology coach - supporting other educators and sharing ideas and assistance to make their job easier by using technological tools - and I am confessing that I am resistant to change.

It seems there is always something that is updated and made to be new and improved.  I'm all for progress, I just need the progress to go at my own pace instead of me having to sprint along to try to catch up.  That is certainly how I feel since I got my new phone.  You can read more about that service experience HERE and HERE

I am not a big phone lover.  I guess that is part of the issue.  I want a phone just so I can call folks when I want to talk to them - and usually that is to ask a question - not just to pass the time away.  I'd rather visit face-to-face to catch up and pass the time away.  I know that is old-fashioned but so be it. 

I will admit that I also felt there was no need for me to text message up until a couple of years ago.  My students spent some time trying to teach me how to text because they wanted me to be "young and hip" and I guess we all want to be that, huh?  What really pushed me to learn to text is that I got a phone which has a keyboard - not so much thinking and punching of numbers to try to get a word there on the screen.  You see, I'm good at typing with a keyboard.  (Other resistant people must have the same skills and traits if companies are producing such a product.)

So, when it came time for Mike and I to upgrade our phones, we struggled.  We were comfortable with the known and familiar.  We didn't need a phone for the internet; we had a laptop.  We didn't need all those fancy and smart gadgets.  We just wanted to talk and occasionally send a text message.  So, why should we pay for a data package that we didn't really want to use?  Why did we need something new and improved?

Yet, when I shopped for the new upgrades, the options for the old-and-out-of-date were limited.  Plus, there were all sorts of incentives for money saving packages if I upgraded to the new and improved.  Well, if you have been keeping up with me lately, you know that we did get new and improved.  Now I think somebody needs to upgrade me so that I can be new and improved!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!

How lucky I am that Mike found me!  I feel ultra fortunate to have him sharing my life on this journey.  Today I give thanks and say a big old Happy Birthday!

Wasn't he cute at three months in that sweet dress?
What a happy little six month old smile!
Starting to look 'all-boy' at nine months.
His love of animals began early - here he is at one year.
I'll bet there are some days when he wishes
he had run as fast as he could on this day! 
(Our wedding day)
I couldn't ask for a better partner in the garden, in the kitchen, in the yard...
Here he is preparing squash for freezing.
Here he is picking the vegetables.
Here is the lawn ranger!
He really looks good in these glasses - but not nearly as cute
as when he wears my zebra print ones in a restaurant.
The grandchildren are the delight of his days.
Whenever they are around, he is one of the kiddos,
 joining in on their games and acting just as silly as they do.
At times they are a handful because all the girls want him at once!
From an early age, they begin to adore him.
Is it any wonder why?
He can wear a cute little grin even when he is the one being pranked.
Years ago a spark was generated...
...and I'm lucky enough that he found me later
when we both were ready to appreciate one another.
(I still melt at that look in his eye.)
Happy Birthday to my dashing one-in-a-million!
I love you Precious!

*Special thanks to my mother-in-law, sister, and daughter for supplying some of these photos.  We really need to take more pictures!