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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lillie and Blaze

I love a little girl who dreams of horses...

In fact, she eats, sleeps, dreams, breathes horses...

She reads about horses...

She draws horses...

She stares at horses...

She wears clothing adorned with horses...

She plays with toy horses...

Her absolute greatest dream is to have "a real, alive horse all her own at her house for her to ride."

Well, today is her eighth birthday,

and that dream has come true!

Oh happy birthday, Lillie!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lillie's Birthday Celebration

Today is Lillie's birthday.  However, she has celebrated for the last three days!  Glad number eight has been such a big one for her.

Friday she celebrated with her friends.  They assembled at an artist studio and everyone got to paint a masterpiece.
Artiste at work

What a fun idea that is, don't you think?  Lillie got to select the subject matter and, of course, she chose her favorite thing in the world - a horse!
Each is cute and individual!
The children can personalize their painting and make it truly their own.  I think they did a fabulous job!
Lydia the left-handed painter
Little sister, Lydia joined in the fun as well and put her own spin on creating a masterfully painted horse...
Can you tell that pink is her favorite color?

Everyone seemed to have a creatively fun time, especially the birthday girl!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Beef - It's What's for Dinner!

Had a yummy pot roast last night and will have roast beef sandwich for lunch today.  My favorite main dish is a beef roast!  For more info look HERE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Favorite Grandson

That is an easy label for me to throw around these days.  You see, Harris is our only grandson!

I like to use the term while I can because he soon will be sharing the spotlight.

Since he is still under a year old, he is a bit young to come in the summer to spend Days with Grand B and Daddy Mike.  (Yes, I did capitalize the word Days.  You see, since the first grand came along, each of the girls gets to come and stay a few days with us.  Cassie and Evie spent some extended time here during the fall and winter till the tide changed and now they are off to other parts.  This summer Lillie recently had Days.  Lydia had the first Days this summer because she was at the End of Her Rope.  There have been other times when there were Lillie's Days, more Lillie's Days,  Lydia's Days, and Grandchildren Days summers gone by.)

We love spending time with all five of the grandchildren and look forward to visits with them.  It is so fun to focus on each one and get to know them better and just enjoy their personalities.  We are grateful when their parents give us time to share and cherish the short visits and time spent.

Spending time with Harris was no different.  I drove up in the morning and he was napping when I got there.  He was a bit surprised to see me and a little uncertain about my being there when he awoke.  It didn't take long, though, before we were playing and rolling in the floor and exploring all we could.

His mother joined us for a brief shopping excursion and it was fun to watch his expressions as he would check out each store's products...and fellow shoppers.  He makes friends almost wherever he goes by smiling and waving at folks he has never seen before.  He was a good little trouper and never got fussy and even took a nap during a Hobby Lobby excursion.

He and I played in the den floor, outside on the back porch, on the guest bed, in the guest bedroom floor, on the front porch, at his swing suspended in the tree.  He loves a good game of peek-a-boo.  He likes to play ball.  He does a dramatic imitation of a cowboy bronc-rider.  We shared some contraband blueberries.  He shared Cheerios but not his puffs.  I learned he is an avid music fan and likes to dance.  He is a jumper and likes to bounce.  We did silly stuff like wear bowls on our heads, too.
With a smile like this, how can a grandmother not have loads of fun?

We had loads of fun entertaining one another.  His mother was a wonderful hostess who provided us with delicious meals and luxurious baths.  She just gave us time to play and didn't interfere until we got a bit out of hand.  I don't know about Harris, but I wish we could have some Days like that about once per month!
Ah... they just grow up way too fast!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something Shared

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are awaiting the birth of a couple of sweet babies in our family.  It has been my tradition to create a sweet dress for each of the granddaughters to wear as infants.

Then, along came Harris.

His father does not want him wearing any "lace, frilly, or prissy stuff."  So...

I had to adapt a bit and and create a new pattern and make something that was almost like the classic sweet baby boy clothes.  You can see how I did that HERE.

Now, along comes Levi.

I've got something similar to the one-piece outfit for Harris in the works for Levi.  Yet, he is one lucky little fellow and already has loads of clothing.  However, his mother did say that they probably could use another gown.  So...

I decided to personalize one just for him.

I did some thinking to figure out just what connection I wanted to use in the personalization.  Levi's dad, Stephen, enjoys relaxing with a fishing pole pointed at the water.  That is one thing he and his father, Mike, share.  After a day spent beside a fishing hole, both of those guys seem to have a fresh approach to life.

So, I decided to use that as a way to personalize a sweet little gown for Levi.
I cinched up the bottom with elastic as an adaptation of the sweet gowns my children had which were drawstring at the hem.

The pattern is a simple one with sweet little tucks at the front shoulders.  Just below the tucks on the left shoulder, I used the squares of the baby-check and cross-stitched a fishing pole with a bobber on it.
If you look really closely at the fishing line, you can see the subtle way I made this little daygown personalized just for Levi...
Sweet Little Levi's Gown

Knowing that tiny babies generally spend a lot of time propped up on somebody's shoulder or chest, I decided to add a little something to the back as well.
There on the back is another fishing pole positioned up on the right shoulder.
Since the gown features a sweet little pleat, I thought it might be fun to hide a little fish inside it!
So, when Levi is lying on his tummy up on a shoulder or chest, the little fishy can be peaking out of the pleat!

I know it will be quite a long time before Levi will be wetting a line at the fishing hole  as a way of sharing time with his dad and grandfather.  Till then, he can do a little dreaming about the catch of the day...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Educational Games

As a school teacher, I have always thought it was great when we can integrate learning and fun.  At times, when I was in the classroom, I would ask my students to create a game as a means of reviewing vocabulary or some other aspect of our curriculum.  They always seemed to love being creative.  They also loved swapping games and playing one another's creations.

I guess that idea of fun and learning combined is one I inherited from my Granny.  My mother and Aunt Mary have been cleaning out Granny's house in preparation to put it on the market.  It has been an emotional and physically exhausting job for them.  Each of the grandchildren have been graced with treasures passed along as they dispense with all of Granny's stuff.  Sometimes it is all in your perspective as to whether something is a treasure or not.

All my life I have heard my mother and Aunt Mary tell stories about playing with their Author Cards.  Granny bought a set of playing cards for them when they were little girls.  It seems she thought it would help them learn their numbers, categorizing, sportsmanship, and a bit about famous authors.

They tell about how their younger brother could not hold all his cards fanned out in his fist when he was a little tyke.  So, he would go into a bedroom and lay his hand of cards out on the bed to sort them and see what he had.

The sisters tell that they are certain that when Granny would see them playing she would feel like she was encouraging communication skills, collaborative skills, teamwork, and more because she would smile as she did her housework and they were playing cooperatively.

Then, there was the day that she realized maybe the cards were not quite achieving what she had hoped...

The girls were playing with the Author Cards.  It seems they had a hard time pronouncing the names of some of the authors... Nathaniel Hawthorne, for example.  So, they simply created nicknames for the various authors and referenced them as such from time to time.  On this particular playtime, Granny walked by their game just as one of them asked the other if she had any "Old Shitty-heads" (referencing Nathaniel Hawthorne).

Can you imagine Granny's disappointment?

Friday, July 11, 2014

More Snuggling Blankets

Lately, for each new baby added to our family I have stitched up some snuggling blankets.  I used Suzanne's (Just Another Hang Up) tutorial for Receiving Blankets and added a little bit of personalization.  Often it will become a collaborative project with Bridgette from Goody Stuff.

You can find some of the blanket creations HERE, HEREHERE, and HERE.  (There were a couple more but I forgot to snap photos.)

Here are the ones Bridgette and I collaborated on for Luci...

Luci's initials and turquoise rick-rack and circle accent.
Embroidered name and floral flourish to coordinate with fabrics.
Initials on bedding fabrics.

Bridgette selected the fabrics to coordinate with Luci's bedroom.  Then, she selected designs and set her machine to embroider the accents.  All I did was buy the fabrics, rick-rack, and stitch them up!

Can't wait to snuggle Luci in them!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Encouraging Geniousness

About a year ago we were awaiting the birth of my favorite grandson - Harris.

I trekked to our son and daughter-in-law's house and stitched up a bed-skirt and some curtains.

I cooked a little dinner while Bryan added some touches to the nursery decor.

(We were encouraging Jessica to rest and relax to lower her blood pressure and make her be healthier.)

After dinner we checked out Dad's decorating.

There was artwork, shelves, bookcases, dresser and changing station.  It was all sweet and ready for Harris.  (You can see more photos HERE.)

Then, Jessica and I noticed something...

Can you pick it out?

Do you notice it?
Look a little closer...
OK.  I'll help you out a bit...

YES!  All the 'vintage' toys (the ones which were Bryan's as a child) are on the upper shelves and all the books are on the lower shelves.

Jessica and I teased Bryan that he was protecting his favorite toys so that even his own child wouldn't be able to play with them until he was much, much older!

Yesterday I decided something a bit different.

I got a sweet message from Jessica that said:

This is the look of "Oh no, you caught me!"
Isn't that drooly little face the sweetest thing?

Then, Jessica sent me this message:

This is the look of, "OK Mama is laughing so I'm good."
Look at that brilliant little fellow...

Learning to read books already...

Bryan probably knew what he was doing when he set this nursery up after all...
He was encouraging geniousness!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brightens up a cloudy day...

We were warned that there would be storms.

We were cautioned to be ready.

We were looking forward to some rain!

We were disappointed!


Outside I went fairly early this morning to water everything we decided to let go yesterday because of the impending storm.

The storm that never happened.

The rain that didn't come.

After an hour, the tomatoes, the okra, the bell peppers, the cabbage, the cucumbers, the zucchini, and the yellow squash had a good, deep drink of water - courtesy of me and my hose.
This is an old photo.  There are little heads on the cabbages and little peppers on the plants now.

I trekked back to the house and watered all the flowers on the front and back porches.  (Maybe I can get pictures to share sometime soon.)

I was sweating from all the humidity...

...or was it the heat?


It is BOTH the heat and humidity, for goodness sake!

Right in the midst of all my sweating and wiping my forehead and face with the tail of my T-shirt, I got a message from sweet Harris's mother.
Sweetness personified!

Doesn't that just brighten up a dry, cloudy day when we are wishing for rain?


Yes, it does!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Since she was about a year old, Lillie has enjoyed spending a few Days with GrandB.  The tradition continues and she comes to visit for a couple or three days whenever we have the chance.

Before Mike and I married, she even offered to include him in her Days - she told him he could sleep in her bedroom because she didn't need it at night since she slept with me!

Since our marriage, she does sleep in one of the guest rooms but still really enjoys spending time with Daddy Mike.

After all, she really does love to be outside and is an animal lover to the core of her being... much like him.

So, last week when Lillie was here for her Days...

...there was some splashing and jumping time at the pool.  (Thanks Nan and Jim!)

There was some library time where she selected a stack of books and avidly read at every available moment.  There was also a bit of TV time when we all munched on popcorn and watched one of her favorites together (Duck Dynasty).  There was time to romp outside.  There were ice-cream-sandwiches and trips to Sonic.  There was time to ride/drive the Mule.  There was time to feed the calves and just watch them in amazement.  However, it seems that the highlight of the Days came each night...

...when the checkerboard came out and the competition began!

It was intense...
...concentration and serious contemplation were necessary.

It was seriously competitive...
...and sportsmanlike conduct was not always observed.

There was cheering from each player when he or she jumped the opponent and captured a checker.  There was dancing and giggling and shouting when a win was inevitable.  There was taunting and trash-mouthing galore...

"Bring it on, baby!"  "How 'bout them apples, big stuff?"  "What you gonna' do now?"  "Woop!  Woop!"   "King me, buddy!"

After a couple or three games each night, the winner was declared, the board was folded, and strategy was dreamt of for the following day...

I feel sorry for anybody else who has to compete against either of this dangerous duo.  I don't think they will know what hit them!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Getting Ready for Luci

Getting ready for baby is an exciting time!

Bridgette and I began gathering inspiration for a nursery make-over months ago using this Pinterest Board.

We gathered ideas that were trendy...
wall decor

We gathered ideas that were girly...
hair bow organizer

Bridgette chose an eye-popping, fun, and cheerful color/print palette...
window treatment

She chose one fabric to be the anchor and build the rest from the colors and designs found in it...
bold print for the bed skirt

We added multiple prints using the central color scheme to accent one another...
pink chevron and turquoise leaf print covered the bumper pad with yellow rick-rack accent

We rode the wave of a zig-zag chevron for some pieces...
personalized burp cloth created by Luci's mom

We highlighted with more zig-zags using rick-rack...
yellow rick-rack at the bed-skirt and valance hemlines

Bridgette added accessories with a feminine touch...
pink rosebud covered lamp beside the changing table

She also added some quick pops of color for the wall...
embroidery hoops featuring fabric swatches

Simple design with interesting prints make a quick, easy make-over when getting ready for a sweet little addition to the family!