Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

                                                                                                Oh my gosh, can it be possible?  Are we really just two weeks away from Christmas?  I don't know how this happened.  One minute I was putting up Halloween decorations, the next I was baking pumpkin pies and turkeys. Then, in the blink of an eye, homes in my village were twinkling and glittering, looking most festive as they anxiously await a visit from Santa.  I realize I am already behind in decorating the house for Christmas. I have the trees up and a few Christmas birdhouses on the fireplace mantel, but I could do so much more. If I thought about it long enough, I could probably start to panic . . . I  need to start baking Christmas cookies, finish shopping, wrap presents - and I'm not even sure if I should bother sending Christmas cards at this point. 
They say time flies when you are having fun, so I guess I am having lots of fun.  They also say the older you get the faster time goes, and I do believe it is true.  I wish I could slow down the clock when I am having a wonderful, magical moment, like looking into the eyes of my little granddaughter Ellie as she smiled at me over the shoulder of her father, my son Jamison, my 3rd child. May God bless him if she is anything like the handful he was!  I also wish I could speed through time when dealing with one of life's difficult situations we all must deal with.  

Last night we baptized my fourth grandchild, Ellianna.  

She was so good and quiet, and looked like a little angel in her white gown.  I gazed upon that beautiful little baby and snapped a picture to help me remember the moment. 

 I reminded myself to live more in the moment and quit worrying about all those little things that seem to consume all my thoughts and time.  I need to learn to live RIGHT NOW and turn off the little chatter box in my brain that constantly feeds me all kinds of things to distract me from the here and now.  I must admit to having a nonstop feed of ideas for sewing and quilting and painting and dolls, and I really don't want to turn that one off, just be able to press the pause button every once in a while.  I guess I have found my passion and I can't imagine my life without it.  Of course, God and family and home all take priority, but my creative adventures are definitely what feeds my spirit and soul.

Since I don't post as often as I wish I would, I am taking this opportunity now to wish you all a calm, serene, and happy next few weeks.  Enjoy Christmas without the pressure of making everything perfect.  Embrace the new year and not only wish, but really truly believe that this new year holds many wonderful things for yourself and your family.   

And never forget - every time a bell rings, an angel gets her wings.     

Monday, October 22, 2012


I know I am supposed to be writing about the next week of my quilt-a-long, but I really wanted to share something else with you today.  I looked up the definition of the expression "facing your demons" and it said confronting something you fear or have been trying to avoid.  Hmmm. I guess you could say in a way I faced my demon. 

Some of you may recall how I wrote about being bullied as a child, and never feeling good enough because of the resulting low self-esteem.  I was amazed at how many people wrote me telling me of similar experiences.  Also amazing, and sad, is how these things that happen when you are so young stay with you all of your life.  

Fast forward to the present.  In this past two weeks we have attended two funerals.  Also very sad, but a good reminder to be thankful for every day we have here on earth.  Yes, we all have aches and pains, bills, and stress, but at least we are above the ground.  I once told a man to have a good day, and he said as long as he was breathing it was a good day.  As I sat at the funeral services I reflected on my life - my priorities, and the way I am living. 
I decided that overall I am pretty happy with the way things are going; however, I do need to stop and smell the roses a little bit more! 

Back to the demons. Those sad times in my childhood were about to resurface.  I knew I would be face to face with one of my childhood bullies. I actually started feeling anxious and uneasy about seeing her again. Old feelings kept floating up, reminders of  that little girl. . . the one who wanted so badly to belong, to have a friend, to feel like she was good enough for the others.   

Just knowing I would actually be in the same room with this bully was unnerving.  I wondered what she would look like, how she would react when she saw me.  Maybe she wouldn't even remember me. I also knew this person no longer had any power over me, and in a strange way, I was almost looking forward to actually coming face to face.

Let me tell you, I primped and fussed and tried my hardest to look as good as possible look that day. Makeup, check. Jewelry, check. Black dress pants, black top, light pink retro inspired cardigan -  pretty, classy, comfy, check.  Painted fingernails, check. I wanted to look really good but not look like I tried too hard, if you know what I mean.   

It was a cool, windy, cloudy day, and the clouds opened up every now and then to send down a sprinkling of showers. Great - just when I got my hair perfect. I got out the big guns. I found my can of extra strong firm hold hairspray, and my poor husband ran for cover as I started spraying my hair. 

I never use hairspray, but this was an emergency. My husband swears, with amusement, not one hair on my head moved with a big gust of wind.  
Even if I was nervous on the inside, I wanted to look confident and pulled together on the outside. 


There she was. She looked exactly the same. Actually, she looked much older than her age, or at least older than me.  She looked unhappy, and in my mind she still looked like a bully. She didn't see me, or at least didn't acknowledge me.  I was kind of surprised how just seeing her, all these years later, made me realize she was not intimidating or scary at all.  Just a human being.  

As the afternoon progressed and things were wrapping up, I went to make a plate of food to take to Mom. As I walked back toward the table, concentrating on not dropping the plate or falling off my heels, I looked up and was almost directly facing her as she was coming from the opposite direction. I thought about taking a sharp left turn to avoid her, but decided it was now or never.  I took a deep breath, stood up straight, forced a smile on my face and said hello. She just looked at me.  I said I thought we went to school together.  She continued to stare at me.  She asked "Who are you?" and I told her my name.  She just kept staring at me. Awkward. I told her we went to elementary school together. She continued to look me in the eyes for about ten or fifteen seconds, not saying a word. Felt like forever. Finally, she looked down and walked away.  It was so strange. Not exactly the closure I was hoping for.

 I wanted to grab her arm and say "Do you have any idea what you did to me?" but I knew I couldn't, I wouldn't.  I wanted to yell after her - "Oh yea, well guess what? I have a husband who thinks I am the most wonderful, beautiful woman on earth. I have four kids, four grandchildren, a mom, sister, two brothers, and cousins who love me.  Even my son-in-law and daughter-in-law love me, and that's sayin' somethin'!!  I live in an charming little house my husband built with his own two hands.  I have a wonderful sewing room, actually two sewing rooms - filled with beautiful fabric!!  I have a lot of friends who care very much about me.  I have a beautiful garden. I have a cute little blog, and something I made was published in a magazine.  I have won over 20 blue ribbons.  Me, yea me, the little misfit who wasn't good enough to jump rope with you - not even hold the handles while you jumped.  You didn't ruin my life. You didn't crush my spirit. I have a wonderful life and I am happy, and . . . and . . . and . . . well, I even have a cute little dog and 7 chickens who love me!  SO THERE!!!!

Of course, I didn't say any of that. As I walked back to my table, I could see my family and friends  watching me.  My husband and sister looked a little worried, like they weren't sure how this whole thing was going to make me feel. I smiled to reassure them that it was all okay, and told them how she wouldn't talk to me. Some things never change I guess. 
You know what?  I'm so very happy I had the opportunity to face my demon, so to speak. The big bad boogie girl wasn't so big and bad any more.  Actually she didn't seem a bit scary, just kind of pathetic. True, I was still not worthy of her speaking to me, and she didn't acknowledge that she even knew or remembered me, but as she stared back with that cold, blank expression, what I saw reflected in her eyes was a woman who was happy, confident, loved, and yes . . . good enough.   

                And that's good enough for me!  

Please stop by my friend Donna's blog, Donna's Lavender Nest,  to check out her wonderful giveaway.  Click here to visit her. Thank you to my friend Meri, from Imagimeri's,  for all the wonderful vintage images.  Click here to visit her blog.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And sew on, week 2

Here we go with week 2 of the quilt-a-long. For those of you who have just tuned in, I have joined a quilt-a-long with Dawn on her blog, As Sweet As Cinnamon. She gives instructions every Wednesday. You can link to her blog here to get specifics and measurements. 

This week was easy peasy, cutting out 8 squares total.  Of course, since I am making 3 quilts, I needed 3 sets of  8 squares. 

Stitch two squares together, twice. 

Stitch both 2 units together to make a 4-patch square.  Easy as pie!  

I needed two 4-patch squares for each quilt, so I had a total of 6 squares. Start to finish about an hour.   

Watching Barney from the Andy Griffith show struggle with a bully kept me amused as I sewed.

Last weekend my husband and I went to a quilt shop, antique mall, and out to dinner.  I saw the most wonderful cookie jar.  It was Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel, driving in a car. The car was a teal vintage convertible. I was in love! Right away I thought of my friend Jenny , who has a cute blog called Jenny's Heart. She is also a big Lucy fan. She has sent me some wonderful Lucy collectibles.  She calls me Lucy and I call her Ethel. 

I wanted the cookie jar so badly.  The price was almost $200.  The entire booth was on sale, and I believe it would have ended up costing $167 with the discount. I considered begging my husband for this to be my Christmas present. We turned it upside down, and on the bottom it was stamped Made in China 1996.  My husband was NOT impressed and didn't seem too excited at all, so I didn't bother asking. For all you Lucy fans out there, here is a picture of the cookie jar. Isn't that so cute??!!! I love it!

I did have luck finding a few other things I loved though, and I'll share them with you another day.

I was happy to hear from a few of you that were joining the quilt-a-long, and I can't wait to see how your quilts turn out.  It's nice to be doing it along with some blogging friends, like a modern-day quilting bee! I'll see you next week!!

Thank you Meri for the adorable image of the little girl ironing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Quilting We Will Go!

This picture is my friends and I hurrying off to the quilting bee. We just can't wait to get there so we are on skates. I'll give you three guesses who is the one wearing pink, falling on her patootey again. Of course it's me!  Thank goodness for petticoats!!!  
I was visiting a blog called As Sweet as Cinnamon, which is a really cute blog by the way, and saw she was having a quilt-a-long.  Her name is Dawn, and she is from Australia.  Those girls from Australia are some amazing quilters and crafters, I can tell you that.  I always see articles in magazines featuring someone or other from down under.  
I digress.  She was mentioning using a lot of scraps for this quilt, and was wondering if any of us out there had scraps.  I left her a comment telling her I did indeed have scraps and might just dump them out and see what I could come up with.  I was just toying with the idea of doing something with them and maybe joining the quilt-a-long.  Well, she wrote back and said she was so glad I was joining.  My first reaction was - gee, I haven't really committed to joining just yet.   I decided to take another look at her post and the previous posts showing the quilt, and I was so in! 

It is a sweet quilt for a little girl, featuring some applique with purses, cupcakes, butterflies, and as she says all things girly.

She has two  daughters, and she made two quilts, each just slightly different.  Do you see the differences?

She also has a version for little boys with a sailing ship in the middle which she says is very cute, but since I am thinking of a Christmas present for Haileybelle, I am making the girly version.

I have decided this will be a good test for me in discipline, since I am going to force myself to blog about each step, and each step is once a week; therefore I must blog weekly.  Whew.  I always get scolded for not posting often enough from my beloved blogging friends.  That's a lot for me - especially since my sister will be leaving soon to go back home and I will once again be the main caretaker for my mom.  It is a lot of work helping mom, but I'm just going to try to take one day at a time. I am even thinking of bringing my old retired sewing machine over there and trying to get in a little sewing while she is watching tv.  Usually there is so much to do once I'm there I'm not sure it is worth the effort of lugging over the machine and all my stuff, but I'll think about it. 

If you would like to visit Dawn and her blog, here is a link to As Sweet as Cinnamon.  It is not too late for anyone to join in, week one was a snap to do, just easy mindless kind of sewing.  Week 2 was just posted and doesn't look too hard or time consuming.  If you want to see her original post about the quilts, go to the  August 9 post and you can read all about it.   

I hope you all enjoy following along with me as I make the quilt.  I am thinking I will make a 2nd quilt as I go for my beautiful new little granddaughter, Ellie.  Gosh, I am going to pat myself on the back, I can knock out two Christmas presents at once.  You go Julie!!! You rock!!  Yes I am a dork. I do amuse myself though.    

I also am challenging myself to host my own quilt-a-long once I finish this one, so this will be good practice for me!

Here is week one - easy peasy.  Cut out eight squares and eight strips.  Add strips to top and bottom . . .

then to sides, of course pressing as you go.

When you're done you end up with eight squares, or in my case sixteen since I'm doing two quilts. If you look at the pictures of the finished quilts you will see the squares on the top and bottom.

Always the overachiever, I have decided to make a third quilt as I go for my sweet friend Keren, from Free Pretty Things.  Actually not for Keren, but for her daughter!  Keren hasn't ventured into the world of quilting yet, but I'll work on her.  Wait until I tell my also very sweet friend Donna, from Donna's Lavender Nest.  I am always telling her she is crazy for trying to do so many swaps.  Boy is she going to laugh at me!  She is an awesome quilter and actually does machine quilting for people, so if you need something quilted drop her an email. 

I'm really looking forward to making these quilts, and so far have enjoyed the sewing time.  Maybe this is the way I should do everything, just a little each week - I won't feel so overwhelmed!  Until next time . . .
A big thank you to Meri for the wonderful vintage images. Do visit her blog, you'll love it!   

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Special Delivery!!!!!!

On September 12 we had a special delivery.  Not a box from UPS, or a package from FedEx, but something even better.  

We have been waiting such a long time for this very special delivery to arrive.

This package was tiny,  19 -1/2 inches long, and didn't weigh much, 7 pounds 10 ounces to be exact.  It was soft and pink and smelled oh so nice. There was a big fuss upon it's arrival, people hovering over to make sure it arrived in good condition, and everyone trying to get a little peek to see what it looked like. 

It was very fragile, although the packaging didn't specifically say so. We already knew we must handle this package with care!
We thought it would never arrive. We waited and waited, and of all the crazy things - the stork is the one who finally came through!
Yes, she has arrived.  My 4th grandchild. Our little Ellianna.  Most of us will probably call her Ellie.  They were considering the name Julianna, and of course I was going to call her Julie, but after meeting her, my son and daughter-in-law decided that Ellianna suited her.  And I believe it does.  

As I held her in my arms and gently kissed her soft little chubby cheek, I wondered . . .  Who will you look like?  She already looks so much like her brother when he was born so I  have a pretty good idea. Will you be a happy child or a fussy baby?  Will you be as stubborn as your daddy and drive your parents crazy? (Trust me, that would be well-deserved payback.)  Will you be quiet, serious, studious, and cautious?  Or will you be bubbly, chatty, happy, and carefree?  Will you love math and science, or will you love to create and draw and spend hours crafting?  (I'm crossing my fingers and already planning her little spot in my sewing room.)

My sweet little Ellie, I love you already. Actually, I loved you before you even got here. . . someday you will understand that.  Your grandma wishes you joy, happiness, health, and a lifetime filled with wonderful moments, people, and memories.  I thank you, Mr. Stork, for bringing us this very special delivery. 

Special thanks to Meri for the wonderful vintage images.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Get your sweet corn here!!

It is almost time for the county fair!  Woohoo!   I close my eyes and picture myself walking into the fairgrounds.  I can almost smell that tantalizing  combination of corndogs, popcorn, corn on the cob, and ohmygosh don't even get me started about the funnel cakes.  And manure.  Giggle. Well let's face it, you do get the aroma from the animal stalls when the wind is just right!  But that's ok, it's all a part of the charm of the fair.  
After I married my husband, I began working with him at the corn booth, run by the men's group from our church.  It was always a lot of fun, and I felt like part of the fair being a worker as opposed to an attendee.  Kinda felt important. Pretty sad right, that selling corn makes me feel special!!!  
                                  This is a picture the day before the fair started, looking out from the booth.  
                                             My husband had to repair the roof and I had to drop off my entries.  
I really enjoyed watching the people come and go from the safety of my little wooden structure. 
I'm not really a crowd person, so this was perfect!  

While slip-sliding on the butter drippings on the floor, I could look out and see the excited fairgoers, the animals coming and going, the tractors moving to and fro. I listened to the music and watched the colorful ferris wheel spin around and around - in the almost always perfectly blue sky. At night the glistening lights of the ferris wheel sparkled against the starry, black night sky, creating a beautiful kaleidoscope of color, like never-ending fireworks. It was almost magical.  When things got slow I would sneak off to the back of the building to enjoy a yummy, salty, double-dipped in butter ear of corn.  Mmmmmm.  Ok, I'll confess, actually by the time the night was over two or three.  One character from our group, Jon, always wears this crazy yellow rubber hat - shaped like an ear of corn of course - on his head and calls out to the people "Sweet corn, get your delicious sweet corn" for hours.  This isn't him, obviously, but I just had to include a picture so you could get the idea. I loved watching the people's reactions to his hat! 

I wished that time would slow down so the day would last longer.  You could almost feel the excitement in the air. Seeing the joy on the faces of the children just warmed my heart.  I always wished I was raised in the country rather than in a small town. I do know for certain that I am a country girl at heart.  Our grandparents took us "downhome" every summer to spend time with all the relatives in the little southern farm towns, and I think this had a huge effect on me.
After about five years of working in the corn booth I decided to venture out to see the sights.  I would spend hours visiting all the wonderful cows and horses and sheep and chickens. I took so many pictures of the animals, I just love them.  My grandchildren loved the animals too.  

I managed to find my way to the Open Class Building, the one with the jams and baked goods and quilts and knitting, and . . . sigh, I felt like I was stepping into Heaven, country style.  Over the next few years I began spending more time marveling at the magnificent handwork than I did selling corn.  I dared to dream that someday I would enter something.  I was sure my stuff would never be good enough, but it was really fun to just imagine and dream about it.  I will enter something . . . someday. 

Four years ago, I did it.  I don't know what came over me, but I marched into the fair office, requested a fair book, asked a bunch of dumb questions on how to enter, figured out the different  categories, and turned in ten items.  I was certain nothing would get a ribbon, but just being a part of it all made me so happy and excited.  On judging day I showed up with my notebook and camera (and nervous stomach) and watched the judging, listening to the comments. 
 I prayed that God would let me live long enough to win just one blue ribbon.  Well, I didn't win one blue ribbon. At the end of the day I had 6, yes 6 blue ribbons, as well as three red, and one white.  OHMYGOSH!  Then I thought about my prayer and said "oh oh", I should have phrased that prayer differently!!!   The next year I won three blue ribbons, and last year I won 10, as well as a few red and white ribbons.  Gosh, I had a lot of things entered last year, didn't I? I even worked a shift last year in the open class building, and now you will  find me at the fair pretty much every day, God willing. I have already purchased my season pass!  What is really funny is that my daughter, a city girl for sure, absolutely LOVES the fair and was with me almost every day last year. She is buying supplies for the grandkids to make their projects, and is planning on taking the week off this year. Even though she didn't have the exposure to the true "downhome living on a farm lifestyle" I did as a child, she still loves it all.  I guess it is true that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

So here we are again.  I am so busy with mom and everything that I really don't have much time to make things to enter.  I'm so sad that this year I didn't even get to make jam, but as I looked around the house I was finding projects here and there that I have made over the last year that  just might have a chance.  I filled out my paperwork yesterday, and my husband and I took a ride out to the County Fair Office to turn it in.

I also entered two of my grandchildren.  Two years ago my granddaughter entered for the first time and won a blue ribbon and a red ribbon!!  I can honestly say I was more excited about her ribbons than I was my own.  As I tell her, it really doesn't matter if we win a ribbon or not, it's just so much fun being a part of it . . . but I would be lying if I said I wasn't praying for at least one blue ribbon.

Many thanks again to Meri for sharing all her wonderful images. Do visit her blog, you'll love it!