Sunday, December 22, 2013

Brrrrrrrr.........and Happy Birthday

We've traveled to the upper Midwest for two family birthdays and to spend Christmas with the kids.  

When you're accustomed to having just the two of you around the house, and then there's a whole passel of folks around making all kinds of noise, it can set the nerves a jangling!  Today was the party for the stepdaughter's 50th birthday.  Nobody here but family, but that was nine adults, one pre-teen, and two preschoolers.  You'd think that it was the little ones who would make the noise, but you'd be wrong.  It was the pre-teen that was the loudest.  

Everybody braved the cold and the modicum of snow to celebrate. 
The son in law braved the cold to blow off the driveway, all bundled up like the Michelin man. 
While it was very pretty outside this morning, the sun came out this afternoon and the snow sparkled with sunlight diamonds.  

There was fabulous barbecued ribs, smoked brisket and pulled pork from Woody's along with fixin's, and the son in law actually made a birthday cake from scratch. 

This has always been a card playing family, so after we all stuffed our faces, we broke out the cards for a game of Screw Your Neighbor.  I know, sounds off somehow, but its a fun card game for a bunch of people and it doesn't require any card playing savvy.  Even the 5 year old helped out. 

Don't know if I'll be back before Christmas or not, but let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May you, my friends, be blessed beyond measure. 

Y'all take care. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm Jealous

I know I'm not supposed to be jealous and all, but how can a girl help it?   Two -- not just one, but two -- of the bloggers I follow have published books and they are both for sale right now, so here's a shameless plug for both of them.  I so admire the dedication and effort it took to make these books into reality. 

Leigh Tate from 5 Acres & A Dream has her first book out following the path she and her husband have taken in their goal to be self sustaining. 

And then, Suzanne McMinn from Chickens In The Road has written a book about her journey as a farmer.  

While I haven't read either of these books YET,  I've  been following their blogs for a long time.  I think its safe to say you should hie yourselves on over to visit them and to check out their wonderful accomplishments. 

Way to go, Girls!!! 

Y'all take care. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Stitches and Stuff

Exciting stuff going on around here for sure.   Yeah.  Right.   The most excitement we've had is finding raccoon poop on the garden house porch.  Isn't that wonderful?    At first I wasn't sure what it was, so I did take pictures.  I'll spare you that treat, though.   We knew we had one visiting because they keep stealing the suet cakes from the feeder.  Somehow I've got to remedy that, or just break down and get another feeder that completely encloses the suet.  

I've finally finished hubby's quilt that I've been working on sporadically all summer.  Didn't get it done before his birthday, but only a few days after. 
He's happy with it, but I can't say that I'm happy with it.  Oh, the blocks came out good and the blue plaid flannel backing is nice, but that's about it.  I used invisible thread for the first time and I have decided its not for me.  Now, I hate that I used it on this one, but I'm not about to pick out all that quilting!   I machine stitched the binding and I'm not happy with how it turned out.  

I don't know if its the combination of the flannel and the machine stitching, or what, but the edges are a bit wavy and I hate that.  I'm even considering cutting off that outer border and rebinding it like I usually do.  Its plenty big to do that.   We'll see. 

My friend Dana rooted a couple of cuttings of salvia for me last year and brought them to me this spring.  I put the two of them out and they took off like crazy!!   Here's what the two plants look like right now. 
I have no idea what kind it is.  He got his cuttings from someone else, so he doesn't know either.  It's a true "passalong" plant.    I love this blood red color.  
We've had a couple of nights with below freezing temperatures and its still looking pretty good.  I put it in that location in hopes that the house would block some of the winds from it, and the trees nearby would help keep frost from settling on it.  So far, so good.   It blooms all winter for my friend. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We all have things to be grateful for, and its good to remember that. 

Y'all take care.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Galavanting, again.

Where does the time go?  I cannot believe that today is November 12 already.  Thanksgiving will be here shortly and then Christmas just four short weeks following.   Mama always said that time passed faster as you got older and I surely believe it, now. 

Oh, I had the best time recently at two quilting retreats, back to back.  Yes, ten days in a row of quilty fun.  First up was a trip to Blairsville, Georgia where we took in a lovely quilt show. 

I love this purple and white Hawaiian style quilt.  One of these days I'm going to be brave enough to tackle something like that, maybe a bit smaller though! 

In addition to the quilt show, we just had to do a few touristy things.  One of the girls had never been to that area so we just had to show here around.   We went over to the flea market in Murphy, NC looking for occasional tables for the cabin.  Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous in your life as this table?
And, lucky me, it was placed right beside my bed. 

And, we got lucky in that the quilt show was being held at the same time as the foliage was putting on a real show.  Here's the view from the porch outside my bedroom. 
And we just had to spend some time downstairs on the swing where we had this view. 
As we were doing our running around, we saw a flock of gorgeous turkeys. 
And there was a herd of deer.   You can see only a few here, but I think we counted about fifteen of them.  
Every turn in the road provided a breathtaking view. 

On one of our days, we decided that a picnic was in order and we found a lovely park for just that purpose. 
Now, I was on that trip with quilty friends and we did, indeed get some sewing done.  After we'd come home for the day, somebody would handle cooking supper and we'd commence sewing, which continued until the wee hours of the morning. 

There might have been a little laughter mixed in there somewhere, too.   Oh, what a good time we had.    

After parting ways with those girls, I headed on over near Birmingham to meet up with my other quilting retreat buddies.  I must admit that I don't have a single picture from there, but we most certainly did have a good time.  As I've said before, some of the girls come from all over for our retreat.   So, I spent another five days there, sewing and talking and laughing.    I was truly and well tuckered out when I finally got home. 

Y'all take care. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Culling the Extraneous

I'm trying to work myself around to holding a garage sale.  Our closets are filled with extraneous things we don't need and haven't touched in years.   I've made a start on gathering things up but there's a long road ahead.    I mean, after a while things just need to go!

Ladies, what do you do with a purse that you've grown tired of?  It's still in great shape, so mine wind up on the shelf to gather dust.  

And then there's pottery.  This one is a hand made, raku fired little vase.  

And a honking beer mug from Germany.  Must hold 2 quarts.   I wonder if I'll be successful in persuading hubby to part with part or all of the beer stein collection that has been boxed up for the past fifteen years.  

There's the odd frog gardener with his rake.   He's about 18 inches tall.

I've had this stained glass window for many years with all the best intentions of hanging it somewhere.  Hasn't seen the light of day. 

These are only the beginning of a cake stand collection that hasn't seen the light of day.  I'll be sorting through those, though.  Not all of them will be put on the block. 

When somebody in the family has lived all over and accumulated things along the way, its very easy to become overloaded. 

So, back to the mines to see what else needs to join these guys for a journey. 

Y'all take care. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Who Has Touched the Sky?

"Who has touched the sky?"

"Who has seen the clouds as they went singing by?" 

 "None but the few, the who knew the sun by its first name."  

(Go HERE to hear this in all its glory.  Courtesy of Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr and the San Sebastian Strings.)    

I've loved this since I was a teenager and have the three album set, The Earth, The Sea and The Sky.  

Happy Sunday.  Y'all take care. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Home Again, Home Again

We're home after two months of escape from the heat, humidity and endless rain down here.    I have mixed emotions about it, though.  I love having so much space and all my "stuff", but its rough when you poke your nose out the door.  

We did not do all the normal tourist things in north Georgia or Asheville.  We've been to both locations before, so they weren't new to us.  We spent time exploring the local activities and places near Asheville.  We didn't hit I-26 a single time during the whole month there.  It was wonderful.   And, we went downtown only twice during the month. 

There is such a difference in the terrain that it make the whole atmosphere different.  I love, love, love those smoky colors over the layers of hills.  We were fortunate to stay at a farmhouse apartment out in the Cane Creek Valley and we have fallen in love with it all over again.   There were days when we definitely needed the A/C, but there were also days when the windows were open to catch the lovely breezes.  We spent a lot of time on those days either on the patio or up top on the deck.  
View from the back deck 
Now, if we could only win the lottery or something so we could easily buy something there.  It's not unusual at all to see homes ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars up to near ten million dollars with hundreds of acres.   

There were also produce farms nearby too.   We drove by a tomato field most every time we went in and out.  They were planting something else on the other side of the road and at first I thought it might be strawberries, but I'm really not sure.  It's just that they looked like the raised rows where strawberries are planted.  

We are not horse people at all, but there were beautiful equestrian estates just down the valley from us.   And long horn cattle!!!  I love those things.  I think they're just magnificent.  

A couple of days before leaving to come home, we packed a picnic lunch and took a drive northward on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was glorious.  There were wildflowers all along the road and on the mountainsides, even though I didn't get good pictures. 

When we got up to the visitor center at Craggy Gardens, the clouds were playing on the mountain tops and it was wonderful. 

When we left Asheville, it was about 84 degrees.  By the time we got up top, it was about 68 degrees and breezy.  The sun was in and out as the clouds scudded through. 

I promise I'll be back soon with a bit more of our trip.

Y'all take care. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Coldwater Adventures

Hello, dear friends!  Its been too long. 

We spent the month of July near Ellijay, Georgia in a little cabin on the banks of Mountaintown Creek.    The first ten days we were there, I thought I might have to grow webbed feet because it rained so much.  

Raindrops a fallin' over my head......
We loved the cabin, even with its shortcomings.  I spent more hours than I can count out on the front porch just rocking and watching and listening to the creek. 
Just up the way 
And, just past the end of the driveway 
Now, you have to understand that I'm a flat lander.  Where I live, the elevation is a whole 11 feet or so.  Yes, that's the correct elevation.   Did I say it was flat?      Anyway, we eased into the hills and then the mountains as we drove up.  As we entered Coosawattee River Resort where the cabin is located, the roads became an adventure unto themselves.  The paved portions were in very good shape but just wide enough for two vehicles to meet, and just hope one isn't a service truck!   They are as crooked as any pile of spaghetti you ever tossed, and also going up and down.  Also, there's the paved but divided one lane portions.  They took some getting used to.  

And, then there are the gravel roads.  Lots and lots of gravel roads.  With hills.  Some with very steep hills.   Which must be climbed by our little red car in order to get to our cabin which is on a private drive off one of those gravel roads.  I swear, I thought we were driving into a rabbit hole when we headed down into that driveway!!  It was really just a twisty trail wide enough for one vehicle, all covered over by trees and bordered by more trees and a little stream.   Then the trail turned, widened a bit and ran along the bank of that glorious creek to the cabin.    

Looking to the skies 
We had real fun learning how to shoot up the drive and stop precisely on top before heading down the slope on the other side.  Then, there was the entertainment of backing down that drive to the turn around area.  Nope, couldn't just drive on down and do a three point turn to come back out.  Trail not wide enough and slope too steep.  Couldn't head on down to turn around somewhere else, cause there wasn't anywhere else to turn around unless we plain drove up to the neighbor's door and turned around in his driveway!   Oh, I forgot to say that his driveway is also the end of the road.  
The wide part of the trail
 Hence the backing down our driveway with trees and a bank on one side and the drop off on the other.    I know.  In the picture it looks like it would be easy, and for some folks it might be.  However....Hubby and I aren't those people, although I might have a slight advantage.  It did get easier, though, as time went by.  

And remember that flat lander thing?  We live in a one floor house where we have maybe a 6 inch step up into the house.  Once we got to the top of the driveway, it was 30 stair steps over four sections up to the deck.  You shoulda seen us unloading the car.  Not a pretty sight at all.   Once we got up there, we were perched among the tree tops looking directly down onto the creek.  Worth every step of it.  (Most days, anyway.

If you'd like to take a look at the cabin, here's the link.   I'll be back soon. 

Y'all take care. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Alive and Well

I'm alive and well, fun stuff,  just not able to post much.  Hope everyone is doing well.  Back when I can. 

Y'all take care.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day

Do you like the sound of a slow, steady rain on a roof overhead?   I love it.  Good thing, because there's been plenty of that steady rain for a very long time and no end in sight.  The creek below is running high and I suspect it will be that way for at least the next week.  So much for sitting in the creek,  whiling away the time.

Meanwhile, the trees are so lush and green and I'm sitting up here in the middle of them in a rocking chair on a covered porch. I'm not complaining. 

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Independence Day, remembering what it all means.  Our freedoms are not to be taken lightly and we must be diligent to protect them. 

Y'all take care. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tweaking the Blog

As much as I hate to do it, I had to change the comment settings to exclude anonymous comments.  Although I moderate all comments, it is tiresome to have to deal with "anonymous" all the time.  It has been a problem for a couple of months now. 

I hope this doesn't create a problem for all my lovely, legitimate readers who comment. 

A couple of weeks back I went to the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.  They had a display of toy sewing machines that was outstanding.  I can't even imagine having one of those as a little girl. 

Y'all take care. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WARNING! There are thieves among us!

No pretty pictures today, just a warning everyone should heed. 

An attempt has been made to compromise my husband's social security account using his social security number.  Thankfully, it appears that we've been able to correct the changes they had made and have put measures in place to prevent any further attempts.   Thus far, thank God, no monetary damage done.  The matter is under investigation by federal authorities.  

Please be very careful with your personal information.  Make sure that your bank accounts are protected, check your credit reports to make sure no one has tinkered around.  Be diligent about this.   Be very careful what personal information is shared on social media networks.

One piece of advice we received is that parents should request a credit report on the child just before they turn eighteen.  It seems that thieves somehow stockpile stolen social security numbers of underage children and as soon as they reach eighteen, they are ripe for exploitation.  

Y'all please take care. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Threadcatchers' Antics

Now, where was I?    After returning from the birding trip to Texas on a Sunday evening, I hurriedly did laundry and repacked my bags.  I left on Tuesday morning for my semi-annual quilting retreat.  I love that bunch of crazy women!!

What ensued can only be described as four and a half days of controlled (barely) chaos. 

One of the projects worked on during our stay by some folks was Quilts of Valor. 

Others had made blocks or tops or entire quilts for donation.   All together, about 15 quilts were donated that weekend.   We all sewed up a storm on various projects.  No pictures of what I worked on. It's at home on the design wall.

As usual, we had to have our fun.  After all, what would be the point otherwise??  :)     Seeing Stars and I made tutus for everyone, some in purple and some in turquoise.  After all, every woman needs to remember the carefree little girl inside. 
My reluctant model 
Now, once the tutus were presented to everyone, what else were we to do?   (Sorry about the lousy picture.  Totally wrong settings on the camera.)

And, the evening wouldn't have been complete without a little music. 
Until the next time.......

Y'all take care.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

YES, I'm still around............somewhere

I'm still alive and well, just on the road yet again and with no reliable internet service except intermittently.  So, I'm behind in posting and reading of blogs. 

Hopefully, that will change this next week.  Meanwhile, enjoy a few pictures. 
Tulip poplar blossoms, Missouri 
Does this look like trouble?

Purple leg tutu, anyone?
Back soon.  Meanwhile, y'all take care.