Summer Daze

Okay, I know it’s not quite Summer yet, but it sure feels like it with the heat and humidity.  Today was a picture perfect day with hardly a cloud in the blue, blue sky.  The seasons are running together now for me. I no sooner get ready for one season then it is another one and so on and so on. This is my favorite time of year when the birds are building their nests and raising their families. David and I watched a daddy bird feed one of his babies in our bird feeder today.  There are so many birds. Cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, Titmice, sparrows, cowbirds, blue jays,( who are nasty critters, I must say) starlings,who lay blue eggs I learned this Spring, purple finches and some I don’t know what they are called.  But the feeder is constantly busy. I saw a humming bird also. They have been very secretive about coming to the feeder and I can never catch them.

The garden just burst into bloom. When they say something bursts into bloom it’s true.  One day nothing and the next day flowers everywhere. If you don’t believe in miracles, go out into a garden and you will see so many all around you. I always wonder how a tree knows when it is time to unfurl it’s leaves. When a daffodil knows to pop its head out of the ground.  Who tells the birds when to fly north. I know, but do you?    It’s all perfectly miraculous.  It’s going on all around us every single day and most of us are blind to it.   That is why it says in the Bible, be still and know that I am God.  Just sit quietly in a garden for a while and if you don’t believe there is a greater Being making all this happen, I don’t know what to tell you.  I believe and I see it every day.

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Bursts. See.

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The peony is one of my top five favorite flowers. I have a lot of them in my garden and I just ordered seven more to be planted this Autumn.

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I want to just stop and look and look at these, but there is work to do.

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But then, there are these beauties. The Iris. On my top five list.  They multiply and you don’t have to do a single thing to make it happen.

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I never have enough flowers, but I am running out of room.

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My daughter and son-in-law gave me this for Mother’s Day.  I love it. But I am not very good with hanging baskets so I hope I can keep this as beautiful as it is now.  By the way.  I had a very nice Mother’s day.  My grandsons learned to play Chinese checkers the last time they were here so they wanted us all to play.  Six people playing Chinese checkers takes a long time. Especially when some people refuse to move!  But it was fun. We played on the Chinese checkerboard I received for Christmas one year when I was a little girl.

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This is not David’s grandmother’s clematis.  This is one we transplanted here years ago and it has really taken off.  It’s what I see from my backdoor.

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Just gorgeous.

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And Molly Marshmallow has to get into the picture. I love this dog. So much.

I always say the back yard is the dogs’ garden because I don’t get all upset if they dig something up or lay smack dab in the middle of a flower bed.

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Here is Belle demonstrating her gardening capabilities.  Which pretty much amounts to snooping, sniffing, pooping and digging. But that’s okay.

I have managed to complete one small quilt in the midst of all the gardening and painting my shop.   It’s another one from Kathleen Tracy’s book.

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It’s nice to do a small project once in a while where you can see the results so much faster.

And I am nearly finished with this quilt.

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I hand quilted it instead of on the machine and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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I still have the border to quilt and the binding to put on.  I already have another quilt I am planning to hand quilt on my mind.  It is slightly bigger. It fits the top of the table David is making me.

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Here’s the table on its side so that he can screw the bottom shelf on.

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And here it is on its feet.  The top still needs staining and polyurethaned but it’s almost there. You can see I still do not have the floor completely painted. Trying to think what I am going to do with the grandchildren’s handprints and pictures they painted on the floor years ago. I am keeping them for sure.   I love this table. We got the idea for it at the Indiana Home Show a couple of years back where I saw a kitchen island that looked like this and I loved it.  The price for the kitchen island?  Ten thousand dollars!  The price of this table with lumber, stain, screws and casters?  Under $500 which is still not cheap, but a whole lot cheaper than the one we saw at the home show.   It will last my lifetime and one of the kids will inherit it if they want it, but they will have to have a big place to put it as it’s huge.   I can see myself this Winter cutting out quilts and laying quilts on this table to pin before I quilt them. And there is so much storage underneath. I am going to buy some baskets to hold projects I am working on.  Thank you, David.  I love you.

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I have my mother’s Singer sewing machine. The machine I learned to sew upon. When my mother got this machine, it was the newest one out and she was so proud of it. David, who has worked on many sewing machines in his life says this is the best sewing machine Singer ever put out with metal gears.  So many of the sewing machines today have plastic gears. And talking about sewing machines.  I came in my shop with wet Crocs and feet the other day and sat down to piece a quilt square and got shocked.   I blamed the machine and immediately began to look for a new sewing machine online. David says it’s because I had wet bare feet that I was shocked, but I have talked myself into a new machine.  A heavy duty quilting machine.    I have worn out a few machines and mine are all over twenty years old with a lot of miles on them so I am getting a new machine.  But no more sewing with wet bare feet!

 

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This little girl is graduating from high school this weekend. I can hardly believe it. I remember when this picture was taken.  My son and daughter-in-law lived in Chicago and both her grandmas got to go with her mother and her to get her pictures taken. It was so much fun and we grandmas watched all gaga over this precious little baby that had come into our lives. Now she is all grown up and ready to meet the world.   I’m still gaga over her and so very proud.

Here’s to wonderful granddaughters, new sewing tables and learning NOT to sew in wet, bare feet. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Playing Catch Up

I told David we were never going away for a vacation in the Spring ever again. Too much is going on around here and I don’t want to miss it. Plus, it’s planting time and so many things to do around the yard to get it ready for Summer. Right now our yard looks like a jungle because the lawn mower man hasn’t come yet. Well, I didn’t get him called soon enough.  I am amazed how quickly our lawn has grown in one week.  And I don’t mow anymore.  That’s one job I am more than happy to pay for.

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I didn’t miss any of the Spring blossoms. Here is the crabapple tree in all its glory.

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The pink flowering almond outdid itself.  One winter the rabbits ate this clear to the ground so we had to put a fence around it. Now it’s too big for the rabbits to care to munch on it.

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To look at my garden you would never know I love the color pink.

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Even my painted garden has pink in it. I made a trip to one of my favorite garden shops and bought some geraniums in different hues of pink and planted them in eight planters this morning.  I have a few flower seeds to plant and some tomatoes and pumpkins and then I will be finished with the planting this year.

We had a little surprise when we returned home from Alabama.  A little furry surprise. We were going out the door to church the Sunday after we got back and I thought I saw a kitten run under our porch.  When we got home, David staked out a place to watch and before long he saw four little kittens.   Then as he watched longer, he saw there were five!  Five kittens born under our front porch and we didn’t even know it. Their mother is a feral cat that runs around in our neighborhood. David got out the animal trap we had bought  to catch a ground hog that had taken up residency under our porch. We caught a possum that time. Soon he had caught mama cat and four of her babies.  The fifth one, that looked like a Siamese cat, took longer.  It took a couple of days.

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This is mama, but she is vicious.  David had a tangle with her and she bit him five times through leather gloves and scratched him all up his legs.   I didn’t see it happen and he said I wouldn’t have wanted to.

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One long haired and two black and white, one tabby and the Siamese looking one.  Strange how so many different kittens can come from one mama.  So cute, but so wild.

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Such cute faces with a look of danger in their eyes.

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This black and white one was my favorite.  In a week they were litter trained, eating kitten kibble and drinking from a bowl and I found homes for every one of them. The mother is still running loose.   I am hoping she finds a new place for her next litter or I will be calling animal control which I really don’t want to do.

Work is progressing on my shop. I have almost all the painting done now. Woohoo!  That was a chore. I did it all with a paint brush, wall and floor.  I still have a bit of the floor to complete. Meanwhile, David is working on my new cutting table.

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It will be six by six feet, made of heavy wood and on heavy casters so that I can roll it anywhere in my shop I want.  If that isn’t love for him to do this for me, I don’t know what is.  I don’t need any boxes of candy or flowers.  This does it for me.

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And this is what I do in my shop. Sew and make quilts.  These are two I have pieced in the last few weeks.  And like all quilters, I am already thinking of my next one.

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From Kathleen Tracy’s book.  I love this quilt.

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And part of the fun in making a quilt is picking out the fabrics.  Here are a few I plan to use in my next one.

David’s grandmother had a clematis in her garden that was so pretty. She had it for as long as I could remember.  She babied that clematis and it was her pride and joy.  When her house was going to be sold, David and I rescued Grandma’s clematis and brought it home with us and planted it behind our garage, which is now my shop.  It bloomed there, but the last few years it hasn’t seemed happy there so this year we decided to transplant it to a more favorable place. At least I hope it will be.

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David worked very carefully to get it dug and to trim the fencing away from it that it had grown on.   We think we found some new little clematises beside it so I planted them in pots to see how they would do.   They might just be weeds, too!

It now sits in my kitchen garden where it can spread its roots and hopefully grow bigger and have more flowers on it in the future.  If any of our kids are reading this, we will Grandma Henley’s clematis to you.   It’s at least fifty years old.

Meanwhile other bushes are bursting at the seams.

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The Spirea always looks pretty.

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And another transplant from Grandma’s garden. A snowball bush. This one has become quite big and is full of blooms.  I’ve gotten two more transplants from this one bush.  It brings back fond memories of being in Grandma’s garden.  She was the only Grandma I really knew as my grandmothers had passed before I knew them  or they were not well while I was growing up.  My one grandma lived with us for a while and did teach me how to make good pie crust.   But we never talked.  Isn’t that strange?   She didn’t talk to anyone.

I try not to get hooked on movies during the day, but last Saturday one of my favorite movies was on.  Giant.  Starring Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.

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Both were in their prime.  I really believe Elizabeth Taylor was the most beautiful women in her time.  She had those violet eyes and shiny black hair.  Giant is about a Texas cattle baron and his family. It’s about women’s rights and the prejudices of the time, cowboys and finding oil and becoming rich off it and the disparity between people,  with horses and cattle and bucking broncos all thrown into the mix.   It’s a long movie so I had to tape it to finish it later, but I love it and will watch it again.  James Dean, who comes from my state, was also in the movie as a nemesis for Rock Hudson’s character.  He died in a car accident not long after this movie was made.  He was the stuff of legends.

The cinematography was wonderful.

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It made the old west come alive.    So much of the west is gone now.  Overrun with housing developments and ranchettes and shopping malls, but there are still a few places off the beaten path where you can still see what it use to be like.

And because this has been a hodgepodge  of things I will show you some lipsticks I purchased recently. Found the company on Facebook. Lipstick for women over forty.   Which I have been for some time.

 

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I don’t own any stock in the company or anything. Just like to share when I find a product I like.   I got a set of lipsticks and have tried them all and love them all.   They come in the cutest containers.  The lipsticks are not suppose to feather into the wrinkles around your mouth like some lipsticks do.    I’m still testing them, but so far I have been very happy with the product.   I usually wear Covergirl, but their ads have become kind of freaky and that turns me off a product. Just telling you the truth. I also like Maybelline lipsticks.  These new ones may become my favorites.

So that has been the first week back from vacation.  There’s a graduation coming up. Our first grandchild finishing high school and has her college all picked.  Wow, does time fly.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Traveling, But There’s No Place Like Home

One of the last things we did on Dauphin island was tour the fort that was on its Eastern most end.   This fort was here long before civilization crowded in.  The men had no stores from which to buy their food, so they depended on the oysters, fish and alligators for their meals.  It must have been a long, lonely tour of duty as there was not much to do but guard the coast, eat, sleep and find food each day.   Their sleeping arrangements were not the best either.

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Hopefully feather mattresses were put on these narrow beds.

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Or maybe they just laid down on this and covered up with a thin blanket.

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This must have been an officer’s room as he had the fortune to have a fireplace to keep him warm at night.

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There were many hand written letters home to family and they typed them up so we could read them as many of the words were hard to read and many were misspelled.   Notice this guy received some shirts from his wife, but the wristbands were too tight!  There were many  letters like this and I could have stayed and read them all, but we had more to see.

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Another military man looking at quarters in which he is very happy he was never quartered.   But he had to sleep out in the woods a lot so it wasn’t much better.  He didn’t have to hunt for food, though.

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This is another place I wish we could have stayed longer, but we had a ferry to catch.

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Out to sea.

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Past pelicans and seagulls resting on rocks in the bay.

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Past oil rigs that looked somewhat alien in this scenery.

We were driving to Destin, Florida in hopes of spending a day at the beach before we headed north, but near Fort Walton our car starting bucking like a horse in a rodeo.  It would run well for a while until we stopped at a light and starting up, it would start bucking again.  Thankfully, we made it to our motel without hitting one red light after I said a prayer.   We found a repair shop and took it in.  Of course they could find nothing wrong. “Bring it back in in the morning,” They said so we did. David left the car running so the repairman could witness what was happening.  It was a relatively simple fix, but we missed our beach time. So on north we drove.

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This will mean nothing to anyone but those who attend my church.  Our pastor talks about how he was saved in Piney Grove Baptist Church and wouldn’t you know it. We drove right past it!  I had to get a picture. There was a man there we hoped knew Brother Bailey, but he was just visiting the cemetery there and didn’t know him.

Then we found this wonderful museum of Alabama history.

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I can’t even begin to show you all the pictures I took and how much was in this little museum, but it was wonderful.

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Rooms set up to look like long ago.

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So many antique quilts.  Many I didn’t recognize the pattern.

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Set up for a quilting bee but…..

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The quilters were on break.

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This hat and purse were made from corn husks.

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An old baby bed.  Kept the mosquitoes and flies off baby.

Besides the museum. there were buildings to see.

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A general store that was full of old general store stuff.

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A church heated by an old cast iron stove.

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Lit by kerosene lamps. I told David it would be wonderful to decorate this church for Christmas with a tree and holly and have the lamps lit, the stove heating the room and having a church service at night. It would be magical.

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And Pastor David said, “Yes, that would be nice.”

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There was an old chicken house, but no chickens.

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A covered bridge and several other houses to see.   And then it was time to move on.

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Through more little southern towns with beautiful houses with big front porches.

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Until we came to another town where we found this park.  Another place off the beaten path.  Not a tourist trap, but well worth seeing.

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Over a bridge…

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To a beautiful falls.  It was roaring like Niagra.

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History tells us that an Indian maiden, betrothed to a man she did not want to marry because she was in love with another, jumped to her death at these falls.  No woman should ever have to marry someone she is not madly in love with.

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I would have probably done the same thing if I were being forced to marry someone I did not love.

Back on the road again and what do I see ahead???????

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We passed it, David, go back!

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I can’t believe it. It’s a Haunted Chicken House!  Opens in October.  Road trip!!

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So many cars with chickens on the top.  There was a big building there where the haunted part was, but I was loving seeing all these cars with the chickens.  So funny.   And I can’t even tell you what it’s near so we probably could never find it again.

Many times serendipitous things happen to us. Like when David missed his turn in a town and right at that very moment when he knew he had missed it, we saw to our left a part.  This park had log cabins on its grounds and a walking path.  “Let’s go in!”  And we did.  I walked  and looked at all there was to see.

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A bridge to walk and fountains.

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A log cabin with plaques of “dead mothers,”  There were a lot of them.

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Another old cabin. I love cabins.  I would love to live in one.

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There was a little free lending library there where you could take a book and leave one.  There was a book I really wanted to take, but I didn’t have one to leave so I passed it by.   The paths in the park wove round and round and it really was so easy to walk a mile without even thinking about it.  I walked around for quite a while an met this man walking his macaw.

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He told me he walks it every day.  His name is Bobby.  The macaw, that is.  This guy is an old Navy man.    That bird was so tame, it just walked on his arm and sometimes over his shoulders and back to the other arm and he talked as it did it like it was the most normal thing in the world. You meet the nicest people and their birds while walking in a park!

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Coming through Kentucky, we stopped at this Lincoln memorial.  There are exactly 56 steps up to the memorial.  The age President Lincoln was when he was assassinated.   So young.

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This log cabin was inside the memorial. At one time it was believed the Lincolns lived in this cabin, but in recent years and with testing of the logs, they learned the cabin was too new to be of that time.  So it’s kept as a memory of log cabins.

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We walked this wooden walkway back down.

There was  a little museum where we watched a movie about Lincoln’s life.  It told that although we have learned that Abraham Lincoln’s family was very poor, they were actually middle class and very probably upper middle class at that time in history as they had been able to buy a farm.  Sadly that farm was lost because the deal had not been done legally by the seller.   They bought another farm and it was lost too.  Evidently Abe’s father wasn’t too good at making deals.

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I found this picture of Lincoln made from pennies very interesting.

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The Lincolns probably did get water from a spring here on the property.

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Then it was time to get home driving through rain over the Ohio River in Louisville.

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We are in Indiana!  Yay!

And back to home sweet home.

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To one of the prettiest gardens I’ve seen except for Bellingrath Gardens.   And I didn’t miss any of the blooms.

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The magnolias were magnificent.

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The daffodils had not faded.

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The azalea was as pretty as any I had seen down south.

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And the redbud was bursting with bloom.  It was good to be home.

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And David was so glad to get home because he was starting to look like that old man in “Up.”   Sorry I don’t know how to turn this picture, so lay on your side and look at it.  We have laughed so hard at this.   He did this playing with his cellphone one night.

Here’s to traveling and all the sights we’ve seen. Bye.

Traveling South Part II

So, on we drove deeper into the south.  To places that had seen the ravages of the Civil War which was not civil at all.   Thankfully, many of the little towns were bypassed and were not destroyed by the Union soldiers.

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One little town was welcoming Spring. It seems Spring was late almost everywhere this year.

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Over tall bridges over rivers running throughout our country.

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Until off in the distance we saw another bridge we were going to cross onto an island.

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We are getting closer.

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Ocean on either side of us.

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Up and over and we landed safely on the other side!

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Here we were in Dauphin Island, Alabama.  I had never heard of this island until a few weeks ago when David and I were discussing where we were going on our road trip.   He asked me if I wanted to go to dolphin island. “Dolphin Island!”   “No, it’s spelled D-a-u-p-h-I-n Island.  We can drive to it.”  “Okay,” I said and now here we were.  I did not get a picture of the motel in which we stayed. It was called Gulf Breeze Motel and was your quintessential island home away from home. Painted an ocean blue and white on the outside.   The bed was covered with a comforter with shells and fish on it. The dresser had shell carvings on its front.  Island birds and animals pictures were on the walls.  The windows were open with the ocean breezes blowing in. It was indeed magical.  Right across the road was the beach, but would you believe, we never got to that beach.  Not once.  But we did get to a beach. One less traveled.  One you had to walk a two mile round trip to get to.

The first day I made new friends.

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Just a few feet from our motel’s front door was a little pier and these guys were gathered there.  I just happened to have some crackers in the car and they loved them. And they called their friends.

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Soon we had several seagulls flying around us.

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They posed for us.  Seagulls are one of my top five favorite birds. They are really what I miss the most about the beach.

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On an island? There has to be a flamingo somewhere.

We wanted to go to the beach and we were told if we parked at a bird sanctuary on the island we could walk to the beach.  We weren’t told it was a two mile round trip, but it was worth it.  Although we heard not one bird while walking through the bird sanctuary we did enjoy the peacefulness of it and we seemed to be the only people there.  When we finally got to the beach, it was almost empty.  David played in the water and I laid on the sand and listened to the ocean.  We walked a way down the beach and saw a dead crab, a child’s shovel and a few shells.  Away out in the distance we could see oil rigs.  Oil rigs surround the island.   It was so wonderful. Not the oil rigs, just being at the beach with the sun and the sound of the waves.  I have always been in awe of the ocean.  But we are northerners with very white skin and soon we were both showing a little redness and remembering horrible burns we got years ago on a South Carolina beach, we decided to head back.

The second day on the island we left the island and drove a few miles north of it to a wonderful place called Bellingrath Gardens.

Heading there we got on this road.

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Surely these gardens were not on this road.  Miss Garmin!!!!

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All we saw on this road was this fancy rooster who acted like he very seldom saw other humans except his own.  The music from Deliverance was running in my head at this point.

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And David would NEVER admit he was lost. Until we came to a dead end and had to turn around.   But we did find the garden so all was well.

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Land purchased by a Coca Cola CEO in the 1930’s held only an old fishing shack, but he and his wife built a magnificent house and planted wonderful gardens on 65 acres and opened the gardens to the public.  The gardens were opened to the public off and on until Mr. Bellingrath died in the 1950’s and has been open to the public ever since. What a gift they have given to all of us. For a fee you can tour their house(we didn’t because we knew it would take us all day to see the gardens even though we were told it all could be seen in a couple of hours) and tour the gardens spread out along the Fowl River.  Here are some of the flowers we saw….

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These look like cyclamen, but I am not sure. I was entranced by them because I have never seen flowers like this.  So sweet.

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Orchids in the green house.

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Even pineapples were growing.

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Fountains all around.

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The smell of roses filled the air.

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A little mermaid.

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More live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.  That always says the south to me.  Always.

Mrs. Bellingrath was a woman of faith and had a chapel built on the property.  Weddings are sometimes held there.  The windows were exquisite.

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Everywhere you looked there was eye candy.

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The house was indeed grand and overlooked the river.  But it took us hours to go through the gardens.  I’m not done yet.

There was a wooden walkway you could walk around an estuary.  Of course it took us a while to walk it as we had to look at everything.

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We were surrounded by scenes like this.

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A lookout built above the estuary.

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Lots of fish. This guy looks about right for frying up in a skillet!

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And look at the claws on this guy.

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Bamboo grew abundantly.

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Two old lions making friends.

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Trumpet flowers falling on my head!

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David called this the Medusa log.  Looks like Medusa’s head, doesn’t it?

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We saw this plaque on the way out.

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It’s Rebekah at the well giving water to a servant sent to find a wife for Isaac.    It’s a story in the book of Genesis.  Another of Mrs. Bellingrath’s homages to scriptures.

It was a totally wonderful day and it did take us hours to go through the gardens.  Everywhere there were people working on the gardens planting new flowers and mulching. It’s a never ending job.  The only part I found that seemed to not belong was an Asian garden. I don’t think it’s original to the gardens. It was poorly kept and had very few if any flowers. I don’t know if it was under construction or something or was not as popular as all the rest.  It just didn’t fit in.  But all in all, if you are ever in this part of the country, Bellingrath gardens is really worth seeing.

We went through the gift shop and David bought me the prettiest umbrella.  I had been complaining to him a while back when it was raining, that I could never seem to find an umbrella.  Now I have one of my own.

On our way back to the motel we passed this.

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An old fashioned tent revival.  I would have liked to have gone, but David was tired so we passed on by.  Next, we visit a Civil War fort and head back north. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Traveling South Part I

David and I love to travel.  We have been in every state in our country except for Hawaii for David and Hawaii and Rhode Island for me.  Some of the states we have visited several times. We love the west.  But we love the south, north and east also.  It was hard deciding where to go this year. Since we have not spent a lot of time in Mississippi except the time when my brother and his family lived there, we decided to travel that state to the Gulf.  We also planned a stop in a town where one of our favorite television shows is filmed.

I was having mixed feelings about leaving my pets this time as our favorite pet sitters have closed their business.  They are older than us, so I was not surprised that they had decided to do so, but I was worried at finding a new pet sitter. Then someone suggested a girl who attends our church so I called her and she came and visited and I at once felt calm about leaving my dogs and chickens with her.  The dogs loved her the first time they met her.  As dogs are very good judges of people, I knew she would be very good to them. She is a really sweet girl and very good with animals as she works at a dog daycare where I plan to take Molly this Summer for some play with other dogs as Belle would rather sleep than play.

So we left and I actually cried a little at leaving them and all the flowers that were in bloom around our house.  Crazy, isn’t it?

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The daffodils and magnolias were blooming and here is my crab apple I really hope won’t bloom and be gone before we get back as I wait for it every year.

So off we set.

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Down the road.

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Through little Indiana towns.

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Over the bridge over the Ohio River.

And south.

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We stop at little out of the way places. Not a big tourist site, but interesting.

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A park where we stretched our legs.   Walking around the paths twice was a quarter of a mile. Yes, I am counting my steps again.

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This old house was next to the bridge park and there were feral cats coming in and out of it.  I think they have taken it over.

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There is something about old, abandoned houses that interest me.  I often tell David if I were a billionaire I would travel the country and restore these old houses to their former grandeur so people could again live in them.  What history would this old house tell?

We passed many old houses the first day as we traveled further and further south.

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Wouldn’t this house be beautiful if repaired and brought back to life?  Now a farmer keeps his tractor parked where the cars use to park.  I could see me having a sewing room in that upstairs room with the big windows.

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There are still a few log cabins around. When I was a girl, there were two log cabins near my home. My brothers and I use to have walnut fights in one of them.  Those cabins are long gone.  It appears someone is trying to preserve this one with a new metal roof on the porch.

 

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You don’t see these houses driving the interstate.  This one must have housed a large family at one time. I think of the Waltons looking at it.

Besides houses the trees and flowers were in bloom everywhere the farther south we got.

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This is what my crabapple looks like every Spring.  At least I got to see a flowering crabapple this year.

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Beautiful blooms everywhere.

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Then, we noticed something strange ahead.

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I believe they have landed!   Don’t know what this was.  But it looks alien.

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I always think of the south when I see azaleas.  Even the most humble home looks wonderful with azaleas blooming in the yard.

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Another park where I walked in a wonderful southern town with lots of old houses.

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They really knew how to build them.  Many houses built today are all pretty generic.

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This house looked like a castle.

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David was trying to get out of all the pictures I was taking!

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Big front porches where one could sit and rock and sip sweet tea.

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I fell in love with this little house and it had a name.

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If I were a little old lady(well, I kind of am) and didn’t have a husband(which I don’t want to happen), I would live in a little pink house like this with a dog at my feet and a quilt to work on in my hands.  I would invite people in for sweet tea and cookies.

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I love the ingenuity of people. Who thinks of planting flowers in an old boat, but it works.

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A pumpkin colored house.  We are getting our house repainted in a year or two.  Think this would be a good color!

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Some of the houses had little carriage houses in the back converted to something else.

Then we got to one of our destinations.

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Down tree covered streets with large live oaks covering them. Past beautiful parks. This town had so many parks.

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Live oaks, a tree that is everywhere in the south.  Thankfully, many have been allowed to grow to this size.  Many dripping with Spanish moss.

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Roses blooming in profusion.  Then we reached our destination.

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We were in Laurel, Mississippi.  The site of the home renovation show Home Town. This is Ben and Erin Napier’s mercantile.  Of course I bought a few things here. It was a cute little store.  I was hoping maybe one of them would show up, but I am sure they have better things to do.

So on south we went.  I will write more soon. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Celebration and a Tutorial

Can’t believe Easter was just last Sunday.   It’s one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. For one, it’s the happiest day for Christians all around the world who celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who was beat, tortured and hung on the cross on Friday and on the third day he arose.  He took every last one of our sins upon himself. Only God could do that.   Because of Jesus, I can face every day knowing that He lives and lives through me.  One day I will see His face.

The other reason I love Easter is because of the fun things we do with out grandchildren.  We always have an egg hunt. This year two of our grandchildren were in California with their daddy and our granddaughter was in Florida with friends.  As our grandchildren grow older, their lives get busier and we see less of them which makes me sad, but that is the way of life.  But we had two grandboys and our son’s girlfriend’s son here to hunt eggs so it was fun. David and I prepared 216 eggs.  Seventy-five of them had little pieces of paper in them with dollar signs on them. Those who found those got a dollar for each one.  Dangling that carrot in front of young boys gives them a big incentive to hunt the eggs.  We hid some in he house and in my shop because we were expecting rain and when it didn’t rain, we hid more outdoors.

The hunt was a great success and each boy got a wad of dollar bills. All but two of the eggs were found. I suppose I will run across them sometime just like I do every year.

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I cut some of the daffodils from my garden for the table.  I had fun dyeing those eggs using just food coloring water and vinegar.

We had a nice dinner and conversation as we ate. In the course of talking we got to laughing about the Debbie Downer character who was on Saturday Night Live years ago.  Debbie Downer always found something pessimistic to say when her friends were discussing something.  Every time she said something pessimistic, the music would go Wa-wa-wa.   It was really funny.  Well, we were discussing whether we were getting any eggs and I mentioned one of our hens had died of old age this week and my son went “Wa-wa-wa,”  and we all started laughing. Then I tried to think of pessimistic things to interject in the conversation just to get to say it.  We were all laughing so hard.  I guess you had to be there, but if you have ever seen that sketch on SNL you know what I am talking about.

This week besides painting in my shop, something that seems to go on and on, I did manage to do a little quilt making.  And by little I mean the quilts are little.

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I have been working on this quilt.  Orange peel.

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Kathleen Tracy made this quilt. Now I have made orange peel blocks before and the instructions for them are in this book, but I make mine a little differently so as to get uniform orange peels.  Here is how I do it.

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Take one small piece of fabric.

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Draw the orange peel shapes on freezer paper.  Cut them out.

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Iron one on each piece of fabric you are using for all the orange peels. I used 64 different colors of fabric to make it more patchwork looking.

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Next, iron in the ends.

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Press all around the orange peel shape. Don’t burn your fingers!

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Remove the parchment paper.

Then I go one extra step some people don’t do.

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I baste around the orange peel.

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Pin it on your square.  Sew around it with tiny stitches.  Do this 64 times and you will have enough little blocks to make this particular quilt.

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I must admit it is quite habit forming making these blocks.  I so enjoyed stitching each different orange peel on its block.  I have them sewn together, but I will show you that in another post.

We are expecting yet another round of snow tonight.   I’m so ready for warm weather and sunshine.   We were going to go to the Indianapolis Zoo Saturday, but that’s been cancelled.   We will get to the zoo sometime this year.  Maybe even go to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Here’s to Spring, wherever she is and may she get here before Summer. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Crying

I am a crier.  I don’t cry every day and sometimes I go weeks without crying, but I cry quite often.  Sometimes when I am happy and most times when I am sad.   I don’t really like to cry, but as one author wrote in his autobiographical book,  his bladder was close to his eyes, and I guess mine is too.    A sad story, a happy story, tragedy,  others’ sadness, my children, my husband, friends or family members passing, all have made me cry.  Sometimes I cry for absolutely nothing.   If you ever watched Everybody Loves Raymond on television, Deborah, Raymond’s wife was sitting on their couch one day just crying and Ray saw her through a window and wondered what was wrong.  When he found out she was just crying because she wanted to, he was dumbfounded and couldn’t figure out why she would want to do that.  My husband is uncomfortable when I cry because I am usually a strong, cheerful person.

I have seen friends and family go through some horrible times in their lives and I have cried with them.  Some things just seem unbearable at times, but I find that a good cry seems to let go of some of the grief held inside. One time I was going through a particularly bad time, I won’t go into it, but I was attending a Bible study with several women and all of a sudden, during the study I started sobbing.  I mean a complete breakdown with tears that would not stop. I finally got up to leave and one of the ladies followed me and asked me what was wrong and I told her.  She didn’t tell me not to cry. She commiserated with me.   The strange thing was, that after that good cry, things started looking differently and I felt much better. I didn’t know how much grief I had been holding inside.   I believe God gives us tears for a reason.  One day He will wipe away all tears.

Never tell someone not to cry. I have had friends who have lost their husbands and people have told them not to cry. How awful.  I would never tell anyone not to cry because to do so would be to hold all that grief inside. It’s not good for you. A friend told me the worst thing people told her after her husband had passed, was not to cry.

I was watching a movie on Amazon Prime the other day and there was a song on it called, “Let Me Cry.”  It’s about letting someone cry even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.    They need to cry.  It’s by Hillary Wells, someone I had never heard of before, but I looked up some of her other songs and they are tear jerkers.   I sat there, all alone in my living room and bawled my eyes out.   I told David about it later and started crying again.  He didn’t know what to do!

The movie, “Marley and Me” is one I cannot watch.  We saw it at a movie theater and  when it got to the really sad part, I got that choked feeling in my throat and then I sobbed.  One day at my daughter’s house, they wanted to watch it, but I had to leave the room when the sad part came on.  I hope you know what I am talking about. It’s a good movie, but sad.

So, do you cry?  Do simple things make you cry or do you need a big, awful thing to happen for you to cry?  I don’t know what you are going through now, but if it deserves a good cry, let it out.  Don’t hold back.   Then blow your nose and go on living. That’s all anyone can do.

I promise my next post will be about happier things.

From a crier and not ashamed of it. Bye.

Twelfth Night and Twisted Weather

What a week this has been. Where has March gone?   If the time passes any faster, I will be going backward.

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We were having some decent weather and then, last Saturday, BAM, we got dumped on with several inches of snow.  It wouldn’t have been so bad, but our granddaughter was starring in Twelfth Night at her school and they live an hour and a half away from us and we kept hearing how bad the roads were.  David said we weren’t going and then he said he thought we could make it. I packed an overnight bag. Then it got worse and we decided we should not try to drive.   We kept in touch with our family there and they cancelled the afternoon show, but we were planning on going to the evening show and it was still on.  I was crying because this was her last performance at this school as she is a senior and we were going to miss it.  Then they called and said the evening performance was cancelled and there would be a show on Sunday. Hurray!.

The next day the sky was blue, the roads were clearer and so off we went. We hadn’t gone very far when we saw several cars in the ditch.  We were so glad we didn’t try to get out on Saturday.   We saw the show and it was wonderful.  I have never read Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but I knew it was about a girl, pretending to be a boy and another girl falls in love with her/him to her dismay.   Even after reading the synopsis of the play, I am still a little confused  But it was a good play with several funny places in it. The costumes were beautiful, the sets were amazing and the music was very good.   Our granddaughter had a couple of solos and she got to play her ukulele.

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Sorry for the poor picture, but here she is dressed as a boy.

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Here she is singing a solo.

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She has a very beautiful voice and I love to hear her sing. Can’t believe she is so grown up. Just yesterday we were holding her on our laps.

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Anyway, if you know anything about the play, she marries the man she loves and the woman who had loved her/him met a man and married him.   That is not the man behind her. I don’t know who that is!

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Here she is with her stepdad, mom and little brother. I say little, but he is taller than most of us and not done growing.   I tell him he reminds me so much of my father, and he does.  Except for the red hair.

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Here’s her other “little brother” eating snacks from the snack table they set up in the hall.  He was eating these cookies.

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Some mother made these and they were good.

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All the seniors in the play came out and talked and they gave flowers or gift cards to the adults that had helped with the play. They were all so poised.  I don’t remember being that comfortable in front of a crowd when I was their age.  I still don’t like speaking in front of people.

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It was a wonderful afternoon, but we had to head back home.  When we got home there was a card from the local sheriff on our door saying we had been in an accident.  What!?

David went down to the sheriff’s office the next day and they could not tell him much as the accident report was not done. He told them we had not gone anywhere on Saturday which was the date on the card. Then David came home and saw this.

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Our mailbox on the ground.  Neither of us had noticed this when we came home.

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Tire tracks  from the road went through our yard.  He called the sheriff’s department and told them what happened and called our insurance company.   Then I noticed our lilac bush in the front yard was pushed down.  Someone had run off the road, hit our mailbox, continued into our yard and hit the lilac bush.   I hope they are okay.  We never saw anything or heard anything so we think it happened while we were in Indianapolis and the sheriff just put the wrong date on the card.   I guess exciting things happen when we are out of town.

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It was a good mailbox.  A friend had given me those quilt stickers to put on it

Here’s to grandchildren.  And sudden snows, even when they interrupt life.  Bye.

 

Authors in the Family and Letter writing

I always have loved to write.  If I were disciplined enough and didn’t have so many hobbies like quilting, knitting, gardening and reading, I might have had time to write a book.  I have written short stories for my grandchildren in which they are the main characters, but that is as far as I have gotten to being an author.  Writing here on my blog seems to satisfy my need to write.

Our oldest granddaughter actually wrote a book when she was fourteen and had it published.  One of our grandsons likes to write and wrote a story about me trying to get to my birthday party.

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I guess that’s me in the picture!

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Wish you could read it. According to the story, I took a subway from Chicago to Lafayette, Indiana. There was a ship wreck and cyclone I had to deal with also.  Quite a feat if I do say so myself.  But I did get to my birthday party!

His brother made a really nice birthday card for me also.

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Better than any store bought card any day in my estimation.

I got a letter the other day from the same grandson who wrote the story, asking for a size 11 pair of socks.  I think he was asking for his dad because I did not knit his dad socks for Christmas this year.   Not sure.  I was just glad to get a letter. The art of letter writing in this day of cellphones and texting and E-mails has gone the way of the Dodo bird.  It takes time to gather a pen and paper and sit down and write down your thoughts, then find an envelope and a stamp and go to the mailbox and mail the letter. If someone does that for you, it’s a real blessing. It means they are thinking of you and you are worth their time.  I wrote him back and also told him to tell his brother to write me also and I would write back.  Maybe we have started something here.  Maybe I need to sit down and write a letter to everyone who means something to me.  Have you ever written a person and told them what they have meant in your life?  A teacher, or relative or friend?     I bet if you did, they would be so happy to get it. I got a birthday card a couple of weeks ago in which a friend had written a prayer for me and it meant so much.   For some reason, a letter means more than a text or even a quick phone call because it means the person thinks you are worth it.

Do they even sell stationary any longer?  I remember as a girl looking at all the pretty stationary and spending time selecting some. Stationary came in pretty boxes and there was usually a picture of something on the top of each page.   I had pen pals I wrote to in Sweden and around the United States.   The two girls I wrote to in Sweden would send me little gifts and I would send them something and we did this for a few years and then we lost contact.  I still have a picture they sent me of the two on them on ice skates  by a lake.   Hard to imagine they are old ladies like myself now.    I often wonder about them. I tried to find them on the internet, but someone I contacted, who  I thought might be one of them, never contacted me back, so I figured it was the wrong person.

I just finished writing a story based on my daughter’s Golden Retriever who lost a leg in a trap a few weeks ago.  I tried to write it from the dog’s point of view and I tried to imagine what he went through, caught in a trap in the middle of the forest for fourteen days.   I still am amazed he survived his ordeal.  My daughter says he runs fast now and coming toward you, you can’t even tell he is missing a leg, but he limps when he walks. It’s amazing how resilient animals are.  After I have done some polishing of the story I will give it to my daughter and her family to read and then I may post it on here.

Have you written a letter recently?   Is there someone who would LOVE to hear from you?

In other news, the work on my shop is going quite well. I have several shelves painted and all but one wall painted and now I am working on the floor.   It takes two days for each coat of paint I put on the floor to dry so it’s a slow process.  Plus, I can only do small portions at a time as I have to move stuff from one side to another.  When this gets done, I am done for a while. I did mention to David that my girly room is in need of fresh paint and he told me to get one project done before I started thinking of the next one!  Maybe this Autumn that room will get freshening up.

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It looks like the walls are pink, but they are dazzling white.

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It’s so nice to have clean, freshly painted walls on which to hang things again. I have decided I am not going to burn candles in here anymore as everything was blackened by the candle smoke.   I have burnt a lot of candles in here through the years.   While I love to burn candles, they do leave a bit of soot even if you cannot see it at the time.   So air fresheners will have to do unless someone can give me some advice on what to use. I’d like to do something with peppermint extract because spiders don’t like peppermint.

I also am trying to make some little quilts from these two books I got in the mail a couple of weeks ago.

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I really love this quilt on the cover and want to make it.  There will be some appliqueing in my future.  In this book, Kathleen Tracy writes of a young woman, Adelia, who lived during the Civil War and shows us some of her diary entries.  It is very interesting. I love reading about this time in American history although it was a very hard time and many lives were lost.

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This is another quilt in the book that I want to try. I love green and pink together.  So Spring like.

I am working on this quilt right now and am loving the process.

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It’s a small quilt and just about all I can handle right now.   Its from this book by Jo Marten.  I want to make every single quilt in his book.  I’m thinking of having a quilt wall in my shop of all little quilts.

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It’s becoming Spring in my neck of the woods. Daffodils are blooming on the south side of my shop and many more are getting ready to burst into bloom.  I know this sounds crazy, but I’m kind of sad to see Winter go as I had so many plans to finish so many projects that did not get done.  I did get some more socks knitted.

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Believe it or not, David loves these and wore them to church this morning.

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These go in the gift bag. I have another pair completed and am working on my Christmas socks. Yes, Christmas. I think about Christmas all the time because I make so many presents.  But the Christmas socks will be mine. The first pair of Christmas socks I knit turned out to be too pink, so they go in the gift bag also.  I also have yarn to knit David Christmas socks.  So, there you go.

Spring starts next week.   Enjoy it because right behind it comes Summer and the heat.   I hope we have a mild Summer this year. Not too hot or cold.

I will leave you with a smiling face.

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Molly Marshmallow says, “Hi.”   Took her to the vet for some shots and  she remembered him from when she was there a few months ago because she got so excited when he walked in the door like she was greeting her long, lost friend.  She doesn’t greet me like that!  Here’s to happy dogs. Bye.

 

 

A Birthday and Celebrating Christmas in March

Well, since I wrote my last blog I have been busy.  David was sick for most of the month of February and has had this weekend off for my birthday.  He is planning on going back to work Tuesday.

Today was my birthday. We started celebrating it Friday by going to this place…..DSCN6733

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With my best buddy by my side we set off on a glorious, almost Spring day.

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The skies were so blue.  A welcome change from the dark clouds that have been in the sky for days.

Zachary’s is a  candy factory with an outlet store. I had read about it in a magazine we get.

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Well, I was like a kid in a candy store. I was looking for Easter candy and we loaded up two large bags with candy.    There was candy of every kind made fresh at the factory. They only use ingredients produced in America which is another reason I liked it.

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We saw this mural on a building in Frankfort.  Remember Grandpa Walton on the Waltons show?  Will Geer was the actor who played him and he was born in Frankfort, Indiana.

We also stopped at the best antique store where I met the two nicest ladies.  We talked about a lot of things, but one thing we discussed was Saturday Night Live in the days when it was funny.  If you are old enough, you will remember Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken in a skit where a band is practicing and Will Ferrell’s character was playing a cowbell.  Christopher Walken’s  character kept saying he needed more cowbell and Will Ferrell would bang that cowbell so hard.  It really was one of the funniest sketches on SNL ever.  Well, I bought an old cow bell in this store and I will use it to call David inside when he is working outside.  I don’t know if he appreciates it, but I am having fun with it.

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I don’t know what this building was, but I like the look of it.  It’s not their courthouse.  Looks like an old hospital.  But we didn’t drive by it, so it will remain a mystery.

Today started out with me feeling sick to my stomach. We were supposed to meet some family after church for Chinese. I didn’t make it to church and thought I might have to call it off, but I took some Pepto-Bismol and felt a little better, but I didn’t eat much at lunch.  Then everyone came back home for cake and ice cream and to celebrate a late Christmas.

David bought me a cake because I didn’t want to bake my own birthday cake, but our daughter brought a chocolate cake she had made.

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Dark chocolate with peanut butter icing.  The sugar high we are going to have. It’s back to veggies, fruits and protein next week.

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It was just like Christmas day again.  With paper all over the floor.

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Watching people unwrap presents we have gotten them is one of my biggest pleasures.

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I think he was surprised with his quilt.

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I love this quilt pattern and how colorful it is. I hope he gets many years of pleasure from it.

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He knows what is being unwrapped because he got one for Christmas.  A hoverboard.

Our son gave us all wristbands for Walt Disney World.  He is taking all of us there this year and I cannot wait. It’s his 50th wedding anniversary gift to us.  We are going to stay in a rented house with five bedrooms  and four baths so we shouldn’t be too crowded.   The last time we did this it was with our older grandchildren and that has been at least twelve years ago.  We had such a good time then.

I am still working on my shop.  It’s been a slow process with us being sick and very tired for so long.

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I am dusting, cleaning and painting every surface I can.  I am going through all my fabric and have taken two large bags of it to a local charity.   I still have boxes and boxes to go, but it’s getting there slowly but surely.   I really am enjoying going through all my fabric, but some of it I will never use and hopefully someone else can get some good out of it.

This has really become a major project.  I wonder how people on those hoarder shows ever manage to get out from underneath with all they have accumulated. It’s funny. You spend the first several years of your life getting stuff and the last remaining years of your life trying to get rid of stuff.  I have become a minimalist in thinking, but my shop doesn’t show it.  Hopefully, when I am done it will.

I did manage to make two little quilts this week. I cleaned off my cutting board and cut them out and pieced them and have one almost quilted.

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I call this one Rhapsody in Blue and Birds.   I used some bird fabric I love.

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Kathleen Tracy has been showing these quilts on Facebook and I figured out the dimensions myself, but she has a small quilt book you can buy on Amazon. I bought one of her quilting books this week that I will share with you later.  Check her out. Her quilts are darling.

I love my grandsons and granddaughter.  My granddaughter grew up too fast and is a senior this year and is going to New York City this week with all the seniors. What an experience that will be. I have never been to New York City, but David drove through the center of it once. He said he got a lot of one finger waves while doing so!    Here are my two younger grandsons who always make me laugh.

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Candy corn teeth!

Oh, and if you think I am done buying stuff, I’m not.  We went to a La-Z-Boy store on Friday also and I ordered a new rocker recliner in fabric called Van Gogh.  Bye.

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