Category Archives: Books I’m reading

Skipping Merrily into Spring

March is finally here. My birth month.  My mother’s birth month.  My daughter’s birth month.  I love March because it is the start of Spring.  March, April and May are my very favorite months of the year. But I have to tell you, January and February haven’t been too bad this year. So many days of almost Spring like weather. I kind of feel cheated by winter since we never had very much snow.  Of course March could still surprise us.  Here in Indiana we have March madness when all the high schools play their sectionals, semi-state and state basketball tournaments.  In the past, the weather usually turned bad at this time with snow and ice and cold.  I remember one year my school was playing in the sectional and I wanted to go so my mother made my brothers take me with them and their friends.  The weather was so bad the gymnasium was almost empty.  I found one person I knew to sit with for the game. I still wonder why my mother allowed us all to go that night as it was blizzard like weather.   Maybe she was just glad to get us out of the house!

We have daffodils already blooming and lots of other flowers popping up all over the garden.  One week it’s gray and nothing is growing and the next, new life appears.  It’s really a miracle.  I just don’t want Spring to come too quickly and then turn immediately into hot Summer.   I’ve ordered a pound of zinnia seeds and gotten two packets of pumpkin seeds to plant.  I didn’t start tomato plants this year.  I will just buy a few plants this year.   That’s pretty much all I am planting this year other than any perennials I might have to have.  My yard is full, but there is always room for one more plant.

March being my birth month, I celebrate all month.  David and I have plans for this weekend.  Doing more antiquing and buying some things for our new bathroom remodel and maybe some paint.  I love to paint.  I have probably painted every room in our house three or four times.  I have the paint color picked out for the bathroom. A very soft grey for the walls and a soft green called “Stillness,” for the ceiling.  I thought it was a nice color to stare at while soaking in the tub.  We are not replacing the bath tub.  I love that tub.  Almost long enough for me to lay down in and it’s been there since the 1950’s and I want to keep one thing old in there. We did find an old mirror to replace the medicine cabinet.  It has an old looking mirror and is surrounded by old wood.  I will show it after we have it placed in the bathroom.  I was thrilled to find it as we were looking for an old mirror last weekend and the very first antique store we visited had that mirror.  They had just gotten it in the store.  Serendipity.  I was meant to get it.  I love when things come together.

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This flower blooms in the winter and is loaded with flowers right now.  I forget what it’s called, but it’s about the only flower that blooms in the winter this far north.

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Daffodils coming up everywhere.  I forget how many I have planted until they come up every Spring.

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Colorful train cars right in front of our house loaded with gravel.  Men have been working on the tracks for weeks.

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Men held up plywood to keep the gravel from getting onto the road.    I heard on the radio today that next year one train an hour will go through our city and some will be three miles long.  Wow.  That is really going to mess up traffic in many places.  Our city fathers are scrambling to try to figure out what to do about all the extra traffic.  Move the tracks?  Put up signal arms at the crossings so the trains won’t be tooting all day every hour?    It’s going to be interesting and we are going to have a front row seat on it all.   Little boys who come to our house love to watch the trains. Maybe we could sell tickets to parents who want to bring their children to sit on our porch and watch the trains go by.  Trains seem to draw little boys like magnets.  Our grandsons can be anywhere in our house and when they hear the train whistle, they make a mad dash to come watch the train go by.  I find I am drawn to them also although their whistle can hurt the ears.

Last Saturday David and I took an antiquing jaunt to southeastern Indiana.  I was looking for an old mirror and things to put in our soon to be remodeled bathroom.   As I wrote, we found the mirror at the first store.   I wish I had had my camera at one of the stores. When we get in the car and start driving, when we are several miles from home I will say to David, “Did we bring the camera?” or Did we remember the cellphone as we hardly ever have our cellphone with us.  We forgot both this trip so I missed some really interesting shots.  Anyway, this one store called The Whistle Stop was so chock full of wonderful things.  A little old lady was running the store(I’m a little old lady, but I always use the term when I see an older lady who may or may not be older than me!)  Anyway, she sat in a chair reading a book while David and I, who were her only customers, walked around looking here and there.  There was an upstairs with lots more good stuff.  I ended up getting a book and a bowl.

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I have read so many of Catherine Cookson’s books.  Most are about women living in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s who have to make their way alone in a very harsh world.   Most take place in England or Ireland.   I don’t think I have read this one and it was cheap, so I bought it.

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I love these little bowls.  I have a small collection of them.  I use some of them to hold my yarn balls while I am knitting so the balls won’t roll around.

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This bowl was made in Roseville, CA.

In my constant quest for vintage tablecloths, I have become more selective in the ones I buy, but this one caught my eye and it was large enough to fit our dining room table.

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I really love it.

Then this week I was looking through an old magazine I had and what  did I see?

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The exact tablecloth that I had bought in a little store in Indiana.   Maybe it’s the same one. Who knows.

This week a friend asked me if I was still working on quilts and I almost felt a little guilty when I had to tell her, “No,” because I have been knitting socks.  Well, that made me decide I needed to get back out into my shop and sew for a while.

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While it’s not a quilt, it is a quilt block I am making into a pot holder. In fact, after this one, I made a couple more in different patterns.  I think I could make these and sell them if I got my act together.   But…..

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Then I dug out this quilt I had appliqued years ago and never got quilted.  I think this one will get completed this year. It’s called Ohio Rose.

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I think I must have planned to hand quilt this one as I have drawn on designs on this one.

Then…….

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I came across this quilt pattern on a blog and decided I just have to make it.  I forget what blog it is, but when I find it, I will tell you so you can make it also if you would like. Quilt is found on Tilda blog.  A lot of beautiful things to see on it and free patterns.  

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Made like banners and I love banners.  Looks like something that will go together very quickly. The hard part will be picking out the material.  The person who made this quilt had her own fabric line and showed where to use each material.  But I like to pick out my own material and make a quilt my very own, so I will search in my stash and maybe buy some new material to make this one.

So now I can tell my friend I am working on a quilt.   I also have another chicken quilt half done.

But, still……..

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There will always be socks to knit.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

The Week Between

Santa has hung up his hat for another year.

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There really ought to be a name for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I mean, you just spent weeks in a wild scramble to decorate, buy gifts, wrap the gifts, plan a special meal, attend a Christmas cantanta, do some partying if you are so inclined and then Christmas comes and all the gifts are opened, the family comes, the family goes and in a few hours, it’s over.  I spent the day after coming down from a complete high.  Nothing to hurry to get done.  No cleaning to do. No where to go.  Ahh, sweet, sweet nothingness.   Sleep in, read, knit just for the enjoyment.  Work on a new little project I was chomping at the bits to start before Christmas.  But I still felt a little lost. Like something was missing.  The week of nothingness.   I just wish Christmas had  lasted longer.  And all the tv has is reruns.  Glad we have Netflix, but we finished the final show in the series of Longmire, which had quickly become my favorite show on television.  I understand there will be a sixth season of it so will have to wait until it comes on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it and like good stories, good acting, handsome men and the west, you will love it.  Lou Diamond Phillips is in it and he’s a hunk and the star, Robert Taylor isn’t bad either. (Hope David doesn’t read this!)  If we didn’t have Netflix, we probably would not watch much tv.  I am trying to cut back and do more reading.  I’ve put several books on my Kindle.  Does anyone else who has Kindle feel like they read faster than when reading from a book?   I feel like I fly through books now.  I got Kindle Unlimited because I was buying so many books.  Now I can read as many as I want for the price of one book.   There is an author I discovered, George Mahood, who has written books about things he has done like bicycle from the bottom tip of England to the top tip of Scotland with no money, no bicycle and no clothes, except the shorts he had on.  No bicycle, you ask?  You will have to read the book.  He and a friend did it in three weeks with absolutely no money in their pockets.  He wrote a book about a trip he took through the United States which was really good and made me love my country even more. That book was called, “Not Tonight, Josephine.”  You will have to read it to find out who Josephine is.  It’s nice when someone from another country says so many nice things about my country.  Another book he wrote was about different holidays no one has ever heard of before and he tried to celebrate one each day of the year.  Did you know that January 2 is cats’ new year?  It’s called Happy Mew Year. If you want to laugh out loud, read one of his books.

We are the grandparents of four brand new golden retriever puppies.  Our daughter’s dog had them on my grandson’s, her son’s birthday.  What a gift.  We haven’t seen them yet, but hope to see them this week.  I will get some pictures to show you.

Now that the new year is here, I am planning.  One of the things that makes life worth living, is to have something to look forward to. I read that somewhere.  Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.  I have been blest all my life with all three.     I am always planning. I have known friends who were still making plans on their deathbed.  I think that is the human condition.  We make plans.  Of course, life almost never goes as we plan it which is what makes it so interesting.

This Christmas almost everyone got socks that I had hand knitted.  It became a running joke as each person opened a package and there were socks.  My youngest grandson looked at me with a worried look and said, “Grandma, I hope I’m not getting socks!”   He didn’t.  All the younger boys got train sets this year. And Nerf guns with plenty of Nerf bullets.

Here is a picture of those who got socks this Christmas, or at least their feet.

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From the leftover yarn I am knitting patchwork socks.  I already have a pair ready for next Christmas!

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Yes, it was a sock year.

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Once you have worn hand knitted sock, you never want to go back to store bought.  They are warm and comfy and stretchy.  One year I bought a couple of pair of socks from the Ralph Lauren store that were really cute, but when I got them home, they had absolutely no stretch in them.  I could barely get them over my heels.  Sad, too, because they were really, really cute.  I have no trouble getting hand knit socks on and off.  I hope they last longer than store bought socks also.

Not to say we have been doing nothing this week.  I made a big pot of potato soup with jalapeno and cheese sausages.

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David and I spent a quiet New Year’s Eve. We went to an Italian restaurant and ate dinner. That night while watching one of the New Year’s shows I suddenly got hungry for pancakes.  “I’ll make some, ” David said.  And he did.

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With strawberry preserves and whipped topping.  Yum.  What better way to end one year and start the next.  I just said we were having breakfast extra early.

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The project I have worked on this week were these little trees  Patchwork pines.  Tattered Trees.  They are  the creation of Ann Wood, a blogger I just discovered who makes the cutest things out of used things, paper machine and  anything she can find.  She provided the pattern for these for free.  I, of course, could not make just one and ended up with a little forest of them.

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Then I put them with little houses my daddy had made years ago and made a little village on our mantle.

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With kissing Grandpa and Grandma, of course.  Ha.

Besides all the other things going on, we had three birthdays in December and on Christmas day we celebrated our youngest grandson’s eighth birthday.  It’s hard for me to think he is already this old. Just seems he was born and he’s half grown almost.

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I made him a cake with a banner with his name on it.

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He seemed happy with it.

And just because we have nothing else to do, David and I started a puzzle this week.

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I ordered this from the Current catalog months ago and we said we’d wait until after Christmas to start it.  It is really a fun and interesting puzzle to do.  Not sure about the marijuana leaves on it, but some states have legalized it.  Even though I was a teen and a college student in the sixties, I can honestly say I have never tried marijuana  and don’t plan to start.  I have always been careful about the drugs that go into my body.  I don’t like taking aspirins too well, but will if necessary.

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This is a pretty big puzzle.  I like how the light is shining on it right now.

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Spread out on two tables. David is really the puzzle maker in our house.  I get impatient and frustrated after a while and have to leave. David will sit for hours working on it and he is not intimidated by all the white pieces in this puzzle.

Well, we don’t know what this year will bring.  Just living it one day at a time and trying to enjoy every moment.  I hope January goes really slow.  We will have a presidential inauguration and David’s birthday on the same day.  That will be fun.

This is the year I am going to start walking again  I was up to five miles a day a couple of years ago and then I hurt both my legs at different times and it was hard to walk a mile without pain, so, this is the year I am going to try to get back to walking again.   I will start slow with a mile or so and work up from there.  I will keep you posted and maybe you would like to start this journey with me.  After all, a journey begins with just one step.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spa Day and Father’s Day

I did something unusual for me.  I got up at six o’clock, something I very rarely do nowadays.  I have become a lay-a-bed in the past year or so because I have been staying up late at night.  Last night I sat outside and watched the lightening bugs flit around in my garden.  It was magical.  They would light up all at once and then there would be a short period when few were lit up and then they would light up again.

Anyway, I jumped out of bed this morning, ready to go, got dressed and out the door to do some chores before it got too hot.  David was still asleep.  He is almost always up before me.  I was thinking he was supposed to be at work at five, but his employer changes his hours often, so I just thought he was going in later.    I weeded a flower bed and spread some mulch.  I watered the flowers.  I took out an unwanted bush that had grown up on the fence. I trimmed down a small tree that had popped up in one of my flower beds.  Then I went inside and it was seven o’clock and I thought if David was going in later, he should be up by now so I went upstairs and he was still asleep.  I really hated to wake him, but I was wondering when he was suppose to go into work.

“You didn’t have to go in at five this morning?” I asked him as he opened his eyes.  “No, I go in at ten,” he replied.  “That’s your Saturday hours,” I told him.  “It’s not Saturday?!”  he asked and jumped out of bed.  He was dressed and out the door in fifteen minutes.  As soon as he left the phone rang. It was his manager wanting to know if something had happened to him.  I told her what had happened and that he was on his way.  I think this is only about the second time David has ever been late for work.  He prides himself on arriving early.  This will bother him for days.  He was also hoping they would keep him for two hours longer to make up for the two hours he missed this morning.   Yes, he has a very strong work ethic.

After he left for work, I went out and cleaned out the chicken house, spread some new bedding, raked their yard and fed and watered the chooks.

Then I decided I would do something else I have not done in years.  I took a spa day for myself. Not a go to a spa and get myself pampered.  My spa day was a long soak in the tub, washing my hair and reading all morning.  I very rarely get time to read during the day.  I do most of my reading in bed at night.  So this was a treat for me today.  I am reading a very interesting book by Vernon Coleman.  He has become one of my favorite authors. He not only writes fiction, but he writes about the medical profession, politics and the EU, which he hates.  He was a general practitioner in England until he retired to write.  I didn’t know if a doctor retires in England, he loses his license to practice medicine ever again.  Is it that way here in the United States?  Sounds like a horrible idea to me, but it’s one of the EU’s laws.  Anyway, I read one of his books all morning and enjoyed myself immensely.  Maybe I need to do this more often.  When I was a girl, I would read all day sometimes swinging on the porch swing.  Now that I’m retired(if a homemaker can ever really be retired) I should find more time to read.

I got this book and DVD in the mail today.

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At the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio, they have built an exact replica of the ark as described in the Bible.  It’s longer than a football field and four stories high.  I sent some money to help it get built and received these for donating.  Very interesting.   It opens on our wedding anniversary, but I think we will wait a while to go see it until the newness wears off it, because the crowds to see it will probably be enormous for the first few months.

This Sunday is Father’s Day. I lost my daddy decades ago, but I still think of him every day and miss him.  I know he’s in heaven, probably building something or taking care of animals.  My daddy taught me a strong work ethic.  Because of him, I am not afraid to work.   In fact, I love to work.  He was a farmer and a factory worker. He raised six children with my mother and I think all of us turned out pretty good.  He saw some tragedies in his life that would have broken weaker men.  He was a Christian.  He got saved later in life and I remember when it happened. Now my father was always a kind and good man, but he could swear with the best of them, especially if he hit his finger with a hammer or some such accident and he smoked cigarettes continually.   The day he was saved, all swearing disappeared, the cigarettes were tossed and he started going to church every week and became very active in the church. Before that, he only attended once in a while.  I kept waiting to hear him swear, but I never heard him say a swear word for the rest of his life.   He took his salvation seriously, as we all should do and lived it until the day he died.

My father showed no favoritism to any of his children.  I loved being out with him when he was working especially when he was in the milking parlor where he taught me how to milk cows by hand.  Later he got milking machines.  He showed me how to squirt milk into a barn cat’s mouth from several feet away.   We kids always loved it when he took some time out from his always busy days to play basketball with my brothers in the haymow.  Daddy didn’t have a lot of time in his days.  He was always working.  Later in his life he slowed down a little and he would come in, lay down on the floor and take a short nap.  Then it would be up and out and working again.  He was the love of my mother’s life and when he died, she lost her best friend, lover and constant companion.  She was never truly happy after that and I understand her completely.

I received some books of my mother’s a while back and in one of the books that was like a high school annual, my daddy wrote my mother a poem.  From the words, it appeared they weren’t dating yet and daddy was trying to get my mother to like him.   Later they would date and elope and were married for over fifty years.

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My daddy was a very handsome man.  He had very blue eyes.  I remember once when I was about five years old, I did something naughty and all daddy had to do was cock an eyebrow and look at me sternly and it would crush me.   I only got one spanking from my daddy in my life and it was when I was grown and old enough to know better.   I said something very disrespectful to my mother and my daddy whipped around, threw me over his lap and gave me a few whacks on the bottom.  I was more embarrassed  than hurt, but daddy was not going to stand by and hear his wife talked to in that manner.  Now that I look back, I sure deserved that spanking and I have never held it against my daddy.  In fact, I rather admire him for sticking up for his wife, which every man should do.

One of my grandsons reminds me so much of my father.  I tell him that all the time.  Daddy had delicate features, but was one of the toughest and strongest men I know.   He wasn’t a big man either, but was tall in stature in my eyes.

Happy Father’s Day, daddy.  I know  you are watching over me and I will see you again one day.  Say  hi and give my love to mother, too.  Bye.

 

 

May Days, an Author, and a Lightning Strike

We are in the merry month of May.  One of my very favorite months of the year when the flowers are in full bloom and I can plant even more.  I just went to the grocery this morning and this particular grocery has had the best perennials I have ever purchased for sell again this year.   I came home with three new lilies and some Gerbera daisies.  Now to find a place to plant them.  My garden is quite full.  I asked David the other day if he thought I would ever have enough flowers and he said, “No.”  Simple as that.  He knows me too well to think I will ever stop adding flowers to my garden.  I did take some flower starts to my oldest son this weekend who is trying to cultivate a small garden by his front door for curb appeal.  I took lilies, lambs Ear, irises and Shasta Daisies.  Now, I hope he plants them and doesn’t let them die.

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  The crabapple has bloomed and gone.  It was so beautiful and now I have to wait a whole year to see it again. 

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Begonias and some sweet flowers on the front porch.

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Look!  Aren’t these the sweetest little flowers?  I don’t know what they are called, but I love them.

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Oh, I wish you could have smelled the Mock Orange this year.  It grows right by our driveway and just walking by them one can smell their lovely fragrance.  They are thick in the Tiny Woods and since we cut the big tree down, they seem to be expanding, which is fine with me.

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David’s grandmother’s snowball bush is so lush and lovely this year.  I just want to stand and stare at it.  We have a smaller one in the back yard and one I just planted in the front yard.  It’s such a beautiful bush.  Molly tried trimming it so we had to put wire around it for a time until she got over the urge to do so.

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My little garden in a cup that I plant every year.  Just some grass and little birds and a bird house I found at a bird store.

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Don’t ask me what this plant is.  It is ferny and in the Autumn it’s branches are a bright yellow. This is the first year I have seen flowers on it which makes me very happy.  I don’t even remember planting it, but I must have as it sure doesn’t look like a weed.

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I simply love Irises because of their simplicity.  They are the easiest flower to grow.  You almost can’t kill them(as if I would try.)  They can take over my whole garden if they want to.  One day when I am too old to go out and divide and weed and plant, these Irises will grow all over my front yard and I won’t care a bit. 

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This little girl loves my garden too.

Besides gardening, I have had a seven week Bible study at my house.  It was called “What Are You Afraid Of?” By David Jeremiah.  It used Biblical references to show us why in any circumstance God is with us and will not forsake us.   It dealt with the death of loved ones, loneliness, fear of financial collapse, fear of natural disasters and other things.  We all have certain fears in life and life deals out some pretty rotten things sometimes, but God is always there in the midst of it all to help us and give us peace though the worst times.  None of us gets out of this life without something horrible happening to us or our loved ones.  I can tell you some pretty sad stories, but I don’t like to dwell on the sadness in life.   I’ve had some knocks and bings and bangs, but I have always felt like God was right there with me through them.  I know you are probably asking why God would put any of us through bad times.  He doesn’t.  we live in a sinful world and God gives us free will.  Things don’t always go as planned.  People we love die.  People we love go through tough times.  We go through tough times, but remember this, If you put your trust in God, He will see you through the worst times of your life.  I can vouch for that.

At the last Bible study, we had a British tea.  Or at least our version of a British tea.  The ladies all pitched in and we had a feast.

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Actually, the table was fuller than this and another table besides and we had so much good food to choose from.  I had made cucumber sandwiches( which I am now addicted to) and egg salad sandwiches.  I baked a sponge cake and had strawberries and real whipped cream with scones.  I am now a fan of scones also.

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These are some of the ladies.  I didn’t show their faces as we all were eating and no one wants their faces on a blog with their mouths stuffed full!  It was a wonderful study and I love all these ladies who are my sisters in Christ.

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I am still knitting socks.  I love the process.  I still have to tear out once in a while, but I don’t get all upset about it.  Just look at it as more practice.  I have taught myself a new way to pick up the stitches down the heel and around and up the heel again using one double pointed needle and my little circular needles.  It has become quite simple for me now.  The only place I really get hung up is using the DP needles to decrease the toe, but it is coming easier as I continue to knit socks.   I have several skeins of sock yarn I am looking forward to making into socks.

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I have purchased three circular needles and these cute stitch markers.  Little sheep on the end of them.  I like them better than the plain rubber circles I was using.  Makes knitting more festive somehow.

This Mother’s Day weekend, David and I went on an adventure.  We took a road trip to Cincinnati to see some special people.

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We drove along a road in southern Indiana that follows the Ohio River.

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The Ohio River is so beautiful and mysterious.  The road we were on was not heavily traveled, so we enjoyed the drive.

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Indiana roads have so much beautiful scenery.  David and I like to get off the beaten path and discover new roads.  But finally, we got into the towns near Cincinnati, Vevay, Rising Sun and Aurora.  Aren’t those pretty names for towns?  Then into the bustling traffic of the big city.  Who were we going to see?

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If you have any of her cookbooks or her first two books in this trilogy, or read her blog, you know of whom I speak.

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The Joseph Beth bookstore in Cincinnati.  I got to see Susan Branch!!!     I love her books and could not wait to see her in person.  I have seen several authors in person and it’s always been fun.

We all waited with excitement for Susan to appear.

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Suddenly, there she was right in front of us.  She told us she was uncomfortable speaking in public, but she was wonderful.  She told how her books came to life and took questions with so much patience.  You know, when you meet a well-known person, you usually have expectations of them, rightly or wrongly, that they will be as you imagined them to be.  Susan Branch did not disappoint.  She is every bit as charming, sweet, kind, nice and interesting as I thought she would be.  She is a very pretty lady with a very sweet smile and she had us all laughing and it felt like we were her girlfriends.

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I loved the outfit she had on. Very classy.  A pretty linen blouse with a scarf.  Her hair was done up in a knot on her head and she just looked darling.

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Her husband Joe, of whom she writes, was there by her side.  Her partner in crime like David is with me.

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He and David took pictures of each other.  Give a man a camera……..

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I just want all of you who read Susan Branch’s books or blog to know, she is for real and not a fake.  She is just exactly as she appears on her blog.  A beautiful person.

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And then, I got to shake her hand and she signed my book and put David’s name in it too, because I asked her to.

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I’m not at all happy to be there!

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I think I was just looking at her with adoration here.

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Look how cute she is.   I could move to Martha’s Vineyard and become her friend in a second.  I’d even make her a quilt if she wanted one.  Am I starting to sound like a stalker?  I hope not.

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I had made a new purse to take to the book signing and on a whim, I asked her to sign it and she did!  Now wasn’t that nice?  Oh, and see that top I have on?  It was new and I wore the store tag on it the whole time and didn’t know it!  David told me after it was all over.  Wonderful.  Hope Susan didn’t see it.

I had so much fun at the book signing.  Met some nice people in the audience.  People who loved Susan as much as I.  Anyway, it was a wonderful time and I am so glad I got to go.

On Mother’s day, we went with our son and his friends to King’s Island for the day.  We hadn’t been to King’s Island for probably at least twenty years.  There are a lot more scary rides there which I would not go on.  I went on one they promised me was not scary and I was crying before it was over. I am not a fan of scary rides.   There’s enough scary stuff in the world without purposely putting yourself in danger!  Security was high that day for some reason.  They were searching all purses and bags and wanding all of us as we entered.

At the restaurant in which we ate, there was a live show where they sang songs from the movies.  It was so good and had me singing right along with them.  We got some really good fudge just before we left the park.    I didn’t get any pictures of the day because I didn’t want to carry my camera around all day.  It was fun and I enjoyed watching David go on all the scary rides with our son.  He’s got a stronger stomach than I do.  It was so nice to spend time with out son also.  He makes me laugh.  A lot.

I haven’t been here for a while because our house was struck by lightning a week ago Sunday.  David and I were in bed and suddenly there was the brightest flash of light and the loudest boom I have heard that I nearly fell out of bed.  It woke David, and I said, “That hit something.”  It surely did.  We lost two televisions, our microwave, the dryer, our Direct tv, our internet, a sewing machine(I was so thankful all the rest of my machines were unplugged at the time,)  our pool pump surge control, and the circuit breaker on our hot tub.  We got everything replaced except our internet, which we just got back today.  I couldn’t wait to write my blog.

Now that all is back to normal or what I consider normal I can write more often.  Or at least I will try.

Here’s to books, wonderful authors, sons and daughters and flowers.  May they all be blessed.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

A Brand Spanking New Year

What is it about the start of a new year that makes a lot of us want to make resolutions, make plans, get nostalgic, and think of all the possibilities? I don’t know about you, but when I wake up on a new year’s first morning, I feel like anything is possible. I can finish all the projects I’ve started, clean every room in my house, learn a new skill, walk several miles, meet the newest best friend I have ever had in my life, save the world and do things I didn’t do in that old, rusty last year.

My only plan I have made thus far for this year is to knit a pair of socks. Not a big venture for most people, but I have never knitted a sock, so if I can manage to get a pair knitted, I will feel quite accomplished. I also want to learn to crochet. For all you sock knitters and those proficient in crocheting out there, you are thinking, well, that will be easy. But you have not seen me try to knit a sock to the heel and have to rip the entire thing out, or start a baby sock and find a hole in the middle of it and tear it all out or start a sock on my new sock loom I got for Christmas and find I am all thumbs. I am now starting my third sock. So far it is going well and I have high hopes I will get this one completed. You will know if I do. My first sock is now almost a completed scarf. It’s pretty, but it’s not a sock. I’ve ordered some beautiful sock yarn and should be getting it next week. I am an optimist and believe I will make socks from it.

I plan to read more this year. I read quite a lot of books last year. Ever since I got my Kindle White, I feel like I read so much faster. I am reading a book by Liane Moriarty. She is my new favorite author. She wrote The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. I just finished her book, The Last Anniversary. It was so good with a twist at the end I wasn’t prepared for. Now I am reading Big Little Lies and have The Hypnotist’s Love Story waiting in line on my Kindle. Another book I really loved was Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Now let me preface this by saying I quit reading Stephen King books years ago because they got too gruesome and scary for me. But, my son told me that it was the best book he had ever read and it wasn’t gruesome or gory. It did have its places, but this story is about a man who goes back in time to try to stop President John Kennedy’s assassination. I was fourteen years old the day President Kennedy was killed. I can remember it almost as if it were yesterday. I remember sticking by the television watching all the news and seeing the funeral and John John saluting his father’s casket. So heart wrenching. Well, this book brought back many memories. It starts when the lead character goes back into the fifties. I remember the fifties as I was growing up then. So much that Mr. King wrote was so true to what the period was like. Anyway, this is one Stephen King book I would recommend. It’s long. Almost nine hundred pages, but I read it so fast and it didn’t seem that long at all. If you were alive during that time, it will remind you of all that was going on then.

I bought tomato seeds today and two books on building tiny houses. Ever since David and I bought three acres in Brown County, I have thought about us building a tiny house in the woods where we could go and stay for a day or two. We could have a bed to sleep in and lanterns and a cooler and fluffy pillows and quilts. For cool weather we could have a small heater. If I had a book or two to read, I would be all set. Plus, our grandboys would be within feet of us and would visit and we could walk in the woods. It would be rustic, like camping out, but that is all I really want. There are so many ideas for cute tiny houses, some not much bigger than the chicken coop David built, so I know it would be possible. Who knows, maybe that will happen this year.

We want to go on a vacation this year, but haven’t decided where to go. We have been just about everywhere in the United States. I think Martha’s Vineyard would be a wonderful place to visit. We loved the Outerbanks and being on the ocean. But then, the mountains call to us and we think we would like to go out west again or Alaska and take the ferry up the coast. That was one of the most wonderful trips we have ever taken. Who knows where our wanderlust will take us? I pray we have good health this year so that we can do all these things.

What are your plans for this shiny new year? Are you going to plant a garden. sew a quilt, raise some chickens, take a wonderful vacation or just stay at home and work on the old homestead? No matter what you plan to do, I pray you do it all with gusto and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be a very interesting year, I believe. We have a big election here in the states this year. A brand spanking new president. Lots of exciting things happening.

Happy New Year to all my friends around the world. May you be blessed with health and blessings far beyond your wildest imaginations. God bless you all. Bye.

It’s All Over

  We have sucked every last second of fun and relaxation out of our recent vacation.  We knew we were going to take two full weeks because we knew we will not be taking another vacation for at least a year.  At least not an extended one.   The two weeks went by so quickly.  We are home now and I kiss the ground we live on as there is absolutely no place like home.  I was so happy to see Molly and Belle and the chickens and that they had all fared quite well during our absence thanks to some great pet sitters who have cared for our pets for years. 

We have so many happy memories of our trip to Texas.  Here are a few pictures.  Be prepared.  This is just a few of the pictures I took.

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  What can I say about a place that has my very favorite birds in it?  I love seagulls.  Some people call them flying rats, but I think they are beautiful and look so graceful soaring through the air.  These almost look like angels coming down from heaven.

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  They can stand on one leg.  Not many birds do that.  I don’t know why they do it, but I think they look cute standing that way.

  We took a round trip ferry ride from Galveston.  It was just something to do and I am so glad we did.  I have never seen so many sea birds in one place.

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  A man was feeding the seagulls in the back of the ferry.   “Mine, mine!” they seem to be saying. What movie is that from?

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  They soar up and down and can catch a piece of bread in mid air. 

   Another bird we saw on our ride was a pelican or I should say lots and lots of pelicans.

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Old gentlemen’s club talking about the fish that got away!

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I think this is a cormorant.   I could be wrong.  We also saw lots of dolphins.  They followed the ferry back and forth.

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On the ferry, Miss Garmin told us we were driving in the middle of the water.  She was having a fit.

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David and I were almost the only walk on riders on the ferry.  When we leave Galveston, we will drive our car onto the ferry and cross to the other side.

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David did some metal detecting and found one dime.  We’re rich!!

There was a statue on the walkway by the beach which I found intriguing.  Many years ago, Galveston was hit by a hurricane that just about devastated the whole area.   This statue show a mother, father and child with the father seeming to reach his hand to heaven.  Thankful that Galveston is still here.

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I don’t know what the sculptor was thinking when he made this statue, but it was a somber reminder for me of what the sea and wind and rain can do to a community.

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Alas, we land lubbers had to leave the sea and head inland again.  We loved our time in Galveston and in all Texas for that matter, but home is calling, so away we went.

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Onto the ferry.  Here is what I do the entire trip.  Look at an atlas while David makes goo-goo eyes at Miss Garmin. Ha.  I like to see where we are going.

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Past colorful beach houses.

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Away from the beach and all it’s beauty.

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Up…..

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up……

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and over the bridge that took us away from the sea.`

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  With our little scarecrow sitting on the dash, we traveled down the highway, heading north.

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Over beautiful lakes and rivers.  Too many to remember.

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Past road work.  Lots of road work going on in America.

We like to find local places to eat so we arrived in one town,( I don’t remember which one)(Marshall, Texas) and found this restaurant.  This town was already decorated for Christmas.

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Each lamp post had a lighted wreath upon it.  It was really pretty.

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The restaurant  looked so cute and we wanted something different so we went inside.

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But before we did, I had to take pictures of the colorful planters and tables outside.

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Someone likes color and so do I.  Inside there were comfy looking couches and modern pictures on the wall and shelves of books.   We sat at a table and a young woman came up and offered a free sample of homemade peach ice tea.  David liked it and ordered some with his meal.  I am not a fan of flavored teas.  The chicken salad sandwich that I got was so good.

We talked to the young woman who happened to be the owner, baker and waitress.  She told us she had just given away a thousand books from the several thousand she had found in an old building she had bought seven years ago.  So she thought she would give them away to those who wanted them.  Later, as I was looking at some of her books she told me to take one.  This is the one I picked out.

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I love history and this was a true story about how one group of people tried to restore a cemetery that had been all grown over for decades.  Slaves were buried there besides many ancestors of  the blacks in the area.  It was about racial prejudice and racial harmony which we all should strive for.

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This is the owner. She drew the sign behind her also. A very talented lady.  Her business card reads, General Manager and Baking Goddess.  I could have talked to her longer, but she was busy and we had miles to go before we slept.  But how many places do you go to eat where they give you a book?  If you want to know more about this place go to sweetsabines.com

 

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Driving into Tennessee.  I have to tell you Tennessee people, you sure do have a beautiful state.  We started seeing deciduous trees again which was nice and there was color.

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This was the very last antique mall we stopped at and it was the very best one.  We spent two hours there and didn’t see it all.

Well, I could tell you about the books, antiques, fabric and other things I bought along the way.  I made hay while the sun shone since I knew we would not be antiquing for a long time(maybe.)   And I made excuses for all the fabric I bought saying I was going to make Christmas gifts with it and I have already started, so that is true.

Vacations are nice, but truly, there’s no place like home.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Fredricksburg, Texas

I have read for years in magazines about the town of Fredricksburg, Texas and have wanted to visit it.  We finally got to make the trip to Texas.  It’s been a long car drive to get here, but it has been fun and interesting.

The town of Fredricksburg sits in the hill country of Texas.  Surrounded by hills, rocky land full of sage brush, cactus and mesquite.  A truly Texas town.  It was settled by German immigrants and they have built so many little houses called Sunday houses.  Houses where the ranchers and families from far out places came to town and stayed on Sunday to attend church and visit with other people.  Now many of these little houses are B&Bs.  Each one is different in its own way.  Pretty little houses decorated outside so creatively.

Now it is a tourist town with shops full of everything.  A general store.  A five, dime and quarter store.  An ice cream, bakery and deli store with the best sandwiches and delicious ice cream scooped in cups or different types of waffle cones.   Clothes stores where I could have dropped hundreds of dollars(if I had hundreds of dollars) clothes right up my alley.  Antique stores with western memorabilia.  I always find a book or two in most antique stores.  I have built up quite a library in this way.  I bought a Laura Hillenbrand book that looks very interesting.

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These are just a sample of the Sunday houses.

Another place I have wanted to go to was Wildseed Farms. I order all my flower seeds from them.  So off we went.

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The store was surrounded on an acre or two of beautiful flowers.  Most will not grow in Indiana.  I checked.

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David is always patiently waiting on me.

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This little bird was singing its heart our when we arrived.  I don’t know what it was, but it didn’t seem afraid of people because David had to get really close to get this picture.

Since I wrote about the worst place we have eaten, I will write about a great place we ate.  Wednesday is hamburger day for David and me.  We try not to eat hamburgers any other day.  I could eat a hamburger every single day, but that would be wrong, wouldn’t it??

Anyway we drove into this town looking for dinner. David thought the Country Kitchen looked good.  We parked, walked up to the restaurant, looked in the window and saw it was a buffet and I immediately did an about face and went to the car.  We drove around town and saw this place.

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Almost like a little shack with lots of trucks in the drive.  You know it’s a good place to eat if there are a lot of trucks parked there.  But, still, we kept driving around because we really wanted to sit down and order something.  When we could not find anything that looked good, we returned to Brad’s burgers, and we were so glad we did.  We parked in the lot and walked up to the order speaker box.  A waitress came out and explained everything to us, so we ordered two burgers and fries.  When it was brought out, it was in a greasy bag packed full.  The large fries would have fed a family of four.  David and I ordered two! Needless to say we could not eat them all.  We had a five pound bag of potatoes left over when we were finished.  We sat at a picnic table outside and enjoyed the meal tremendously.  One of the best burgers I have ever eaten.  We brought the bag of fries back to our room and they stunk up the room all night and we threw them away the next day.

We spent the morning antiquing and we found one quilt shop which was wonderful.  Did I buy fabric?  Yes, I did.  I have shot my budget clear out of sight.  I told David we cannot stop at another quilt shop.  Think we will manage it?

Here’s to greasy burgers and little western towns.  Bye.

Traveling Far Away

  David and I have traveled to almost all the states except Hawaii.  I don’t think I have been in Rhode Island either, but David thinks we passed through it some time in our travels.  I don’t remember.  Sorry, Rhode Islanders.  I really want to remember your state.

   We started out this foggy morning to travel to the state of Texas.  We have been through Texas on the way to California and stayed in Houston one time for the International Quilt Show.  We also spent a couple of days in Galveston.  We want to go back there.

Today we drove mostly back roads to Nashville Tennessee.   There is so much to see on back roads.  Small towns, country homes and farms, fields of cattle, horses or goats.  We past through one town that was so cute, I wanted to take pictures of every building in it, but the people in the cars behind us didn’t think that was such a good idea.   I have a picture I have to show you of turkey vultures that had taken over a little abandoned house.  I did a double take as we passed by it and told David to turn around because there were vultures all over the roof of this house. 

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  There were  vultures everywhere.  Many flew off when we stopped to take pictures.  A true Halloween sight if I ever saw one.   

  That was probably the weirdest sight we have seen so far. 

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With David at the wheel and me having a few books to read, we were off.

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I am going to read this while we are on vacation.

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I’m reading this right now and it’s so good.  I love Susan Branch.  This is sort of a diary of her life.  She grew up in the same time period as I did.  She loved the Beatles and even got to meet them which makes me so jealous. Ha.  She danced to the same music I danced to, sang the same songs I sang and lived a life almost parallel to mine.   She had some heartbreak in her life I haven’t had, but she still is one of the most optimistic people whose blog I love to read.  I am really enjoying this book.

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Our intention on this trip was to drive as much of the Natchez Trace trail as we could. Years ago we drove it from Natchez, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississipppi.  Yesterday and today we drove it from Nashville to Jackson,MS.  It’s a very nice drive with little traffic and lots of historic things along the way.  We saw Merriweather Lewis’ burial site.  He died mysteriously one night while taking documents back to Washington, D. C. 

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We have driven through some adorable towns.

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Towns with adorable shops and houses.  I took so many pictures. 

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Black fences like this seem to be a requirement in some parts of Tennessee.

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David let me drive some.  Whoopie!   I had him shaking in his shoes!

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We came up to the Tennessee River.   It always amazes me how big our country is where most people get along with each other.  You only hear about the ones who don’t.  Everyone we have met has been so very nice. 

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Across this amazing bridge we went.  You have to have faith that the men who built these bridges knew what they were doing and did it well.

  Speaking of bridges…

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Over this bridge was a walking path.  I have decided to resume my walking across America.  I have kind of gotten lax on that the past several months and I can feel it.  So, I walked almost two miles and it felt good.

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David doesn’t walk with me. He takes pictures. 

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We will be doing this for the next several days.  Glad they have carts to carry everything.

In closing I will show you some of the barn quilts we have seen .

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  We have seen more barn quilts this time than the time we took a trip to see barn quilts a few years ago!

Here’s to trips to fun places and  the one with whom to share the ride.  Bye.

These travel blogs are not posted on the day I wrote them.

 

Nesting

 

Nesting: to settle or place(something) in or as if in a nest. Webster’s college dictionary. 

At certain times during the year I get into a nesting attitude.  Even though our chicks have flown and it’s just David and me here in this house, I still feel the need at times to plump, poof, move, rustle, add to, remove from, clean, clear, change, or make cozy certain rooms.  It usually happens in Autumn right before the holidays begin when I have the least amount of time, but the most energy, it seems.

Nesting has begun at the Craig house.  I have been rearranging furniture, bringing out Autumnal decorations and quilts, burning new candles and just fluffing my nest in general. Let me show you.

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Change up the pillows.

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Quilts thrown on the backs of all the chairs.

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Bring out the wool blankets for the cool nights that are coming.

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Place a seasonal tablecloth on the dining room table.

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Place a bowl of Autumn color pin cushions on a table.

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Place pumpkins everywhere, even on the antique egg scales.

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Decorate the mantle with a Halloween motif.

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Old Black Witch.    I saw this same book in an antique store the other day.

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Jack Pumpkinhead. He was a character in Frank Baum’s Oz books.

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Speaking of pumpkins, I cut some of my pumpkins on a stick and brought them in and put them in a jar.  I think they are really artichokes.

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Little pumpkins in a tray with orange fairy lights.

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A big jar of candy corn which will not last long as David loves these. I think they taste like paraffin, so I don’t eat them.   I got this pumpkin jar at an antique store the other day and it was filled with little flocked pumpkins that I am using to decorate.

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See,  I am using them on the mantle in my shop with my little houses my daddy made and fairy lights.

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Autumn flowers in the old chicken feeder.

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Candles are always needed for coziness.

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I got this candle in an antique store last week.  You should smell this.  It is delicious.  The lady had one of these burning in her shop and the whole store smelled heavenly.   She told us she cannot keep these candles in stock.  Of course I had to buy one.  I am a nut for candles.

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This is not an advertisement for Yankee candles.  I just love them.  Every time I am sent one of their catalogues, it’s like a little present because they have scratch and sniff candle pictures and it is so tempting to want to buy every one of them.  That is their evil plan. Ha.  That Salted Caramel one smells so good even before you light it.  Someone was in our house the other day and asked us what was that good smell.  He was sitting right by the unlit candle!

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Even my little toad loves them.

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Soft light from a lamp I bought at the same antique store.

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The lampstand is so pretty.

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And look!  Butterflies on the shade.  How wonderful is that?????

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I am even crazy about fake candles that use batteries.

Just a couple of other things before I end this post.

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I got this wonderful book the other day.  Although it’s a children’s book, it might answer some questions adults have about heaven.  I always knew animals would be in heaven. God created them so why would he leave them out?  God has made a place for everyone in heaven if they only accept Jesus Christ as His son and your personal savior.  It’s so easy.  No work involved.

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Remember this young lady in my last post?

Her mother brought one of her diapers she wore when she was first born at two pounds.  It was so tiny.  And her mother said when she would diaper her, the diaper went clear to her chest it was so big on her.

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It is so tiny.  This picture makes it look bigger than it is.  You could hold it in the palm of your hand and it would still look tiny.  Shows  that miracles do happen and babies can survive being born way too early. I’m glad she did.

Here’s to Nesting and tiny diapers and tiny babies.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Windows, Chickens and Flowers, Oh, My

Been busy around the old house the past few days, or is it weeks?  I’m not sure, time is flying so fast.  I have to keep my shirttails tucked in to keep them from flying, time is going so fast. Did I say time is going fast?   In my Bible study this week I learned that time is not going, it’s coming.  There is something really big coming our way.  The Bible speaks of her time coming, his time coming, the time came.  I find that fascinating.   I don’t really worry about time.  We all have a certain amount of it on this earth and we should make the best of it and give God the glory and love one another.  That is really all we can do.  We cannot change the weather.  We cannot change time.  We really don’t have control of much of anything when you really think about it, but if you put it all in God’s hands, it will all work out for the good(to those who love Him.)

Whew, I didn’t mean to get all theological on you, but that’s how I am.  Things have been happening around here.  We called our ever faithful contractor to replace more windows.  This house has so many windows and they all have been in the house since about the fifties, I believe, so one by one we have been replacing them with brand new insulated, double paned windows  when we save up the money.  This time we replaced our big window in our dining room.  Our contractor said we saved the hardest window for almost last.  It had to be rebuilt, repainted and replaced.

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Here it is taken out.  Nice breeze today.

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We have a nice view.  Well, when the trucks and ladders aren’t there.

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Reframing it. These men are pros.  They have worked together for years and work like a well oiled machine.  They almost know what the other one is going to say before he says it.

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New windows at last!  I was a little afraid that by replacing these windows we would lose some of the old woodwork around it and change the look, but now that they are in, it looks just the same, except we don’t have those awful, old, ugly storm windows on them any longer.  They will be so much easier to clean.

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I couldn’t wait to get some curtains hung.  See my new ladder.  It’s mine.  I picked it out and I will be the one using it for painting walls.  It’s sturdy, not like our old wooden one that rocked when I climbed on it and swayed with each movement.   This one stands strong and firm and I love it.  Really.

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I am using lace curtains this Summer, but I have bought new insulated checked curtains for this Autumn and Winter.

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After the windows were in, I painted our dining room.  A soft grey.  Sometimes it looks cream colored and other times really grey depending on the light.  I like it.  I was getting tired of the yellow walls that I really loved when I painted them a few years ago.  I’m fickle like that.  David and I went to Hobby Lobby this morning because we(I) wanted to get some flowers to put in my chicken feeder that I received as a Christmas gift last year.

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Remember when I wrote about this surprise gift that appeared on our front porch?  I didn’t know what it was or who it was from.

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It was this really nice, antique chicken feeder.  I told my friend who gave it to me that I was going to design a room around it, and I have.  Here it is, Shannon.  Look what you made me do.

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I sent away for these chicken posters.  The flowers I found at Hobby Lobby had feathers in them!  How appropriate.  Now the feeder sits in all its glory.  I love how this turned out.  Hanging the pictures was fun(not.)  David measured and measured and measured again and one of the pictures kept looking lower than the other.  I measure things with my eye and kept telling him they were not level with each other.  He measured and measured and measured again and finally decided our lopsided old house was the problem so he let?! me eyeball the pictures and we finally got them almost level.  As a friend use to tell me, “You will never notice it on a galloping horse.”

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I love these pictures.

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He could be the husband of one of my barred rock hens.  Wish I could have a rooster.

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We rehung this picture our daughter gave us last Christmas.  Kind of goes with the theme of farm and chickens.

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I have been picking these the last couple of weeks.  My favorite flower.  The peony.

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I have tried to get a little of this in, but haven’t got much done on the doll quilts lately.  I am hand quilting them as I get them pieced.

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I saw this purse on a blog, I wish I could remember which one and got on Fat Quarter Shop and ordered the pattern.  The Abby Bag.  I hope I can find time to make it.  Of course, I will have to make my granddaughter, Abby, one some time.

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Just finished reading this for the second time.  I got this book either at an auction or an antique store.  It’s about a woman who was left behind at her family’s cabin in Alaska one winter when her husband couldn’t get back to get her.  She went through many trials and tribulations like being in a landslide and breaking her arm and hurting her leg right off the bat.  Besides that, she was expecting a baby and had to deal with that and give birth all by herself.  It is a true story and when I read it, I realized I don’t have it hard at all, although I would really love to live in Alaska.

Maybe hard times is what hones us and makes us stronger.  To live a life of ease and relaxation all the time would be a complete bore to me.  I like action and hard work and doing things myself even if they don’t always turn out so well.   Anyway, if you ever get to read this book, I think you would enjoy it.  It was also made into a movie.  I’d like to find it.  I saw it a long time ago.

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Just wanted to show you something my Sunday school children made last Sunday.  They did all the cutting out and gluing and putting on stickers and I brought home the squares and tied them all together and will take it back to show them next Sunday.  We should do as the words say, “Love one another.”  Bye.