Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Riddance 2009!

2009 can't end fast enough for me.

All I can say at the moment is that I hope 2010 is a better year for me and all of you who have struggled this year. Things have GOT to get better.

To all of you lurkers and posters, Happy New Year; it's been a long one and I'm glad to see 2009 end!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Carpenter I Am Not

but I did finally make the cabinet for Gail that we saw at the Atlanta Market back in January. I don't measure well and tend to eyeball a lot of things. Wood isn't forgiving like fabric and once you cut it, you have to work with it. I don't plan things well when working with wood either, as is evident by the placement of the hole (see close up) I drilled right where the shelf sits inside for one of the holes.

Gail has helped me a lot this year and she had asked in January if I would build this for her. I want one for myself too but it will be a while. The one I made out of thin plywood months ago holds some sewing notions but isn't sturdy and can't really be used like this one. Here is my friend with her gift; she liked it.

Now that Christmas is past, I want to start on non-Christmas projects of all sorts. I did a little work outside today in 20+ degree weather. I only got one forsythia bush cleaned of honeysuckle. The rest of the day was spent teaching Alissa to sew. She designed and stitched (with a little help from Nana) a pillow for her new little cousin. I can't post a picture of it though till after the gift is given this weekend. She did a good job and stuck with it the entire project and only got bored stuffing the finished case.

I started a little wall hanging that I saw somewhere on the web...just a little quickie for Alissa's bedroom. We'll be painting it soon (been talking about it for two years now) and I wanted this little piece to put in her "new" room.

Back to stitching....hope you're having a nice day. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Catching Up, News! and a Request

Hi everybody,

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with your family and friends. I've actually been enjoying being able to stay home during this time. Would you believe I'm STILL making my gifts??? I just got my sister's gift mailed yesterday and still working on Gail's and something for my wonderful neighbors. Ugh.

First I want to show you what I made for my oldest daughter and her husband in Virginia. I got the idea out of a new book, Nature Inspired by Tracie Lyn Huskamp. I was very happy with the way it turned out and will be making more of this type of artwork.
Now for my big news! Remember I said I was ready to start fostering again? Well, I took Princess to meet a sweet dog a few days ago from my local rescue shelter. Her name is Blair, was an owner surrender and is 11 years old. What a sweet dog! I swear she is my Harley reincarnated except for her markings!! I brought her home and it's like she's lived here all of her life. Nobody has gotten upset with each other, no hackles raised, not even a growl from anybody.

Blair and Zoe meeting; Blair and Princess had already met.

This angelic dog is wonderful and I've already decided that I am going to adopt her once she is through her heartworm treatment (no, I know I shouldn't at this time but oh well...). Yes, she is heartworm positive and coughs a lot. Heartworms are completely preventable and the treatment is so expensive and makes the dog feel sick during it. Poor Blair has not only lost her only home at the ripe old age of 11 years, but now has to undergo the treatment.

The little shelter, CARA, that I'm fostering her for has already treated 20 dogs this year, to the tune of $500 each. The area where I live isn't a wealthy one and animals aren't respected much by the general population, so that she was taken in by the crowded shelter to be given a chance for a new home is really wonderful. I have donated $25 toward her expensive treatment and am going to be very bold and ask if you can donate a few dollars toward Blair's treatment. CARA accepts checks or donations through PayPal. If we all give just a few dollars, it would help this shelter tremendously. There are so many organizations that help people, but the animals need help too and just like other charities, your donation is tax deductable! Thank you so much whether you can help or not.

Well friends, it's well into the morning and I'm still in my pj's drinking my morning coffee. I've got to get going and finish making my gifts!! Have a great day and I will catch up visiting you within the next day or so :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and that 2010 is a better year for all of us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Special Christmas Stocking

Well, it's almost here and I am still making my gifts! It happens every year. Somehow once Thanksgiving is over, it seems like 24 hours later it's Christmas.

I was able to get a very special stocking made for my newest little granddaughter, Ginny, and take it to Maryland with me at Thanksgiving. I forgot to take pictures of it, but her mommy did and I wanted to show them to you.

I wanted to make her something special for her first Christmas that would be a keepsake but that could also be used. It isn't perfect, but it was made with lots of love.

And here she is...just learned to sit up by herself and wondering what all these bright and sparkly decorations are all about!

Hey baby Ginny, ask mommy to take a picture of you holding your stocking :)

I hope you all have a good day today!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Blizzard of '09

Well, I'm not getting any of it, unfortunately, but a few hours to the north of me in VA and MD they sure are!

Here are some pictures from my oldest daughter and sister - both near the D.C. area.

My son-in-law trying to get the car out to go to work a little while ago. He barely made it and will have to have somebody with a 4 wheeler drive him home at midnight tonight! He works outside guarding the Senate (or House). Daisy, their beautiful dog, is "helping".

A shot of Daisy laying in the snow completely unphased by it:
A picture from my sister's place about an hour north of D.C.
How pretty her house looks:
I sure wish I was up there with them all snuggled inside their beautiful, cozy homes!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Little Christmas Painting

I've been itching to paint again. I've spent so much time on my sewing machine that I just haven't been able to pick up my paint brushes, and I've really missed them. I did do a couple of cute Halloween paintings, which were fun to do.

I painted a winter scene inspired by this pretty (and very expensive) pillow from Crate and Barrel. I think it turned out really cute and it was simple to paint since there weren't any details.

I wasn't sure where to put it once it was finished, so stuck him with my snowmen.

Here is a picture of my snowmen and Santa collection in my living room hutch.
The primitive Santa on the left of the shelf is one I drew, cut out with a band saw and painted myself many years ago. It is probably my favorite one.

On another note - I received some very disappointing news yesterday. My temporary assignment ended. It was supposed to run through the end of this month, but the gal who had surgery came back this Monday and they just didn't need me. I was bored to death answering the phones and opening mail but the money has helped extend my unemployment benefits by about a month and was a huge help.

While I hate losing the money, the timing is good because now I can actually finish making my Christmas gifts (only made and mailed three!). I love being home and wish I could retire, but that is only a dream.

I hope you are having a good week preparing for Christmas.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Decorating

My blog friend, Marlene, was in a cleaning mood recently and posted an offer for some fabric panels she wasn't going to use. I told her which ones I liked and she sent them to me! I immediately..... well, almost.....sewed these two pretty panels into pillows for my sofa. I just love them.

She sent me a few more panels, but I haven't worked with them yet. One in particular is high on my priority list, though. Thanks so much, Marlene!

One evening last week, I was searching for a Christmas centerpiece idea for my kitchen table. I remembered a site called The Inspired Room, so I popped over there and found a great idea submitted by Pearls and Handcuffs . If you scroll down, you'll see she dressed up her chandelier.
Now I'm not usually one for the "dressy" look, but this just struck me as beautiful. Of course, her dining room looks a little formal and I wanted to do this in my big, eat-in kitchen...since I don't have a dining room. My version is a little scaled down from hers, but the idea is the same.

I spent $3 for the garland and about the same for the little wreath at Michaels, plus $6 for a big spool of ribbon. I think it turned out great and will definitely be doing this again next year! It was soooo easy and makes such a statement as soon as you walk in my front door.

Ummm... I won't even bother to show you what my front porch looks like before you get into the house though.......

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Journal Cover for My Sister

Hi everybody,

I've missed posting but wanted to leave the important post about dogs up for a while. I certainly hope there are a lot of visitors that don't leave comments on my blog so that this information was shared by many.

While I was in Maryland for Thanksgiving, I started a small project to give to my DS for her birthday, which is tomorrow. I was working on it right beside her in the same room but she didn't know what it was or who it was for (he-he).

There are several methods for making a journal cover and I chose the simplest one I could find. My sister and I both love batik fabrics and I have a small collection, so it was easy to select just the right one that I knew she would love. I've never made a journal cover before and I'll sure be making more of them. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out and couldn't wait for her to get it. I took it to the post office last Sunday and it was finally delivered to her this afternoon. The Christmas mailing rush is certainly on!

I wasn't really sure what I was going to do as far as design, so I just started stitching around some of the patterns in the batik. I knew I had to add a few beads here and there but didn't want it too busy.

She called me on my cell phone while I was driving home from work and she just loved it - I knew she would!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Plea for Dogs and Puppies

I know a lot of you out there have rescued pets and help animals in some way or another. I have fostered dogs and a few cats for eight years and been involved in rescue and animal rights issues for a long time. Since losing my job in January of this year, I needed to focus on simplifying my life as much as I could so stopped fostering in February or so. Recently, I have felt the sense of urgency bubbling back up in me to start helping again. Maybe it's becuase I have this temporary assignment and things are ok for me till January, I don't know. Just now I opened an email from somebody I know who is also involved with dog rescue. In the email was this video that I watched. There is nothing gross to view except the sheer number of dogs that are in each kennel. These dogs look like pets to me that have been surrendered. Who knows why. I know the economy has made it very difficult for people to hold onto things they love...there just aren't enough homes in good times, let alone these days. The video makes a superb point about buying puppies and dogs from backyard breeders and stores. So many people don't realize where the animals sold in stores come from. They come from puppy mills. Do a search and see what a puppy mill is.

There is barely a Saturday that I can't see somebody selling or giving away puppies in the Walmart shopping center where I live. A lot are purebreds, a lot are pit bulls; a lot are mixed breeds. There is also a big store that sells all kinds of animals, including some exotics. Their puppy and kitten suppliers are back yard breeders (I know for a fact b/c they were involved in a huge puppy mill bust here a few years ago.) It doesn't matter what breed or mix they are - there are too many. These innocent animals get sold or given away many times to end up in a shelter or far worse. If you or somebody you know is interested in getting a puppy or a dog for Christmas...or any time....please get one from a shelter or a rescue group. Also, every breed of animal has it's own rescue, so if you prefer a pure bred, start with a web search on "lab rescue" or whatever it is you're looking for. I apologize for such a long and serious post, but this is one of my most passionate soapboxes and I haven't said much about it here. But with blogs being able to reach out to so many, it's a great opportunity to try to help educate folks about the pet overpopulation more than ever!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Couple of Christmas Projects Complete

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I had the nicest one I've had in years. Now it's time to start panicking.

I do this every year. December gets here so quickly (I know - it really takes 11 months). I've been working on projects for a while now but only have a couple completed. I'm really excited about one new thing I'm going to try but won't be able to post pics about it for a while.

I rushed home from my temp assignment and took care of all the critters. Then went outside to spread some pine straw (pine needles for you northeners) in one area by the light of my car headlights. I can't really tell what it looks like but will tomorrow. I just needed to get them out before the rain starts later tonight. Then I ran the vacuum cleaner while dinner was cooking and now it's time to get to work on another project.

Here are my two completed projects...I'm pretty happy with them.

This isn't the permanent place for the wall hanging; I just stuck it there to take the picture.

I hope you all had a nice day today!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Embroidery Pattern From A Blog Friend

I just love being part of this friendly blog community of talented ladies; it's just so much fun!

Thanks tons, Marlene. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. :)
Look what Marlene of Stitchin' By The Lake sent to me. I had admired the adorable embroidery she did and asked where she got the pattern. Low and behold, she sent it to me. How sweet is that?

My Christmas Swap Arrived!

There was a package on my front porch when I got home from work yesterday! It was from my Christmas swap partner, Laura in Arizona. I don't think Laura has a blog but wish she did so I could see more of her beautiful work.

Look at what she sent me......everything is so perfect for me. First the beautiful quilt she made. I love the colors and the sweet angel in the center. The fabrics she used are all so pretty. One of them looks similar to one that I have, but I haven't seen the others. Her points on the star are absolutely perfect and I love how she made the inner border. (What a great idea; I'm going to have to use that in something I make soon!) And Laura even sewed on sweet little star buttons, which I just love.

If this sweet quilt wasn't enough, she also sent me a wonderful book, just in time for me to take to Maryland for Thanksgiving. You know I won't be doing much after stuffing myself with all that yummy food, so I'll have a good book to read while curled up in my sister's huge and comfy chair.

And look at the bundle of eight (yes 8!)Christmas fabrics she included in my package. I was just telling my sister the other day that I love elegant Christmas fabrics and it's hard for me to pick out the cutesy prints, even though I needed some for a current project I'm working on. It's like Laura read my mind. Hmmm - maybe she's telepathic?
And maybe it's not just a thought because she topped off the entire package with a sweet card and these yummy treats that I can't wait to get into - chocolate covered hazelnuts. I love hazelnuts and who doesn't love chocolate?

Laura, thank you so much for my beautiful quilt and other gifts you included. You really went overboard and to say that I appreciate it is an understatement! Thank you again for the beautiful quilt and gifts!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Couldn't Wait Any Longer!

I've been craving pumpkin pie for two weeks. I've even had a can of pumpkin setting on the counter just waiting to be turned into a yummy pie. Well today, in between cleaning and cooking a thank you dinner for my neighbors, I made myself one. It isn't even completely cooled yet and look!

I'll share some with Laura and Alissa this evening and the rest is mine. It won't last through tomorrow...I'm a major pig when it comes to my home made pies!! :)

I hope you had a nice weekend. We're in the countdown for Thanksgiving now!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Car and Another Bird Encounter!

I have my little car back - yay! Thanks for all your support :)

My car had to spend the night at the Honda place, so my great neighbors drove me to work yesterday (35 miles away). My car was repaird and a nice guy where I'm working drove me all the way to the dealership so I could pick it up. The bill for this, including the towing, was $460. Not bad in itself but added to all the others in the last couple of weeks I'm in for just under $2,000. It hurts but it was all necessary. With the exception of this latest thing, it all falls under maintenance. My little car has over 231,000 miles on it and serves me well, so I'll continue to take good care of it till the time comes to get another one.

Now - I've had another strange and exciting bird encounter! While I was home Thursday and sitting here at the computer, I was watching all the birds fluttering around at one of my bird feeders when something caught my eye. There was a bird with a white head! What in the world?? I've never seen a bird with those markings so carefully went to the window to get a better look.

When trying to identify a bird, you should make note of the shape and size of their beak, notice about the size they are, and look for distinguishing markings like streaks on their breast or wing bands. Well, I'm almost certain this little guy is a partially albino Junco! The picture is very poor and I apologize for that, but he's the white spot in the center of the picture. For my own records, I wish I had a better one; maybe I'll get another chance. More and more I'm regretting selling my Nikon camera years ago.

It always makes me so happy to know that I am observant enough to have these neat experiences with nature.

And while I'm on the subject of birds, the pair of pigeons that was hanging around at Gail's shop for so long are gone. The one I had caught and released must have rested up and went back on his journey of finding his way home. The solid white one was still there every day till last week when we had those hard rains. I suspect she fell prey to something. If she was on the same journey as the spotted one, I think she would have left with him. This is all conjecture on my part though; who knows what really happened to them.

It's late; I've got to get to Gail's so I can clean her house. I hope you have a good day and are doing something fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Car Repairs

We all hate them. They're usually so expensive and even if they aren't, there are so many other things the money could be used for.

Last Friday I had a flat tire (third plug in this particular tire). Not that big a deal, but my spare is very old, so...took it to my local Honda dealer (their service department is great) to get it replaced. Of course, you can't buy one tire - you must buy them in pairs - so I had to buy four new tires. OK - winter is coming and I'm completely dependent on this vehicle, so a necessity that I can live with.

Two weeks prior to that, I needed new struts put on the car. While there, I had the timing belt replaced (overdue and very expensive maintenance) as well as the differential fluid replaced, also not that cheap but necessary. So my Honda place was kind enough to let me make payments. OK, I can deal with it.

Last night after work, I went to my trusty little CRV to start it up and nothing. A guy in the office kindly tried to jump start it - nothing. The lights work, so I know the battery isn't dead; it's probably the starter. I think I had to replace one in another car and believe it's a ~250+ repair.

So, I was stranded 35 miles from home and animals waiting to be let out and fed. Fortunately, my daughter wasn't working late and could come and pick me up. She didn't really know where I was working so had to drive about 35 miles in the dark and rain to find my temp work place. My car was left in the parking lot and is probably being towed at this moment to another Honda dealer for repair today. Good thing I've been fiscally responsible most of my life and have an available credit card! I have a great neighbor who will drive me the 25 miles to pick up my car when it's ready later today. I'll have to bake something for them as a thank you.

The good news - it's a gray and drizzly day - perfect for staying home and working on my projects, so I'm not too upset.

On a completely different note, my swap partner, Kathy Link, received her package from me Tuesday and has posted about it on her blog. I'm so happy that she likes it! Thanks for making me a movie star, Kathy!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Out Of Control!

If I'd thought of it, I could have used this for a "silent Sunday" post...but I didn't think of it.

I've got projects going everywhere! The pics speak for themselves :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Starting Some Christmas Sewing

Now that my Christmas swap is completed, I can move on to some other projects. This evening, while watching the wonderful CMA Awards show (I LOVE country music!!), I started working on a little Christmas project. So far, I'm really liking the way it's shaping up.

And YAY Taylor Swift - she just won album of the year! The girl is 19 years old!!!!

I hope you all are warm and cozy; it's cold, windy and rainy here tonight thanks to Ida. Now, back to the show!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

She Did It Again!

Look what my sister made me! While visiting last week, I told her I was currently obsessing about crows and black birds. I had made her a little orange pincushion and black bird similar to the one I posted about earlier and this is what she made to thank me for it.

Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?!?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Pic of My Christmas Swap

So what do you think...will she like it?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas Swap Update

Yay! I've completed my Christmas Swap quilt and will mail it Saturday! It's been fun to make but I'm ready to move on to other projects. If I was keeping this, I'd have beads all over it, but I thought I'd be a little conservative since it's for somebody else.

Back to the sewing machine to stitch a little something extra for her.

BTW - my new temp assignment is great...nice people, good environment, lots to do, and not a bad commute. I'm happy :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Quick Trip

I did something that I don't do very often - take a trip without planning it.

I've been missing some of my family members who live about 6 hours away; I haven't seen them since spring. Last Friday morning, after an interview, I headed up the highway to visit with them. My newest little granddaughter is 8 months old now and we don't know each other at all, so I had to work on that.

Since this trip wasn't planned, I had to take Princess and Zoe with me. Princess doesn't travel well; the stress induces seizures. My wonderful vet prescribed Valium for both of them to hopefully knock them out. Well, Princess didn't have a seizure but the drug barely did anything for either of them. My vet warned me that dogs can take this stuff like candy and to experiment with it on her. I ended up giving her six pills (we would have been in a coma) and all it did was make her unsteady. The whining and panting were horrible and non-stop. Before I even got to D.C. I called my vet and made reservations for Thanksgiving for them. No way am I going to put her through that again.

My sister and mom came to my daughter's home and we visited for a while. Then my DS and I went to Jinny Beyer's quilt shop. She didn't have a lot of displays or patterns and such, but oh my gosh, what gorgeous fabrics! I don't make her style of quilts - a very good thing I guess - but couldn't leave w/o buying a few 1/2 yard pieces of pretty stuff. I can't wait to get sewing on it. I tried taking pictures of them tonight but it's too dark and they don't show up. I wanted something to reflect the autumn colors so I got a cranberry print, a dark gold, a dark green and a dark brownish fabric. One of the ladies in the shop picked out a couple of the pieces; I would never have picked the dark brown one. We built on the beautiful cranberry print that I fell in love with. I'll post a picture of them next time.

So the interview went great and I started a new temp assignment that will run through December. I have a good feeling about this company and hope that maybe something will open up for me, so keep your fingers crossed. I'm going to bed; I'm still wiped out from all the running.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Found It!!

The little black bird on pumpkins is on Cherry's Jubiliee blog. I was trying once more to locate where I had seen this adorable little pretty!

Ahh - now I can concentrate on other things :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Does Anybody Know Which Blog?

I'm hoping somebody can tell me where I found this cute little bird on pumpkins. I saved the picture but don't remember which lovely blog I found it on and I want to go back for a visit.

I'm sure one of you knows, because that's probably how I stumbled upon it. :)

I have searched and searched to the point of being obsessive. Thanks so much for helping me keep what sanity I have left!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Angels and Friends

I met my friend, Alyce, last Friday for lunch. We hadn't seen each other for a couple of months and our schedules finally allowed us a quick visit with each other. I was feeling discouraged again, so it was the perfect thing to lift my spirits. We met at the Cheescake Factory where she treated me to a yummy lunch, and we had a nice visit with each other.

Alyce surprised me with a little gift. She isn't one to go shopping or make frivolous purchases - she's a New Englander through and through! She said she went to HomeGoods and when she spotted this little treasure, she thought of me. How sweet is that? She knows how much I love birds and nests. She said she bought one for herself as well, and another one that is holding a heart (I think). I just love everything about this beautiful angel!

Isn't she beautiful!? I will think of Alyce every time I look at her, and remember how fortunate I am to have her as a friend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gray and White

If there is something open, Smudge will jump into it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Black and White

Princess, Zoe and Topaz always near...