Sunday, April 30, 2017

Why Hello There, Long Time No Write

Hey there!

How is life? It's only been what, three years since I took the time to write in this space. Let's hope I do it right!

I changed the title from Musings From a Three Bedroom Ranch because we no longer live in a three bedroom ranch and it was connected to another life. I don't mean to be dramatic but we rented for thirty years and finally took the very adult step and bought a house. It was kind of forced on us but honestly the best decision we ever made with the exception that we are smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood and I dreamed of being right in the middle of a few acres of land, but it's all good. We are easing into our third year as home owners and we have plans on a few upgrades this summer. For instance, a new A/C unit and tile in at least the living room and hallway and few minor changes like a new kitchen sink and faucet.

Anyway, I'm trying to familiarize myself with the new Blogger and hope I can post pictures while writing but who the heck knows so please stick with me as I work out all the kinks and relearn how to blog.

This is my Zane and my Zelda in our very sandy, weedy backyard but we are working on that! Zelda joined our family last February and we love her dearly. She's a bit of a loose cannon and has turned Zane, a perfectly well trained German Shepherd into a naughty boy(not really, he's still the greatest furbaby a girl could wish for) but we love her crazy and are trying to be good parents and train her a wee little bit.

Last Saturday we went to New Orleans for the day, dropping our niece at the Amtrak station and we got robbed. Yeah we never leave the house and then we leave, plan to have a little bit of fun and  some lowlife busts out the car window and steals my iPad mini and my Kindle Paperwhite. But the day was still a lot of fun. I had planned to do a quick Anne Rice tour, a bit of a Dark Hunter tour and to see Marie LaVeau's grave but, all those plans got put on the backburner after a call from NOLA PD about our car. But below are a few sights from the day and the best part is the very first pic, beignets from Café du Monde. Best café au lait in the world. I want to go back every weekend. Husband says we are cursed and no more adventures for a while. Of course he had just paid $300 to replace our rear passenger side window. He'll decide to adventure again one day. It will probably be centered around the Oakland Raiders playing somewhere nearby but there will be more adventures.

                                           Best part of NOLA!
                                                        Menu at Café du Monde
                                                        St. Louis Cathedral, picture taken from Jackson Square


                                          In Panama City there is a repeating section of tattoo parlors, liquor stores
                                          and Christian Retreats. In NOLA there's a Willie's Chicken Shack on every
                                          street.
                                          Saw this and thought of Amanda, soulemama.com

                                             This was the line we stood in waiting to get a table in Café du Monde.

So this is life at the moment. Next time, some stitching and crocheting and attempts at quilting. And hopefully more techie skilz!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Getting Into the Crafty Groove

Over the last few months I've struggled to find my previous crafty self, that self that found peace and comfort and joy as long as I had a needle in my hand. That self has been decidedly missing and it was only after discovering an infinity scarf pattern on Instagram. Priscilla of www.priscillas2000.blogspot.com

(blogging from the iPad as I've lost all positive control of my computer so please bear with my archaic attempts at including links, I'll get this figured out eventually but I refuse to let it keep me from writing one more day. This may not be the prettiest blog or the fanciest and done all wrong, but hey what's new!)

Priscilla found the pattern on YouTube, do a search for Love4Nails, it's her circle scarf(think that's what she calls it).

After making one of these scarves I decided sometime around December 19th that I should make these for my SILS. I have five SILS(6 if i count my brother's fiance). Then I decided to make them for nieces. Then I decided hey, I bet a few friend's would like these too. Believe it or not all five SILS received their scarves by Christmas Eve. I mailed regular old first class mail via the USPS. The rest are late but I'm not beating myself up over it. The black and white scarves in the picture below is Love4Nails 10 row scarf. I cannot tell you what a gift this pattern has been for me. The crocheting is deliciously mindless once the first round is completed. It works up soft and scrunchy and it's just an overall satisfying project. Add to that the fact I'm making them for gifts, it's a double blessing. I think this stupid scarf kind of saved me. It gave me back my needlework. It made me think about other needlework. It woke me up, pulled me out of the shadows and I think it even made me want to write again. I'm giving this scarf a lot of credit and it's probably a silly thing, but I swear I feel more emotionally balanced than I have in ten months, heck in a year and a half. It has been like a super dose of Prozac for me. I keep wondering when I'll come down off this manic high, but I think I won't. The blogging may not continue to be every day, the needlework may not happen every day, and good Lord I know this is a First World problem but a happy life is finding joy in the little things. This is a very little thing but it's been huge for me.

The red and pink ruffle scarves shown at the bottom of this post are Potato Chip scarves and the pattern can be found at www.lionbrand.com

My theme for the year is Each Day a New Beginning. Imagine my surprise when I opened the inexpensive planner I purchased to break down and use for parts in my craft journal (it's cheaper than printing out calendar pages and buying dividers, really. Kind of a poor girl's Smash booking) the January divider is all about every year, day, hour, minute being a chance to start over! I take that as a sign that I'm on the right path, keeping every day fresh and new. Even if the problems from the day before get carried over into the new day, the way I choose to deal with them is what matters. New day, new perspective. There have been moments already in this brand spanking new year where I have been tested and so far I've been able to take a deep breath and move on. If it's something I can fix, I do, if it's something beyond my control, I accept that and let it go, or at the very least try not to fret over it or let it eat at me. It's not easy but strangely, it's not as difficult as I thought it would be.

I've joined in the #crochetmoodblanket2014 on Instagram and Facebook. The two squares in the picture below are my first two. I'm using a mood ring chart I found online as a guide and crocheting my square early in the day before my mood can turn 100% black which would not give a lot of variety in my blocks! I'm not thinking beyond the way I feel and the mood chart. This afghan will be completely based on my moods, no trying to choose a better color. I figure a good border will pull together all the chaos. I'm using a basic three round granny square and joining as I go as explained by Lucy at www.attic24.typepad.com

My creative juices are overflowing and I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can.

In other news, I'm listening to The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling.








Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Hello There 2014!

Happy New Year y'all! Have you had your turnip greens and black eyed peas? We have. After the previous year I am taking no chances, I am not taunting the God of Southern Superstition by not choking down some greens and black eyed peas, not this year.

My focus project for January is PS February, book #160. I started this in January 2012 so it's time to get this done. My goal is have it stitched and framed by February 1st.

I'm taking my crafty goals one at a time this year. Some times our dreams and goals can be overwhelming and usually as soon as I set a goal, make a public statement of my intentions, it's the last thing I want to work on so the plan this year is month by month, not more than one project and just keep things loose and easy.

I'm posting from my blogger app and have no clue how these pictures will show up or how to tweak them. I'm going to hit publish and we'll see what happens.

Go get ya some greens and black eyed peas cause can one really afford to turn down the opportunity for some good luck and good fortune?



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

It's been so long since I've written in this space that it feels a bit awkward to be here. In February this space will be ten years old. Ten years of blogging! It seems that I have taken an unexpected hiatus from blogging as my last post was December 21, 2012 but I hope to start writing more often in 2014.

To catch you up, from June 2012-April 2013, I was in Tennessee taking care of my mother. This time was the hardest of my life. I regret not blogging during that time but my wi-fi was iffy and finding time to sit and write at the Savannah, TN McD's was just impossible.

After spending ten months away from my husband and sons I came home in June and life was just unsettled. I was a stranger in my own home and life had moved on for my family while I felt as though I were frozen. My mother passed away July 30 and with that came a lot of guilt. She was in a nursing home, alone, and for a while I struggled with a lot of guilt as my last real life vision of her was her begging me not to leave her there. It hurts to write that but at this point I had taken care of her as long as I could by myself. I had no help and she made just enough money to not qualify for any kind of assistance and out of pocket home health care is ridiculously expensive. Here's a wake up call for you all, someone that retires at $20,000 a year pays the same Medicare premium as someone that retires at $80,000. Two vastly different incomes but $20,000 is viewed as equal to $80,000. Insanity!

Much of August, September and October were a fog for me. I struggled to fit in here at home, to find a bit of my life before Tennessee and finally after turning 50 in October I realized that it's time to build a new reality. To take the wisdom of my 50 years, successes and failures, and move on.

I'm happy to tell 2013 goodbye and to not let the door hit it on the way out. I'm excited to welcome 2014 and it's 365 clean slates. My new life motto is "Every day a new beginning". I want each day to be fresh and positive. The failures and struggles of the previous day, while not forgotten, I will refuse to dwell on them. Every day is a new chance. An opportunity to learn, to be better, to take what was learned the day before either by success or failure and be better.

One of my guidelines for 2014 is to always try to be the better person. To always be kind and generous and to not hold bitterness in my heart.

Another goal is to work my way through my WIP pile. It's a bit out of control. I say this every year but this year I really mean it!

I also want to improve my sewing skills and my crochet skills. I want to learn to knit socks(I say that every year too!), and work on my picture taking skills. I want to get back to blogging. I started writing in this space ten years ago just to have a place to write every day, time to bring this full circle and start writing again. I didn't know how much I had missed it or what writing here meant to me, until I started writing this post, ok, the one before it that blogger ate! Yes, these words are a do over but that's ok, keepin' it real!

And finally, I hope to make it to Paris, the one in France, not Texas or Tennessee, before December 31, 2014.

So goodbye 2013. 2014, bring it! I've got this!

Happy New Year to you all!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Is it December 21st Already?


And we're all still here? Those wacky Mayans and their unfinished calendar. Guess I can start thinking about 2013.
 
My theme for 2013 is JOY. That's all. Joy in absolutely everything that has to do with life, living and existing on this here Planet Earth.
 
The last six months of my life have been anything but joyful. They have been full of homesickness, missing my husband and sons, and the loss of my sweet lab Heidi. I wasn't there for her and  it devastated me at the time.
 
I've been in Tennessee taking care of my mother since June 7th of this year. When I came I didn't have a clue that I would be here this long. It was just supposed to be for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. But now the time has come to make long term care decisions for momma because I have a family at home in Florida and Tennessee is no longer home.
 
I have to admit that the first few months were kind of sweet. I mean people here talk like me! It's been so long since I've heard "home" in people's voices. Then another shock was seeing all the UT t-shirts. Been a very long time since I was in Big Orange country.
 
Here are a few things in my WIP pile:
 
 A friend of my mom's gave me her mother's last quilt squares to finish. Her momma would piece with whatever fabric was around and a few of the blocks had this creepy clown fabric in them. They don't really go with the other rail fence blocks so I have pulled them out and will make them into a true lap quilt. Something to keep in the car when you have a few things in your lap and don't want them tumbling into the floor board. There are a few blocks that haven't been turned into bigger blocks so I think I will make those into a mug rug because what goes better with coffee than a creepy clown?

 Here are the four completed clown sections. I think I'm going to back them in a yellow gingham but I'm not sure. It'll be a nice car quilt, especially as a lap quilt or even as an impromptu beach picnic quilt. Just the right size. If I make it to the big city this weekend I'll see what I can find for backing at JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby. I do love getting to make a quick road trip to Jackson, TN.
 I managed to complete this very long term WIP. Hester's Needle's Liberty Sampler. I started this back in 2001 I think. I can't remember exactly. It's been quite the traveled piece of needlework. I've worked on it in Rochester, NY, quite a few airports, especially when I spent the night in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport when I was flying standby on my way to Grand Rapids, MI to hook up with some stitching friends and couldn't get a seat on a plane to Michigan. The coldest place in the world remains the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport at 2a.m. It's also had a good bit of quality time at the Panera in Ft. Walton Beach where I would sit and stitch and wait on my sons to do their mall business. What ever that is for a kid these days. So it's all stitched up with many, many memories. I finished it in November I think. I pulled it out to finish on election day and had way more to stitch than I remembered.

Since being here in Tennessee, I started a hand piecing project. This here is my pile of what I'm calling my Tennessee River Log Cabin. I have been acquiring orange fabrics from where ever I can, the local Walmart seems to be my main source, a few here and there from random trips to Jackson when momma would let me run in JoAnn's for some comfort. Believe me a trip to JoAnn's can offer a bit of comfort and joy even in July when the biggest excitement is getting to run over to the Walmart in Savannah, TN. JoAnn's is like Saks Fifth Avenue for a deprived crafty chick. My blocks are all different sizes. Some so much smaller I kind of freak out when I see them, some huge. Whoops! I am ruler challenged, obviously. But I think I know how I will set them all together when I get home to Florida so I'll keep cutting and piecing and sewing until I get home and then I'll put them all together into a wonky hand pieced log cabin that I hope will be somewhat pretty! There's questionable piecing and questionable fabrics but this is all about handwork and working with what I have readily available to me. Makes it fun and stressful at the same time.
And my current focus project is Time & Tide from Long Dog. I'm stitching it on 32ct antique white linen using good old DMC.

I have missed blogging so much and found that while I wanted to, I didn't have much to contribute beyond whining and crying, now I'm jumping on my JOY theme and going with it.

May 2013 be a joyful year for all of you. Thank you so much for reading and inspiring me with all your stitching and sewing and cooking.

May every little X you make over the next year be crossed with joy and happiness. May we all see the light in our lives during 2013 and fewer shadows. It's so easy to let the shadow suck us in. It's so easy to let misery take hold and our sadness wrap around our heart like kudzu. Let's fertilize our hearts and stitching with JOY in the coming days and weeks and months.

To quote Granny Clampett:

"I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay".

Wishing you all a Blessed Holiday Season and a new year filled to overflowing with joy and happiness.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bit of Stitching

Since June 7th I've been in Tennessee staying with my momma. In the not too distant future we will have to make hard decisions but right now I'm here with her away from the spousal unit and the sons. While I feel right now I'm where I need to be, there's this fear that when I do go home, I'll be the stranger, I won't quite belong any more. I guess that is my homesickness talking. But enough of that!

My stitching time is a bit limited but I have made a good bit of progress on Long Dog's Time & Tide sampler. I'm stitching it on 32ct antique white linen using DMC as charted. I had planned to stitch it on 40ct using HDF silks but I kitted it ages ago and the 32ct is easy to see in regular light and I'm very happy with how it's stitching up. I love the bright colors and while the stitching is slow, if I'm lucky I get about an hour in the morning before momma wakes up to stitch, I do manage to complete a motif or two every morning.

The sweetest part of my day is my early morning stitching time. Needle and thread slipping through fabric, listening to my audiobook. Right now it's Gone With the Wind which I am enjoying a lot. This is a reread but a first time listen and I look forward every morning to the little bit of time I get to spend with Scarlett, Rhett and Mellie. It's a touch of normal for me while I am in this alien world that has not been home to me in 26 years.

I could go on about going back home, the demons of childhood, being an adult child taking care of a parent and the struggles that ensue. But not now. Now it's all about the sweet hour of the day. Stitching, an audiobook, and a steaming cup of coffee. BLISS!!!

I am so very grateful for these quiet moments.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Testing to See if My Blogger is Working

Why hey there y'all!

Life has thrown me some curve balls recently and I've been in Tennessee at my momma's since June 7th. I've been wanting to get back in a blogging routine but since I'm in a time warp where wi-fi is a magical, mystical thing requiring the powers of a wizard I'm left at the mercy of my iPad and wasn't quite sure how that would work. Also the first few weeks if my my stay here in the land of my childhood my bitter inner child reared her ugly head and do you all really want to read that? No of course you don't. So junk journaling, popularly referred to as Smash Book as taken the anger out of my journaling and put the smack down on my inner child. I now think I'm in a better place mentally for blogging.

If a picture pops up in this post it should be of my bear sampler. A sampler I put together with the help of my friend Pam. We used my Patternmaker software and the houses on either side were adapted from patterns provided with the software the rest were just drawn randomly from images we found. It was inspired by a sampler I saw a while back and if I can figure out the whole link think on this app I'll add a link later. The only thing I borrowed from that design are the words, "Haters Gonna Hate". The hatred for Mr. Bear around my 'hood was pretty fierce. I love the bear. Nuisance or not, a bear wandering through one's neighborhood in the year 2012 is a thing of wonder. He's beautiful and I love that I live somewhere where seeing a bear is a possibility. Much nicer than the day to day site of humans, cars, etc.

Keeping my fingers crossed when I hit publish this post actually posts!

Sure feels good to write something!