Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brothers and superheros

Let me tell you about my brother.  Or better yet, let me embarrass my brother by writing an entire blog post about him.  I'll refer to him as "Day-go" from here on know to protect his "real" name, and well, because "Day-go" was what I called him when we were you know...its cute. 

Day-go and I are a few months shy of 2 years apart.  He is older. Our birthdays fell in a way that we were only one grade apart in school.  I would venture to say that our relationship is similar to most older brother/younger sister pairs.  He always watched out for me, and I bugged him a bit.  Growing up, Day-go and I were pretty much like night and day.  I had dark hair and dark eyes, he had light hair and light eyes.  I took after my mom's family and he could never have denied relation to my dad's kinfolk.  I was a diligent student, stayed out of trouble, and followed the rules...and he...well let's just say he was different than me.  

I am told that when I was very small and still sleeping in the crib, Day-go would wake up early and crawl into the crib with me.  My parents would get a few extra minutes of relaxing in bed while they listened to us "talk" on the monitor.  Which mostly consisted of him making me laugh.  He was quite the entertainer.  As we grew older, I never remember a time we did not get along.  I can count two times (I am not exaggerating) that we actually got into a real fight.  When we both entered into the horrid middle school years we kept out of each others way and only acknowledged each others existence at home.  But nonetheless, we continued to get along and remain civil.

When we hit high school, we ran with the same crowd, had the same friends, and got into the same kinds of trouble.  All the while, Day-go had his "big brother radar" on high, always keeping a watchful eye.  Day-go was well known at our high school and I was well known as "Day-go's sister".  I know for some folks, being known as "someone's sister" is annoying, but I liked it, I wanted everyone to know who's sister I was, I was proud to have the label.  

A curious thing happened after high school.  Even while going our separate ways, Day-go and I continued to cross paths within the same social groups.  We attended the same parties, hung out at the same coffee shop and most often folks could find one where the other was.  Day-go was as much my friend as he was my brother.  

To this day our relationship continues to be the same, equal parts friend, equal parts sibling.  Day-go has taught me many things and made me laugh many times.  He married an amazing woman who is like the sister I never had and together they made me an aunt to two amazing little boys.  I am lucky they live close to me and I visit them every week.  So, when Day-go suggested that this year, as a gift to our mom, we should take a picture of just the two of us, I was definitely on board.  The last picture we have of just us, was from high school.  Day-go's lovely wife took our pictures one day and we gave them to our mom for Christmas.  

I love these pictures, because they are the still life proof of what we share.  I could not have asked for a better brother or a better friend.  I am so proud to be "Day-go's sister".   

 This is the picture we made larger for my mom.  

The next few were put into a collage

 I told you he always knows how to make me laugh!

These are two of my favorite candid shots.

Yep, it was that funny. 

I saw this quote once and it always makes me think of Day-go...

     "Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero." -Marc Brown 

Not just because he used to dress up in a superman cape and jump off the hearth (sorry Day-go) but because having an older brother like him was like having a personal superhero, someone to look up to and someone who was always there whenever I needed him.  Thanks Day-go!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Here is the fifth and final installment of my favorite Christmas memories.  You can read my last four here, here, here, and here.  

Merry Christmas!  I hope you all are enjoying your morning!  Christmas morning has always been a special time for me.  As a kid, it was the anticipation and the excitement of seeing what Santa brought and even in to adulthood, I still felt that excitement but it was often directed more towards giving the perfect gift and seeing loved ones.  As I have mentioned before, we spent most of our Christmas mornings at my Grandma Louise and Grandpa Offey's house.  I loved waking up with my other cousins, sneaking in to the den to see what kind of loot we scored!  There are too many memories of the many Christmas mornings to share just one.  It's like a whirlwind of images and if I put them all together it would make the most perfect Christmas!

There was the year where Santa left clues and a scavenger hunt to find where our presents were hidden.  The year my cousin got a Barbie mansion that we played with for hours.  The year "Santa" forgot to put out the presents before we woke up (to credit my parents, we were all old enough to know who the real Santa was) and we had to wake up our parents, go back to bed, and wait for "Santa" to come and leave our gifts.  Oh, and every year my aunts and uncles and other cousins would stop by in the afternoon and we would have a big meal and more presents.  Every Christmas Day seemed to last forever, there was always one more gift to open, one more family member to see.

Now that I am an adult and some of these traditions have changed I am making new memories of Christmas.  I look forward to spending time with family, sharing memories of Christmases past, watching the younger generation's excitement over Santa and the season.  I have enjoyed making gifts this season, each one made specifically for a special person.  The past five years, I have enjoyed spending Christmas with my husband and his family.  This year my family visited on Christmas Eve.  We ate homemade Brunswick Stew and pimento cheese sandwiches.  This evening my hubby's family is coming in to town for a few days.  We are cooking a pork butt on the smoker today, a nice relaxing activity on a cool Christmas Day.  This Christmas, I wake up to a quiet house with just me and my husband.  I miss the hustle and bustle of a house full of family, but I cherish the time we get to spend together on the wonderful holiday.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The stars

Here is my Christmas Eve installment of my favorite Christmas memories.  You can read my last three here, here, and here

First I would like to tell you about a long standing tradition on my dad's side of the family.  Every Christmas Eve, my dad's entire family (now, when I say entire, I mean entire...aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins..well you get the idea) would get together and celebrate.  It was just like a family reunion, just on Christmas Eve.  There would be pot-luck style grub, Christmas carols, a Christmas play, and even a visit from Santa Claus!  Now, the Christmas play was all the youngin's dressed in various robes and white trash bags, acting out the birth of Christ and Santa would be some unlucky uncle dressed in a Santa suit.  But we all had fun and everyone looked forward to the festivities each year.

This tradition dates back as far as my dad can remember and it has continued to happen every year since.  Although this tradition in and of itself provides a wonderful and lasting memory, it's not the actual event I remember, as much as the ride home.  Almost every year we spent the night at my Grandma Louise and Grandpa Offey's house on Christmas Eve.  After the get together, we would head to their farmhouse.  

Now, you have to keep in mind, that at the get-together we had just had the privilege of seeing Santa with our own eyes.  We didn't know he wasn't the real deal.  He showed up with presents in a bag, with OUR names on them!  I mean, it had to really be the Big Guy.  Our parents were very good about reminding us that he was "in the area" and that we better get ourselves home quickly and in to bed, so as to avoid the inevitable "kids who are awake get skipped over by Santa" conundrum. 

So even though seeing family, acting out a play, and sitting on Santa's lap was more than exciting for this little girl, it was always the ride home that lulled me into the proverbial sugar plums and candy canes trance.  I remember sitting in the back seat of the car, my head tilted against the cool window, gazing out at the stars, hoping for a quick glimpse of Santa's sleigh.  I know there is a pretty good chance my parent's encouraged this behavior as to further their plans to get us in bed soon after crossing the threshold of the farmhouse.  But, alas I found myself mesmerized by the stars. 

The years we did not stay at the farmhouse, we took the hour long journey back to our house.  I still remember the same feeling of wonder while searching the skies for Santa.  Now, I would like to say that this behavior slowly waned as the years passed, but that is simply not true.  I remember one year, as an adult, I was riding back from the get together with my parents.  I was sitting in the backseat of the car with my Grandma Louise.  I remember leaning my head against the window and seeing the stars twinkling in the sky.  Of course, I was not looking for Santa that night (I swear I wasn't!).  But that night, as the stars rushed by and we headed home, I found myself in a kid-like trance, dreaming of what joy Christmas Day would bring.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gift wrap please!

This is the third installment of my favorite Christmas memories.  You can read my first two here and here

I have always enjoyed wrapping gifts.  As a kid I enjoyed picking the perfect paper and ribbon, tying bows and placing the tag in the perfect place.  I loved a DO you wrap a basketball so it doesn't look like a basketball?  And, I was queen of wrapping little things in big boxes to confuse and excite the receiver.  Not to mention, a tree just looks too bare without gifts underneath.  There is nothing short of pure joy then when you put freshly wrapped gifts under a twinkling tree. 

I am sure my mother loved my gift wrapping excitement.  There were even years when I wrapped my own gifts, under the ruse that they were for a cousin or a friend's little girl.  I was none-the-wiser, as long as I got to put a pretty bow on it, I didn't care who it was for!  I remember years when mom and I would set up a wrapping station in the guest bedroom.  I am sure I bugged her to death, wanting to wrap things that were not ready to be wrapped and searching for new things that needed festive wrapping paper.  

I remember one year when I was probably 8 or 9, during a wrapping session, I wrapped a clock radio for my Grandpa.  We had put batteries in the radio so it would be all ready to go when he opened it on Christmas Day.  As soon as I put the last piece of tape on the radio, and flipped the box over, we heard music coming from inside.  I must have hit the button when I was putting it back in the box and now we had a singing Christmas gift.  Well, instead of carefully opening the package, I frantically ripped off the paper as if I was opening my own gift from Santa.  Mom looked on in shock and then explained that we could have just opened one end carefully, but now we will have to re-wrap the entire thing!  Imagine my disappointment...muwahahahaha...wrap it again?  Oh what a shame.  So I proceeded to wrap the gift again, secretly wishing I could wrap presents forever!  

Nowadays, I still look forward to wrapping gifts.  I try to find interesting ways to wrap gifts for other occasions, but Christmas gifts are in a category of their own.  I still like to get the festive holiday paper and bows, wrapping each gift slowly, savoring the perfection of a neatly wrapped box.  Now, I am sure you are all clambering to call me over to your abode to wrap your mountain of Christmas gifts...but I would never want to rob you of the joy...I mean it is Christmastime after all :-)

The Manger

Here is my second "installment" of my favorite Christmas read yesterday's post about the Birthstone Ornament go here!

As a kid, I always loved to listen to the Christmas Story.  My Grandpa Horace would read the story from the Bible every year.  We talked about it in church and my parents reminded me each year that Santa was not the only important person at Christmas.  We always had a Nativity scene as part of our Christmas decorations and one of my favorite parts of decorating the house was setting it up.  I am a little embarrassed to say that as a child it was not because of what it symbolized, I just loved setting up those little figurines and putting them in the perfect spot.  It was kind of like playing with my Barbies, but more special.  

My brother and I both had a Nativity scene.  When the time came to set up them up, I would find the perfect spot on the shelf.  I would slowly unwrap each figurine, gently placing them to the side until they were all free from their storage cocoons.  Then, I would place each piece in just the perfect place.  I loved the fact that my Nativity had animals too, they were my favorite part!  (I know, I should have like Baby Jesus the most, but hey, I was a kid who loved animals, can you blame me?)  And the years my brother did not want to set his up was like an early Christmas present!  You mean I get to set up TWO Nativity scenes?  Score! 

Even as I grew older, I still looked forward to setting up the Nativity scene each year.  Every year the same excitement would wash over me and I would be like a kid again.  My old Nativity scene is packed away in a box at my parents house.  It makes it out every so often at Christmas, but I am not usually around when my parents decorate.  The first few years, when I was no longer living with my parents and I had my own Christmas decorations, I often missed setting up the Nativity scene. 

Then, after Hubby and I got married, his Pop and Nanny gave us the most beautiful Nativity scene as a Christmas gift.  I was so excited to have a Nativity for my own house.  Although this one will never take the place of my childhood Nativity, I still have the same excitement each year when I drag the Christmas decorations down from the attic.  I slowly open the boxes for each figurine, unwrap them and place them in the perfect spot.  I still feel like a kid when I set it all up and step back to admire the scene.  Not to mention, this Nativity scene has animals too!  As an adult, I now truly cherish the meaning of the Nativity scene and what it represents...but I have to admit that the animals are still one of my favorite parts!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Birthstone Ornament

With Christmas quickly approaching (only 4 more days!), I find myself thinking more and more about what I love about this time of the year.  The memories I have collected over the years are priceless, but there are a few very specific memories that make Christmas special for me. 

As an adult, I notice each year how things evolve and change.  How traditions shift to the new generations and how hard it is to let go of the traditions you held as a child and allow them to change with growing families.  So, in honor of making and keeping memories at Christmas, I thought I would share with you for the next 4 days, some of my cherished memories from this wonderful season.

From the time I was a wee little one until later in my teenage years, Grandma Edith and Grandpa Horace (my mom's parents) would give each of us grandchildren a gift at Christmas.  Since most of us were girls (except my poor brother who was the only boy for many years until he was joined in ranks by my youngest cousin "N") Grandma Edith and Grandpa Horace often got us all the same gift.  We were all aware that our gifts were likely to be the similar and so when it came time to open them, we would count down and everyone would open their gifts at the same time.  We were clever, weren't we?  This way, we could avoid any "spoilers".  We were always grateful for the gifts given to us by our grandparents.  We knew they took lots of time to find the perfect gift that we would all love. 

The truth is, I don't really remember many of the actual gifts they gave us over the years.  Except one.  The Birthstone Ornament.  Grandma Edith loved the Christmas Season.  After she passed away, Christmas was always very hard for my Grandpa and the entire family.  We would get together and follow all of the same traditions from years past, then when we would sit down and Grandpa would read the Christmas story from the Bible, tears and sniffles would start.  We were all missing Grandma Edith.  But, for the years following Grandma's passing, Grandpa was always determined to keep up with the gift giving.  

One year, we all happily opened our packages.  This year the gifts were the same but also special, precious, and unique.  You see, when each grandchild was born, Grandma and Grandpa had bought a Birthstone Ornament to hang on their tree.  That year, Grandpa gave us each our ornaments.  There was a note tucked inside the box....
          "Dear Melissa, Grandma and I bought this ornament when you were born and each year we hung it on our tree, and later Grandma put all 8 of them on a ribbon and each year at Christmas we hung them on the hall clock.  I want you to have it now and each year when you hang it on your tree, do as in memory of Grandma.  Love Grandpa."

Now that Grandpa is no longer with us, each year I hang this ornament in memory of them both.  Each year, I unfold the note, and admire Grandpa's words.  The note tucked inside the box brings tears to my eyes every Christmas.  Each year, I open the box and on the label, written by my Grandma the year I was born, is my name and birthday.  Each year I hang this ornament on my tree and think of the precious memories I made with both of them.  I always make sure to find the perfect spot, safely hung on a sturdy branch at the top of the tree.  

Although this ornament sometimes makes me sad to think I wont spend another Christmas with Grandpa Horace and Grandma Edith, I cherish the happy memories it brings.  And, every time I walk past my tree, the glittering red ornament catches my eye and makes me smile.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An army of snowmen

On Wednesday nights I work at a local center in a program for high school juniors.   Tomorrow night is our last session until after the holidays.  I wanted to make something sweet and festive for the kids in the program, so I made these...

The snowmen are made from marshmallows and "glued" to ginger snaps with icing, the hands are pretzel sticks, the face and buttons are icing and the hat is made from two spice drops.  I saw the idea here.  I will have to admit that they were time consuming, constructing each snowman individually was a little tedious.  But nevertheless, I enjoyed it!

Of course, after all that work, who could resist playing "Army of Snowmen"?  Hubby suggested I line them all up for battle...and the foolishness continued from there...
 "Freedom!"  (Hubby thought I should have painted their faces Braveheart style)

Hubby suggested I use "parts" to depict the dead snowmen already lost in the battle, but I decided, in the observance of Christmas Spirit, to just show the stand-off...

then to imagine, they all made up and enjoyed a nice soak in a hot tub full of cocoa...

Are you making any fun treats for the holidays?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I love this...

These made me think of Kyra-dog, she loved her little Octopi (as we so lovingly called her Blue Octopus).  What a quick and easy gift one of these would be for a little person.  I think I know the perfect little niece to make one of these for!

Check it out at Grosgrain

Monday, November 28, 2011

You know you are a country girl...

...when even your insulin pump plays bluegrass tunes!  I got my new insulin pump last week.  The warranty on my old one had expired and it was time for a change.  I am very excited about my new pump.  It has a few more bells and whistles and the data program (charting and graphing of data from pump and meter) is pretty awesome.  Not to mention, the blood glucose meter is also a remote control for my pump.  So no more digging the pump out of my bra strap when I need to bolus.  (That's a pretty picture isn't it?).

Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with insulin pumps, you generally can set alarms to remind you to check your blood sugar and for various warnings and such.  My old pump only did boring little beeps.  My new pump has songs!  Not only can you change the tunes using the computer program, but you can also compose (yes I said COMPOSE!) your own tunes for your pump.  So my hubby, being so musically inclined...has now programed my pump to play Dueling Banjos when it's time to check my blood sugar.  I wonder how long it will take for that to get old!
 My new pump

In other news, we had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving up at the mountain with hubby's family.  He and his dad spent some time mountain biking and hunting grouse and I got a chance to hike with my MIL and Waylon.  We also got a nice visit from some friends of the family (go here to see pictures of their visit) who headed up the mountain after picking out Christmas trees at a local farm.  Saturday afternoon, Hubby and I took the new UTV down into the woods to do some target shooting with his pistol.

 See those two holes right in the middle of the can?  I made those..yessiree!  Oh and I feel that I must clarify, that the beer can was not ours...we just did our part by picking up someone else's trash, shooting at it and then disposing of it properly :-)
The only time you can get hubby to smile in a picture is when he is shooting guns or paddling in a kayak :-) 

The weekend was wonderful and relaxing and left me feeling awfully lazy today...hey, there is no reason I can't prolong my vacation by one more day...right?  Tomorrow it's back to the real world...and by the real world I mean holed up in my craft room putting the finishing touches on Christmas gifts.  I hope you and yours had a wonderful Holiday!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Being an elf in a new skirt

So lately I have been a hermit.  Spending hours at a time in my craft room, only venturing out for short trips to the kitchen for food and walks with my neighbor and the dog.  I have been avoiding running errands and trips out of the house because I am not digging this colder weather and I have been turning out Christmas gifts like some of Santa's Elves.  On any given day you will find me sitting at my table, in front of the space heater and burning through my Netflix queue while I stitch away!  Before it got cold, I was getting a little discouraged with myself because I was having trouble getting motivated to work on crafty things.  So this long stretch of craftiness for Christmas has been quite therapeutic.  

I am really excited about some Christmas gifts I am working on, but unfortunately I can't really show them to you since recipients of those gifts often visit this blog!  I guess that will give me plenty to post after the Christmas Holiday.

I did take a break this morning from my Elf duties to make a pleated, denim skirt that is now my new favorite piece of clothing!  I used Simplicity Pattern 2215.  In the summer I made a red cotton skirt with the same pattern, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites for skirts!  Not to mention that this skirt gives me the perfect reason to wear my Frye boots!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Missing K-Dog

Today Hubby and I were driving home from a wonderful weekend of kayak fishing with his parents on the coast of NC.  Those of you who live in NC or are familiar with Hwy 40, east of Raleigh, know that this stretch of road consists of little more than open road and endless farmland.  Heading to the coast offers anticipation of arriving at the beach, but not much more in the form of visual stimulation.  The most exciting moments are when you get to joke about which of you is guilty of that awful smell that lingers in your car round about Clinton, NC where hog and turkey houses dapple the fields on either side of the otherwise desolite road.  Now, of course being a farm type of girl, I love the scenery and the quiteness of it all.

Most folks traveling down Hwy 40 East would never notice the exit for Magnolia, NC.  A small hog town somewhere along about the time you start wondering when the openness will end and when the heck are you getting to the beach.  For most people, Magnolia is nothing more than a blip on the Eastern NC map.  But for me, Magnolia is special.  Magnolia is where I found the type of unconditional love and companionship I never knew could exist.  Magnolia was where I found my precious baby girl Kyra.
 Kyra about a week after bringing her home

For the last 12 years, whenever I pass the exit to Magnolia, NC, I would exclaim to anyone willing to listen..."that's the town where I got Kyra.  She was just a 12 week old pup living on a hog farm, so cute and cuddly.  She rode home all the way back to Raleigh in my lap."  Passing that town has always triggered the memories I have of Kyra as a cute chubby pup.

This weekend, passing that little town conjured a reaction I would have never suspected.  Riding along, I happened to look up just as we passed the sign for first thought was as always..."aww that's where I got Kyra"...within moments my eyes teared up and I was a blubbering mess. 

Most of you know that I lost Kyra earlier this year after 12 years of companionship.  This was the very first time since the few days after her death that I really felt that loss.  Sure, I have missed her and have had occassional flash backs of the "good ol' days", but I guess it just hadn't really hit me yet that she was gone.  Seeing that sign made me miss her terribly.  It reminded me that when I got home that afternoon, she wouldn't be there to great me happily and then shun me for leaving her for so long (she was good at pouting)!

I thought I had dealt with losing Kyra.  I thought I had moved on and had nothing left but the happy memories.  But loss is sneaky, stirring up emotions when you least expect them.  Man, I miss my baby girl.  I mean who couldn't fall hopelessly in love with such a spirited and soulful pup?

 Luckily when I got home I still had a wagging tail and happy grin to meet me and even though no other pup could ever fill the space in my heart occupied by Kyra, this one has his own special place too!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The buzzness of bees

We tend to have a very minimalistic, hands-off approach to managing our bee colony.  We check them often enough to make sure they are doing their thing and to manage any pests or disease we may find.  Last year we did not collect honey because we wanted to leave the majority of it for the colony to make it through their first winter.  So this year, Hubby was really looking forward to collecting some honey from our girls.  

You may remember that back in the Spring we had a little trouble with replacing our queen.  We finally had an active queen but by the time she was "large and in charge" our colony had dwindled to quite a low number.  Because of this, we were not sure if we would have a strong colony to make enough honey for collecting.  Our thought process is, we only collect honey if the bees have stored enough for themselves to make it through the winter, that way we just get whatever is extra. 

A few weeks ago we noticed the bees were not as active and we suspected an issue with the colony.  When Hubby went into the hive, he found lower numbers, but also saw evidence of an active queen and a healthy looking hive.  

This weekend, Hubby decided to visit the hive to see if we had any honey to harvest before winter.  What he found was quite a different story from a few weeks ago.  The bees had set up shop in only one of our two hive bodies and the other hive body had been completely destroyed by wax moths (go here to learn more about these destructive insects).  Most colonies can fend off these nasty bugs but ours, dwindling in size, were unable to protect their entire hive.  

In hindsight, this was partially our fault for not reducing the size of the hive when the colony dwindled....but this has been a learning process for us and we try to be the least invasive when managing our hive.  

Hubby removed the damaged hive body (sorry no pictures...but you can go here to get an idea of what we saw) and cleaned up the frames.  There is still a honey super on the hive but we decided to leave this for the bees to eat during the winter.  So not a lot of extra honey for us (sniff, sniff)

However, we did get one frame of good honey, which yielded a nice amber colored jar of sweet goodness!  

 That's the honey super in the background.

Now for our other dilemma.  The remaining honey super we removed from the hive had a few partially filled frames of honey.  We wanted to "return" this honey to the bees and the only way to do this was to have them find the frames and collect the honey themselves.  

We placed the extra honey super on the porch (so we could see what happened but also to keep other insects off the honey).  It took our girls a few days to find the honey...but today they did!  Over a 10 minute time span the number of bees on the frame went from 1 to at least 40 coming and going.  What an amazing activity to watch!  
 The first few to find the frame
 Look closely and you can actually see their proboscis (straw-like mouth part) sucking the honey out of the comb.

Good to the last drop!
The same frame after 10 minutes.  The picture didn't pick up the 20 or so bees that were flying around the frame (and my head!)
Of course, Waylon (our bee-fearing pup) was not so happy that the bees are buzzing around his favorite lounging spot!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Awesome Fabric Finds

Over the past few weeks I have made a few trips to the Scrap Exchange.  An awesome place to get used and scrap materials for all kinds of projects!  I love getting fabric and sewing notions there, it is a great way to reuse items that others might throw away and I usually can find some awesome fabric.

This past week we kept our nephews for a couple of days.  The oldest wanted to learn to sew (yay!) and this gave me a perfect excuse to make a trip over to the Scrap Exchange.  They both found some really cool items to use in various projects and I found some great fabric!  Check out these awesome finds!
 I love this fabric!  This is about 5 yards of cotton fabric for $11!

 Some really neat upholstery weight fabric (about 1/2 yard-1 yard each) for $0.75 a piece!  I was thinking these would make some neat heavy duty little bags!

 Don't you just love this mushroom fabric?  There is about 1.5 yards.  It is a lovely pale green.

 I am not usually a fan of pink, but I thought this pink and green olive print fabric was just too cute!

 Oh, and I think this fabric speaks for itself!  Blue and brown...circles...yum!

 And my new obession with all things corduroy ...this lovely bright blue and yellow!  I think I see some more corduroy purses in my future!

 These are small swatches of fabric from a display...but I just couldn't pass up these interesting patterns.  They were only $0.25 a piece and I thought it would make a great little coin purse!  The blue one reminds me of a bee!

And a fat quarter of this yellow stripes and orange flowers pattern! 

Here's to being thrifty!  Now I guess it's time to stop accumulating fabric and actually do something with it!  I just have to figure out what I should do.....any suggestions?

Friday, September 23, 2011


I am experimenting with some new blog templates.  I had grown pretty weary of my other weary as one gets over blog templates!  Anyway I thought I would try a few new things.  You may notices some changes here and there and maybe some day I will settle on what I like! 

Meanwhile it has been rainy and muggy here for a few days.  The rain is nice, we needed it...but I am ready for cool Fall days without rain! 

Today to beat the rainy day blues I am working on a few sewing projects!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday...

Get them hooked while they are young and they will come back for more....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

All's quiet on the front

It's awfully quiet around here isn't it?  Sorry I haven't updated much lately.  My life has not been quiet by any means, but I haven't had much to blog about lately.  I have sewn a few more bags and made a few really awesome skirts that I am quite proud of (hoping to get pictures up soon!).  I have about 10 sewing projects in my mental queue and I keep getting distracted by more fun ideas!  I have finally been able to pack up the canner for the most part and my kitchen is no longer a steaming mess of boiling water, jars and vegetable parts! 

Hubby and I don't plant much of a Fall garden, just a few collards, maybe some spinach, and this year we will be planting some more garlic.  I usually focus on landscaping our yard in the Fall.  But the end of this Summer has left me not so motivated to plant shrubs and the complete overhaul of one of our car's transmission and the other's engine has left both Hubby and our bank account a little drained.  So this year we are sticking to some basics.  I just purchased a few more blueberry bushes to put in this weekend and hoping to get a few grape vines too.  Otherwise, this Fall we are focusing on cleaning out some of the scrub plants from the woods and cutting down some very large, rotting and too close to the house trees. 

On the diabetes front I am happy to say that things have calmed considerably.  Remember this post?  I was at my wits end.  Yes, I still have the whole Celiac thing to deal with and the food allergies, but that is much easier to handle now that my bloodsugars are finally back in range.  For six months I was fighting an uphill battle with my blood sugars.  Constant high numbers that were virtually unresponsive to insulin.  Because I had been so sick dealing with the food allergy issues I figured the numbers were a result of that.  But 4 weeks after resolving the food issues and not getting sick anymore,  I realized the highs had nothing to do with food. I was ready to throw in the gloves, I was tired of fighting unexplained highs.

Then I had a realization.  I had started at the beginning of this year and I had began to suspect it was the culprit, so I stopped the medication.  Twenty four house after stopping said medication, my blood sugars leveled out and 3 weeks later I am still holding strong with perfect blood sugars.  It is amazing what our bodies can tell us and even how someone as aware as myself can often ignore the signs.  Had I paid closer attention I might have been able to stop the medication earlier and avoided months of struggling and burnout.  I have to say I will never again take this medication and likely not take any of similar affect.  I am just glad to be back to my kind of normal. 

Now that the weather is cooler and I am feeling much better, I can focus on what to do next....of course my list of projects is longer than the Nile...where ever shall I start?

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Make Going to Work More Fun...

If you ask me what I do for a living I will tell you I am a homemaker.  Not a stay-at-home mom (unless you count Waylon as a kid!), not a housewife, not unemployed...a homemaker.  I make our home run as smoothly as possible.  I maintain our garden and animals and I strive to make our lives more sustainable.  But this post is not about what I do at home.

Since I do work at home most of the time, I don't have a reason to have fun work cool bags to carry your computer or important work documents, or fun office supplies.  Well, I guess I do have office supplies...but it's just not the same as having them on your desk displayed in cute containers and such!  

I do have a part time job.  I work with a local center that provides college-prep support to low-income students.  Most of my hours are working from home, but once a week I meet with my students at the center.  This is my one chance to "go to work" every I figured I should milk the whole "fun work supplies" angle while I can!

Our weekly sessions at the center start up this week.  So for inspiration and to channel my excitement for the upcoming year (my students are Juniors!  A big year for college prep!), I decided to make a new bag to carry my notebook and supplies.  Even though I get great enjoyment from this job and I consider it lots of fun, I figure going to work is way more fun when you have a bag you look forward to using every week! 

This bag is perfect for carrying my notebook and any other paperwork.  It has a front pocket big enough for my meter and diabetes supplies I sometimes need access to while working.  

I am so proud of this bag (sorry I have to brag a bit because sometimes I surprise myself)!
The bag is made from thrifted corduroy and the liners and appliques are made from scraps from another project!
I am so excited about using this bag!  Do you have something, a bag or maybe a fun office gadget that makes you excited about going to work?