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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Round Robin: Growing

The theme of this challenge had me thinking about many different images---everything from plants to babies. Since I recently ordered a new camera, I was hoping that it would come in time for the challenge, but now I learn that it has been back ordered. So, with that in mind, I decided to go ahead and shoot a few pictures with my point-and-shoot anyway.

These are the gardenias that are now blooming in my backyard. This particular bush is absolutely filled with aromatic blossoms. In fact, I smelled them as soon as I stepped out the back door.

Be sure to check out the other Round Robin posts here.
Friday, May 29, 2009

200th Post

Wow! I can't believe it, but this is my 200th post!! I started this blog back in November of 2007---that's even harder to believe. Some months there have been more entries, than others, but it has been really fun to do and a great way to keep track of a few highlights in my life.

Seems appropriate to post something new and exciting, so take notice of the new badge I've added to the right side. Shutter School is a joint project between my daughter, Jana and me that will begin in the next week or so. We're hoping that you will join us as we learn to use our cameras better and more intentionally, so stay tuned for more details to follow!

P. S. Somehow as this was posted, I seem to have lost my decorative borders. Hmmmm, I was contemplating changing that anyway--maybe this is a sign . . .
Thursday, May 28, 2009
A few months ago, I told you about the Cricut die cut machine that I purchased and even showed you the "wall art" that I put up in my living room. Well, this morning I learned about an awesome offer while browsing through A Soft Place To Land. She is having a great giveaway of some of the great vinyl art available from Lewas Designs. So I hopped on over to take a look---fun stuff!! I think that I need some of that for my computer . . . or maybe my window! How many walls could I cover before it's considered "too much"?!?!?!
Monday, May 25, 2009

I Love A Bargain!

I love a bargain! I just got back from Joann's where they are having a great big Memorial Day sale. All the notions are 50% off, so I stocked up on a few items. I also bought the materials to construct my own camera bag---we'll see how that goes later. While in the shopping center, I stopped by "Fashion Liquidators". While I was just browsing the shoe racks, I ran across these---Keen clog sandals. There seemed to be only one pair in the whole store and it was in my size! I've been wanting to try out a pair of Keens and this was the perfect opportunity---bargain priced at $22!!!!
Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cooking Corner

Anyone that knows me very well, knows that I really don't like to cook much at all. Not that I can't cook---more that I don't enjoy it very much. Valine always says, "You sew for me and I'll cook for you!" (pretty good deal if you ask me) Actually, I really like to bake, but that's a dangerous thing to do when you live alone, so I rarely do. This morning, however, I ran out of granola. Since I'd do almost anything to not have to go to the store on a Sunday afternoon, I pulled out my granola recipe and made my own. My sister-in-law gave me the recipe a couple of years ago and it is so good and so easy!
It looks so yummy!! I had to sneak a little bite before I put it in the container. Can't wait until breakfast tomorrow!
Here's the recipe:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup Canola oil
5 cups oats (any kind of oats are o.k.-quick, rolled and cheap!)
1 cup nuts or flax seed (I use sliced almonds, usually)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a large baking pan. Combine brown sugar, water, honey and oil over medium heat until it bubbles. Remove from heat and pour over the oats, stirring to mix well. Add nuts. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir if you like it to be bite-size. If you like it chunky, let it cool first. Stir in raisins, if desired. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Shadow Shot Sunday

Today, while browsing blogs, I ran across a new photo challenge that sounds kind of fun. Shadow Shot Sunday is a challenge to post photos of shadows. Take a look at Tracy's blog for more information. Here's my first entry--
I'm hoping that this challenge will make me more aware of the simple beauty around me and also give me another chance to improve my photography skills. Be sure to take a look at some of the other great Shadow Shots.

Quick Change Pocket Tutorial

Back in April, when I visited Jana, we did lots of sewing. One of our projects was to create a gift for a baby shower that she was invited to. Together we used decorator samples to make a diaper bag and a great little pocket to hold extra clothes & a diaper. The diaper bag tutorial was posted earlier, but here's the tutorial for the "Quick Change Pocket". (If you prefer, you can download the .pdf file here).
Quick Change Pocket
Materials Needed:
Outside Fabric - 26" x 10.5" (white floral)

Lining Fabric - 26" x 10.5" (blue floral)

Pocket Fabric - 26" x 7.5" (stripe)
Flap - 6" x 4"
1-1/2 inch length of sew-in velcro

Matching thread


1. Main Piece: Press under 1/2" on one end of the outside fabric. Repeat for the lining.

2. With right sides together, sew 3 sides together, leaving pressed edges free.
3. Clip corners and turn right side out. Press.

4. Top stitch each end 1/4" from edge, closing open end.

5. Flap: Press under 1/2" on each side of the flap. Fold in half lengthwise and press again.

6. Open out flap and turn right sides together. Sew across each end.

7. Turn right sides out and top stitch 1/4" from each side, closing up open side.
8. Sew rough side of velcro in place on one end of the flap.

9. Measure down 6" from top edge of main piece, centering the strap. Sew across bottom end of the strap, securing it to the main piece, leaving end closest to the edge, free.
10. Pocket: Press under 1/2" on each end of the Pocket Fabric.
11. With right sides together, sew each side seam, leaving pressed edges free.
12. Clip corners and turn right side out. Press.

13. Top stitch each end 1/4" from edge, closing open end.

14. Measure down 1" from top edge of pocket and sew the soft side of the velcro in place, centering it.
14. Assembly: Open out both the main piece and the pocket.

15. Center the pocket on the outside of the main piece, being sure that the flap is on the opposite end as the velcro on the pocket.
16. Top stitch 1/4" from the edge of each pocket.
17. Turn over the entire piece and fold each end in 5" and press well.

18. With folds in place top stitch around the entire piece, taking care not to catch the flap in the stitching.Finished piece will hold a baby's extra clothes or diapers and a
soft package of wipes.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bulldog Graduation

This afternoon I drove over to Ruston to watch my son-in-law graduate from college. The speaker was our governor, and Jindal's message was good---and short! Seated behind us, was a family with a baby and a toddler (apparently their mom was graduating). I LOVE babies and children, but a graduation is no place for them. Expecting them to be quiet and calm for three hours is more than unreasonable. So, just as would be expected, both children cried through most of the three hours! Fortunately, they took a break for a few minutes about the time that Jordan walked across the stage, so we were able to hear his name called. (By the way, I received my M.A. from this same school about two weeks before Jana was born--I chose not to walk in the ceremony and instead received my diploma by mail.) Next month, they'll be moving 600 miles away so he can enter grad school at Ga. Tech! J & C--If by chance either one of you has a child by the time we go to another graduation, I promise to either get you a babysitter or keep the child myself!!
Friday, May 22, 2009

Time For A Trim

Summer is here and it was time for Emmi to get a trim. I decided to try a DIY grooming for her tonight. As the pile of fur grew, it looked like a little sheep was getting sheared, and I think there was almost as much fur stuck to my jeans. Doing it yourself definitely gives you a new appreciation for a groomer's job. Emmi is rarely still--especially if a brush or scissors are nearby, so I had a moving target most of the time. I don't dare trim very close to her eyes, saving that job for an expert, so she still has long fur to collect those "tear stains", but I think she must feel much better with her new "do".Seeing her closeup in this picture, makes me realize I have some touch-up work to do tomorrow. And goodness, Emmi, I think you need braces!

I Like . . .

Inspired by Dancing Commas, I decided to make my list, too. I'm sure there are others, but here are quite a few:

I like being a mother. I like the color blue. I like sewing. I like babies. I like scrapbooking. I like soft, chicken tacos. I like my dog, Emmi. I like going barefoot in green grass. I like pansies. I like having 3 brothers. I like reading blogs. I like helping people. I like contemporary Christian music. I like when my daughters call to tell me about something that has just happened. I like cold sheets. I like seashells. I like fabric. I like textures. I like a good steak. I like popcorn. I like butterscotch, oatmeal cookies. I like embroidered pillowcases. I like learning about other cultures. I like the mountains. I like flying. I like driving with the windows down. I like baby animals. I like working behind the scenes of events at church and work. I like swing sets. I like photography. I like museums. I like knitting. I like making lists. I like family get-togethers. I like Sunday afternoon naps. I like noticing the different shades of greens there are in a forest. I like laughing with friends. I like riding on the back of a motorcycle (even though I haven't done that in a while). I like Diet Coke. I like hand-made paper. I like having a few close friends. I like watching romantic comedies. I like orange juice. I like iron finials. I like corn-on-the-cob. I like almost any kind of music. I like drawing. I like colors. I like hydrangea. I like tomatoes. I like smocking. I like baby shoes. I like adult shoes. I like hiking. I like teaching. I like birds. I like antique shopping. I like strawberries. I like getting to really know someone. I like underdogs. I like eyelet. I like Baked Lays potato chips. I like children's books. I like baking and decorating cookies. I like growing herbs. I like art. I like shrimp cooked just about any way. I like riding in a boat. I like planting flowers. I like computer stuff. I like rick-rack. I like browsing grocery store aisles when I'm not in a hurry. I like figuring out the solution to a problem. I like recalling things my girls did when they were little. I like playing word games with the girls when traveling. I like vintage sewing supplies. I like buttons. I like sleeping with the windows open. I like decorating magazines. I like proofreading things for the girls. I like linen. I like hand-written letters. I like silver jewelry. I like the color turquoise. I like old books. I like sitting in front of a fireplace in the winter. I like bird's nests. I like pedicures. I like chatting with J & C during the day -- and night. I like patterns in nature. I like carrot cake. I like making jewelry. I like locally owned restaurants and shops. I like strawberry daiquiris (occasionally). I like sandals. I like helping the girls move or with things at their homes. I like the plays my children and their cousins used to put on. I like Psalm 30:5b. I like bunnies. I like working crossword puzzles with someone else. I like building things. I like the smell of cinnamon. I like chips and salsa. I like quilting. I like roaming through a fabric store looking at (and touching) all the fabrics. I like eating out with Ron & Carol. I like traveling. I like hearing the sound of the ocean at night. I like uneven numbers of things in artwork. I like to work together with J & C projects. I like gardenias. I like the intricacies of nature, like how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. I like blue icing.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Photo Op

Today I ordered a new camera! I love my small point-and-shoot, but have been wanting to learn more about photography and experimenting with lenses, etc. After some internet research and lots of comparisons, I decided on the Lumix by Panasonic. It can operate as a point-and-shoot or it can go manual and lenses, etc. can be added. I'm still going to keep my compact camera. After all, sometimes it's just easier to have a camera you can tuck in your purse or pocket, but I'm really excited to begin learning the ins and outs of this new one.

With school almost over, Jana and I are planning to really learn how to use our cameras this summer (between hours on our summer jobs) and we invite you to join us when we begin our Shutter School. (details will be coming) I plan to use both cameras this summer a lot, so there will be plenty to learn on both styles.

And next on my "to do" list is a pretty camera case and neck strap. I love these by Tracy Joy and by Xcessrize but right now they are out of my price range. I wonder if I can come up with my own version ??
Sunday, May 17, 2009

Office Supplies

This weekend, one of my brothers is here. Our task for these couple of days is to clean out my dad's office-certainly not something I've been looking forward to. Just as cleaning my mom's closet and sewing room were painful for me, I knew my dad's office would be a hard thing to do because it was such an important place to him. But instead, it hasn't been so bad. Don't get me wrong---it has been pretty overwhelming. But, it was so much easier to have Don here to help me. My dad was a super organized person (I can't figure out how that gene seems to have completely missed me) and everything in the office has been carefully filed away. There is just so MUCH of everything! His entire work history of the last 50+ years has been stored up there. Yet, because he loved his job so much, it seems that every nook and cranny is filled with a piece of him---things that have been fun to look through and reminisce about.

We used to get to help him cut electrical logs, glue them together and fold them. Then he used colored pencils to color code the layers of rock, etc. indicating where gas and oil were located.

One of my favorite things in his office (other than the desk chair that my brothers used to spin me in) was the telephone directory. I thought the way it operated was such a neat invention.And both of us remember the leather paperweights used on the drafting tables. And how about these drafting table brushes?! Many of the maps in the map-room were printed on some form of mylar, and the hand-lettering and coloring were done with pen and ink.
There were map pins . . .
a whole BOX full of pink pearl erasers! . . .and every sort of measuring and map tool . All these tools from days gone by . . . I wonder what it is that our children and grandchildren will find special? What tools will be unique and different and remind them of times they spent with us?
Saturday, May 16, 2009

Round Robin: Floating

This month's photo challenge was to capture the word "floating". Last weekend, I arrived home from school just in time to hear the Blue Angels soaring over my house. Again this year, they were rehearsing for the air show at the air force base near my home. I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of shots. Because the planes precede their sound by a bit, it's hard to catch them as they soar overhead. Captured against the clouds, they really look like they might be floating!
Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Wheels!

Goodbye old car!Hello new car!!
I know, I know. My other car was also a gray Santa Fe.
But this one is great because:
--I got an deal on it,
--It's a slightly different color, Willow Gray to be exact,
--it's a 2009 model (2 years newer),
--it has XM radio,
--and it still smells new!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some Days Are Just Like That!

It doesn't happen often to me. I generally am able to keep my emotions in check pretty well. While I feel things deeply, I rarely cry around other people. But, some days are just different. Maybe it is just the fact that there have been too many hard things happening in too short of time. Or just the fact that I sometimes feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done and can't seem to make much of a dent in it. Or maybe it's just the simple fact that I miss my daddy. Seems like the past few days, all I've wanted to do is call him and tell him what's going on. So, this evening when my very good friend, D, asked me "How are you doing?" I got all teary. I totally wasn't expecting it---and I really am okay. But, then, some days are just like that!
Monday, May 11, 2009

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old. . .

"Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold."
----a song I learned in Girl Scouts

I love old friends!! This evening, I met Christy and Abby for dinner and we had such a nice time visiting over a bowl? several bowls of chips and hot sauce.

Christy and I have known each other most of our lives. Our parents were best of friends before either of us was born and our families spent lots of time together when we were very young. As we grew up, our families remained in touch, but since Christy was older than me, we had our own sets of friends. After getting married, she and her husband moved away and we stayed connected only by the friendship of our parents. (here's a picture of Christy, her brother and me in the back--we had lots of sleep-overs while our parents played bridge).I first met Abby when she was a brand new teacher at my school. At that time, she was fresh out of school and teaching kindergarten at a challenging school. I was married, had two children and taught special needs preschoolers at the same school. I don't really remember how, but we became "teacher friends" and then friends away from school, too, despite our age difference.

Fast forward to a few years ago. Abby was teaching at one of the private schools to which I was assigned for inclusion!! We immediately re-kindled our friendship. Shortly thereafter, Christy and her husband moved back to town and she became the preschool director at the same school!! In the years that have passed since then, she and I have shared the loss of our mothers and the loss of my dad. While Abby is in a different stage of life, we all seem to find common ground in our teaching experiences and values.

And every so often, when school gets crazy and life gets crazier, the three of us gather for a "Meeting" (that's what Abby's little girl calls it) where we can catch up with what is going on with each other and enjoy visiting. Our time together usually stretches to at least a couple of hours (and has been known to last even longer a time or two) and good food is secondary to our conversation.
While we don't necessarily do things together socially on a regular basis and all of us have other "best friends", there is something so refreshing and safe about our get-togethers. We have a mutual respect for each other, share similar values and genuinely care about each other and what's going on in our lives. I love old friends!
Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted

This weekend, I was a bit sore from the accident so instead of working in the yard as I had originally planned, I spent some time with Callie (who took me to lunch on Saturday for an early Mother's Day) and did a little bit of car shopping. We also stopped by Lowe's and picked out some colorful plants to brighten the pots at my house. Callie went out on the river with friends and as the Blue Angels roared overhead during BAFB's air show, I did some VERY light gardening. I found that chicken feeder on my last Canton trip for $4!Then, this afternoon, when I went out to take a few pictures, I found the first Clematis blooming on my vine. A bit later than usual, but it couldn't have happened on a more perfect day. Combined with our closing hymn this morning, "I'll Fly Away", it was a perfect tribute to my own mother!

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