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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011

2011! Wow! I remember when I was little girl, thinking ahead to the year 2000 and figuring out how old I would be! It seemed so far away. Surely by that time we would all be riding around in little space ships like The Jetsons?! Now it is 11 years later!!

In honor of the new year, I have a new header and blog style. Hope you like it. Have a great New Year's Eve and tons of fun and happiness in 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I have so many things I should be doing----taking down the tree, loads of laundry, changing the sheets on the bed---I could go on and on. Instead, in an effort to make these holidays last as long as possible, I've been surfing the web, chatting with Jana and wringing my hands a bit over Callie and Jordan's adventure to the Grand Canyon (they should begin hiking out today, but there has just been a huge winter storm advisory issued and they are advising no hiking until Friday. I have no way to reach them, so I'm hoping and praying that the park rangers are busy doing their job).

Meanwhile, I've decided to sign up for Ali Edwards' class over at Big Picture Classes. It's an online course called "One Little Word" and combines scrapbooking with times of reflection about the word I've chosen. I just received my email confirmation, so I guess I need to take a few minutes to gather supplies so I'll be ready to begin.
From Mommy's Treasures

Want to join me??

My Word

As 2010 draws to a close, I have been thinking over my "one word" and how it affected my day to day life. For those not familiar with the "one word" idea, it is similar to a New Year's Resolution, but instead of choosing a singular thing or activity I want to change, I choose a word to focus on. For 2010 I chose the word "RISK" and it did help me be more aware of times that I might normally retreat and not try something. Sometimes I was successful in risking and other times not, but I had an awareness that will help me in the future, I think.

Now, as 2011 looms near, I have been pondering what my one word will be. I want something that wil enter into many different aspects of my life--something that will affect my attitude, my work, my play and even my eating habits. It's a lofty goal, for sure, and I certainly don't expect to be perfect at it, but I hope to once again become more aware of how this enters my life. So for 2011, I have chosen the word "
purpose". Sounds really vague, I know, but I want to be more intentional about the purpose with which I pursue the various activities of my life. And for those things that really don't seem to have "purpose" for me, perhaps I need to let them go.

I recently saw this quote from Leo Buscalgia and it really related to my word:
" It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely. "

How's that for purpose?? For ideas of how others use the "one word" concept, check out these posts here and here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Wow! This is my 500th post! That's amazing---it's like half of 1,000!!!

Yesterday, I took Dan back to his group home. It was cold, but the weather was once again beautiful.

On the way to Shreveport, a few days ago, the time passed quickly as we began looking for hawks along the roadside. There were so many! I had my camera with me and would have loved to capture a few, but, we couldn't seem to spot them in time to pull over in a safe spot to get a picture. So, yesterday, Dan was going to be on "hawk alert", looking for them in advance so that we could get one really picture.

Alas, about 5 minutes into the trip, this is what Dan did instead.

This was the only picture I could get.

After dropping Dan off, I headed back into Alexandria for our annual "after-Christmas-lunch with Valine". She drove up and met me at Hobby Lobby and then we had a nice, relaxing lunch out (where I ate WAY too much Shrimp Scampi)!! After a few more after-Christmas sales, we stopped long enough to take this photo together----it took several tries to get a shot that we could even allow online as the others were so bad. I mean, it's hard to shoot a good picture when you're setting the camera on "timer" on your dashboard and people are walking past your car wondering what in the world you're doing!! :-)
But, then, that's what best friends are for, right?!?!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A New Tradition?

I think we might have a new holiday tradition---this afternoon, Dan and I met the Elliotts at the movie theater to see "Gulliver's Travels". It was in 3-D (which we didn't know until we got there). Dan wasn't wild about the glasses, so he preferred watching the slightly blurry movie without them, but hey---everyone looked like rock stars!

Warm For Winter

For years, I've been saving t-shirts form the girl's school days--from elementary on up. During Jana's senior year of high school, I began cutting some of them up in order to make a t-shirt quilt for her to take to college. My mom was planning to do the hand sewing, handing fun embroidery stitches, etc. However, her cancer recurred that year and it soon became clear that she was not strong enough to finish the project. So, the t-shirts went back into a box and most have sat there ever since.

This year, I decided to use a few shirts to make something, um, unusual? I took seven shirts that had not been cut (from each girl's stash) and pulled out the scissors.

After sewing them into a long strip, I used embroidery thread to add a few small decorative touches.

I stitched the long edges together and finished the open ends with a blanket stitch. I hand-stitched around the whole thing to add a little more punch. The finished scarves are definitely unique, but I think they're pretty cute and hope the girls find they add just the right warmth to go with their jeans. Here's Callie's:

And here's Jana's:

Handmade Holidays

Now that the ribbons have been untied and the boxes have been opened, I can share a couple of the other handmade items I made for gifts this year. After seeing Ashley's guest post over at Design Sponge, I knew I wanted to make something similar for each of the girls and myself. While they have both enjoyed journaling off and on over the years, I have always just wished I would journal. This seemed like a neat way to record a few thoughts without having to spend hours at a time.

I bought 5 x 7 ruled index cards and cut them down to 3 x 5 size because I wanted the lines to run horizontally across my cards. It was time-consuming to cut them down, but I really liked the size and they fit perfectly into the baskets I found at Hobby Lobby. (silly me---I only bought 2 baskets and then couldn't find them again when I went back, so I found a small decorative tine at Wal Mart for myself).

I used my date stamp to mark each card. They weren't perfect, but that's okay. Of course, there were some that I totally rejected---notice the day 39?!?!?!

After stamping all the cards, I lined them up in the basket n order. Ashley used vintage postcards as dividers, but I decided to use photos. I dug through my archives and found a few that I really liked and after having them printed, trimmed them down to 3" x 5.25" ( so that they would be slightly larger than the cards themselves).

I found an ink pen that I liked and tied it to the basket handle with my "divine twine". I don't know about you, but my pens always seem to disappear from where I need to use them. This way, at least the lid will be there (and hopefully the pen will be with it). The idea is to add one line each day---it can be an event or a thought or a wish---whatever. As Ashely said, "The first year is the least rewarding, but I imagine that in 10 years, it will be a daily treat to be reminded of what happened on that date over the last decade. "
Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Jordan and Callie came over this morning for breakfast and gifts. Beneath all the wrapping paper, there were lots of animal related gifts. . .

as well as Elvis (Dan's newest musical obsession). . .

and some outdoor gear for the backpackers! (sorry for the blur---my camera was on the wrong setting all morning :-(

Poor little Emmi was looking quite festive after being "wrapped up" by Jordan, but I'm not sure she appreciated the effort!

Dan and I joined Callie and Jordan's church in delivering meals to one of the local retirement homes.

It was cold and windy, but there was a great crowd of helpers and we had a good time!

Afterwards, we came back home to relax by the fire, watch a few movies and take a little nap.
I leave you with a little something to make you smile--Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Home For The Holidays

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays . . .

This morning, I headed down south to pick up my brother, Dan, for Christmas. This was the perfect opportunity to try out my newest "contraption"---a holder for my iPhone while it is charging. I used oilcloth to make it and was inspired by vlijtig's tutorial, although I made up my own pattern to suit my needs a bit better. My car has no place for the phone to sit when it is connected to the cable, and so far this worked really well. It also works well along with the speaker-phone setting for hands-free talking, since my car isn't equipped with blue-tooth.

The morning was pretty chilly, and as I started down I-49, I was struck by how beautiful the sky was.

Dan's group home was once again decorated for the holidays. Like Dan said, he is lucky---he has two homes. I'm so glad that he is feeling like my house is his home now. I hoped he would, but knew that it would be hard after Daddy's death for him to feel at home somewhere else.

Shortly after we got home, my sister-in-law Kathryn and niece, Laura came over. It's been a long time since I'd seen Kathryn and it was good to get to visit for a little while.

Emmi fell in love with Laura and vice versa, it seems!

After church this evening, Dan and I came home, had dinner and settled in for the night. Time to relax and enjoy being together!

Missing Jana and Rob, but glad that they're with family!!! :-)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Walk

Yesterday was the first day of Winter---it was 80 degrees here. Today, while cooler, is still very pleasant outside. After finishing my sewing projects, Emmi and I went for a walk. I took my camera along and as we walked around the neighborhood and then down to the duck pond, I took a few shots.

It seems that rather than a "silent night", this manger might be experiencing some sort of storm---"Hang on to that baby, Mary!".

A few other signs winter and the holidays:

It was so relaxing to walk and take our time, enjoying the beautiful weather and the time off from work. For the most part, the ducks all fled as we got close (I should have told them that Emmi would be much more scared of them than they were of her).

And then there were these geese---they weren't at all afraid of either of us. So we walked away before it became necessary to run.

I think we definitely need to make this more of a habit!

Christmas Making

Despite the lack of blog posts recently, I have been busy with a variety of Christmas projects. Some of my favorites I can't post yet because I wouldn't want to spoil any surprise gifts. But, here is the latest project that I can share with you. Last year, Dan "helped me" make fleece throws for the other residents at his group home. They were simple, with fringed edges, and Dan helped me cut the fringe on several of them. The guys really seemed to enjoy them and I often see them wrapped up watching TV when I visit.

Since each of the men shares a bedroom with another, and storage is at a premium, I wanted something that would not take up much room, be personal and kind of fun. This year, I came up with the idea of pillowcases.

Each is a different color and has the owner's name inside. Dan helped me pick a "theme" for each one and then I looked for fabric. I found that a bit harder than I'd first imagined, so I had to order some and then get kind of creative on others. Naturally, the Saints were a favorite for a couple of the guys, but there was also a Nascar fan, a Sponge Bob fan and several others. Dan is currently an "Elvis" fan, but I wasn't able to find any fabric for that and settled on the money motif instead (which also fits him quite well, since he LOVES to spend it!!). By the way, Emmi oversaw the entire process.

Using this basic pattern, the pillowcases were finished this morning and they turned out really great! Merry Christmas Rapides Group Home---hope the guys like them!

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