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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gifts for the Girlfriends

By the time you are reading this, I will be on the road with my "flea market friends", heading towards Round Top. One of our traditions is bringing a little gift for each person. Over the years, we've fallen into different roles in that regard--Pam and Sandy get us a shirt, Pam W brings us some "bling" accompanied by a toothbrush or something similar (she's a dental hygienist) and I bring something made of oilcloth. Given the current state of my hand, I waited until the very last minute to decide what I was going to make, then got them sewn up last night.

Using leftover scraps of oilcloth, I covered tiny composition notebooks, making a loop to hold a miniature pen. Over the years, I've learned that scotch tape is a great way to hold things in place on oilcloth while I sew. (I also discovered it is a bit challenging to pull off using just my left hand)

And here they are completed.

On a completely different note: After breaking my favorite sunglasses back in the fall---the ones I bought at Canton that have a reading bi-focal at the bottom---I knew I needed some new ones prior to this trip. I've been unable to find any locally, but after doing a quick search online, I found Reading Glasses Shopper. I ordered two pairs--the Brandi Bi-Focal and the Omni Bi-Focal. The prices were good and the shipping very reasonable and fast. I ordered on Thursday and received them on Monday!! I especially love the Brandi glasses--the transition between the bifocal and the other part of the lens is much easier for my eyes. The Omni lenses are much darker (and possibly better for your eyes in that regard), but I really had to concentrate on focusing more as I switch between the two areas, so I think I'll take the Brandi's with me this weekend.

A new pair of glasses calls for a new case. This morning, I used a few more scraps of oilcloth and a little scrap of white knit fabric for the lining and whipped up this up.

It's perfect---I think I'm ready to go now! There will be more to report when I get back. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather.
Monday, March 26, 2012

My Ballerina

Today was officially the first day of my spring break! Hooray! Despite that, however, I woke up bright and early to get Emmi to her appointment at the groomer. After a day full of all those errands that are impossible to run during a regular work week, I finally arrived home tonight. As I got the mail out of the mailbox, brought the trashcan in from the street and put the key in the door, Emmi was going crazy, clawing at the door and barking her head off. I was getting really frustrated with her and as I worked to get the door open, I was prepared to fuss at her. However, my frustration quickly gave way to laughter as I watched her twirl around in excitement with a bow in her hair (that she was totally oblivious to).

Sparkle tulle, no less!

I mean, really. . . who can be mad at this face?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cue the Music . . .

Cue the music,
Drum roll please . . . .
I present:
Grancy Greybeard!

Every Spring it happens and it always makes me smile. Just as the days are getting warmer and the azaleas begin to fade, the little tree in my front yard dons it's fanciest clothes.

Quite a few years ago, I was gifted this tree, when it was little more than a twig as a thank you for some sewing I'd done for a friend. I had never heard of a Grancy Greybeard tree and had no idea what I was in store for, but planted it in the front yard, near the street. I'm so glad that's the spot I picked! It's a favorite spot for mockingbirds when the branches are bare, but when Spring arrives , it seems that it is magically transformed overnight into a lacy wonder.

(this photo was taken just a little over a week ago)

And now:

Several of my older neighbors are familiar with the species and almost always stop by to comment on her lacy attire. While rarely used in landscapes around here now, apparently, the Grancy Greybeard is frequently found in Southern forests. The root & bark of this small, ornamental tree were even used by the native Americans to treat skin inflammation.

While I certainly have never tried that, I can attest to its medicinal powers in bringing joy to my heart and a smile to my face.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Inspiration

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rain Drops Keep Falling

It has been raining off and on for several days around here. As I returned home from church this morning, there was a lull in the showers that gave me a chance to notice the rain drops on the flowers that are beginning to bloom. I have begun participating in a photography class online and this was a good chance to put some of my newly acquired information into practice.

ShootFlyShoot is a new project of Kevin Palmer (of The Lettered Cottage) and Josh Moates, his friend and fellow photographer. Their first class, Photography 101 , is now up and running and I joined up. The class is aimed at beginners who are hoping to learn to operate their DSLR cameras in manual mode. It is very reasonably priced and consists of a set of videos that you can watch at your leisure. I like being able to watch, practice, and then watch some more or review the sections that I need more instruction in.

Anyway, I've now watched several of the lessons and I want to take some time to practice before moving on. I certainly don't have it all figured out yet, but with each lesson I watch, it begins making more and more sense. You might remember these photos of camellias that I took a couple of weeks ago. They were fine, but I did use Photoshop to adjust them--make them sharper, brighter, etc. Here's one I took today---straight out of the camera, with no adjustments.

Here they are side by side---different flowers on the same bush, but the lighting conditions were very similar:

And here is another picture of the same blossom:

One of my favorite azaleas, my Peppermint Azalea, also has a few blooms on it:

And then, just because camera practice for me just doesn't seem complete without a bird photo:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shampoo and Such

So why am I so excited about these products?

Instead of washing my hair as I have for the last 3 weeks:

I got to take a real shower this morning!!!!! Hooray!

At therapy yesterday, I was able to begin trying to bend my thumb. Who knew something I have taken for granted would be so very difficult! I also learned that I had misunderstood Kim when she told me my thumb had to be immobilized for 3 weeks-I thought that after that I would be getting the splint off. Nope, another 3 weeks in the splint--but I am able to remove it for a shower and to do exercises. So, right now I am thankful for that small luxury!
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Dog's Life

Sometimes I wonder what Emmi does at home all day while I'm gone to work.

Mostly I think she just lays around in her bed. But once I get home, she springs into action. Like many dogs, she seems to feel that her calling in life is to be my protector. Emmi only weighs 8 pounds, so I guess it makes sense that she is the most vigilant about the smallest intruders. So far, she has succeeded in keeping most birds away from the bird feeders. While the birds have been busy in the neighbors' yards, very few come into my yard. They generally make themselves busy flitting from tree to tree and Emmi gives up on them fairly quickly.

Squirrels, on the other hand, are a completely different story. You can almost see the wheels turning in their little heads as they plot their strategy to get from one side of the yard to the tree in the yard behind us without Emmi catching them.
Never mind that they are balancing on a wire high over Emmi's head.

She barks like crazy as they dash across the wire, running along the fence line, and doesn't stop until she is sure that she has secured the area.

Ahhhh! Safe at last!!

Despite the fact that she's never caught a squirrel--or even a bird, for that matter--the routine never seems to get old. She repeats it over and over and seems quite satisfied with herself once the squirrel has disappeared from sight.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Birthday Boy

Dan turned 55 this week! Amazing! Callie and I drove down to see him yesterday. As soon as we turned the corner onto his street, we could see several of the guys jump up from their seats on the front porch to run inside and get Dan. We drove back to Alexandria to have lunch at Chili's before making a stop at Wal Mart (a necessity with Dan).

He was thrilled with the movies, cokes and CD's he received and was anxiously awaiting one more package in the mail.

While at Chili's, we ran into a childhood friend of ours from church and I saw a friend I used to teach with! When I'm out of town, I don't expect to run into people I know--what a small world!
(notice the "game day" shirt Callie has on--go Tar Heels)

Happy Birthday, big brother!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Welcome March!

Welcome March! While we are sure to get at least one more cold snap, it has felt like spring for weeks now. In honor of the new, warmer weather, I decided to do a little "spring cleaning" on my blog, too---new background, new header, etc. You can probably tell that I was inspired by the colors used in my last post (they've always been some of my favorites). It seems that the recent storms throughout the mid west are proving that March does indeed arrive like a lion. As our hearts are heavy for those dealing with such devastation, I can only hope that March goes out like a lamb.

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