Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Into the Sun

The kingdom of darkness is never in more danger than when man looks around at his circumstances and sees little sign of God or His mercy, but trusts Him anyway.
C.S. Lewis

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment and email me after my last (dark) post. I am feeling a little better- I am still avoiding the news (for now, anyway). I am trying to get out of the house a little every day (I tend to be a loner and like being by myself, which isn't always good for me). And I am trying to make sure that I do something nice for someone else every day, just to make sure that I'm not always on my own mind. Mostly, I am spending more quiet time with God, praying and reading comforting words from my Bible. I really do appreciate all of the kind words and encouragement that you all so generously shared- that alone has shown that there is goodness and light in this world. So, thank you, thank you, thank you....

It is the cry of our hearts amidst the pain. I've thought about the thousands of times that it was the only word I was able to speak before God- Why? .... That one word enters the heavens and heads straight into the throne room thousands of times a day, I believe. But I believe also that those words hit merciful ears- Although He holds the future and sees the whole of eternity, He knows that we have limited ability to process His plans and His purposes. He knows that we get focused on our pain and not on Him. We forget that whatever the need is, whatever the need is, He will be the provision. Kathy Troccoli from Seven Celebrations for the Soul

Now I think we deserve to have a little fun... This is really amusing, I'm sure it will bring back a lot of memories to you all....
No matter how many times I see it, THIS CRACKS ME UP EVERY TIME!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dark to Light

Today it is cold and windy and rainy and dark- which is OK, because it fits my mood right now.

Lately, I have had this vague feeling of hopelessness, which last night seemed to have cemented itself to my being. I just cannot seem to shake this feeling that nothing really matters. I have not been able to watch or listen to the news for weeks. When a political ad comes on the TV, I change the channel. I cannot even enjoy my "refuge" of the FoodNetwork and HGTV, usually free of those kinds of ads, because there are political ads there, now, too. It seems there is no escape. And so now the answer is that I cannot have the TV on, or listen to the radio, or read the newspaper. My world is getting smaller and smaller. Everything just seems so depressing, and not just the politics. It seems that we have just lost our way, it seems harder and harder to find truth and goodness in our society. It seems that anything goes- as long as it makes you "happy" then it's OK to go ahead and do it. Nothing is sacred- not our words or promises, not our relationships or our bodies.

Usually I am able to use bad news as an opportunity for prayer- I used to be able to pray for issues and people as I heard about them or read about them. But lately, that is difficult for me. I feel like I have been swallowed up by a "why bother?" attitude- it seems that praying does no good. While I know God is here and I know deep within me that He cares and He is soveriegn and in control of every situation, there is a part of me here in the day-to-day that doubts. I want to run and hide, to immerse myself in my own world and not come out.

I know that the answer to this is to do exactly the opposite of what I feel like doing: the more I feel like hiding, the more I need to run to the light. The more I feel like secluding myself from the world, the more I need to get out and help others and be a part of the solution. I wonder if this isn't part of my problem- I can pray and pray and pray for situations, which is good and God wants me to do- but I also have to do what I can to be part of the solution. God calls me to be His hands and feet here on the earth, and I must admit that lately I have fallen miserably short on that calling. It really is a vicious cycle- I am selfish, so I am not part of the good in the world, so I do not see what is good, so I feel hopeless and helpless, so I figure "why bother?", and so I am more selfish......

I know that I have not been called to be Mother Teresa, to sell everything I own to live in poverty. But surely I have been called to more than just living in my own little world. Today I am dropping off a donation at the local food bank. And I am calling someone whose life I really don't feel like getting involved in, but I know needs a lot of support right now. And I am praying, praying for what seems to be the most hopeless situations, with faith that if I never see the answer, God has heard my prayers and has answered in ways I may never know.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Worry says, "God is a wimp." Casting says, "God is all powerful." J. Jay Sanders

The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

Love bore our sins away;
Love gave us life anew;
Love opened wide the gates of heaven;
Love gave us work to do.
Ruth A. Atwell

Today as my remedy, I won't run away from the pain but I run to God. I embrace His promises, even though sometimes those promises seem hard for me to believe. I choose the Light.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Free Apron Pattern

This is the project that I finished last week (only took a couple of hours, once I got the embroidery done). I think it is just so darn cute, I am putting the directions on my website. CLICK HERE for the directions.
I would have loved to have worn it while I was carving my pumpkin last week, but I didn't want to get it covered with pumpkin guts! You could do this with any of the free embroidery patterns on my website, or any of your favorites, or if you don't want to embroider it, you could leave the pocket plain or use any quilt block that you like. These will come together very quickly for gifts, make them for any season (or for all the seasons- I'm already planning on doing a Christmas version.)My daughter has the day off from school today, so she has been so kind as to break out all of the fall decorations that I have been meaning to put up for about a month now. I'm even going to get her to do some baking for me today (lucky for me, this is her favorite hobby.)
And I actually did cut into that gorgeous wool that arrived the other day.... Here is the project that I started:
I have so many hand-sewing projects started, I keep saying I won't start anymore, but I do love working with wool, it's so relaxing- no edges to turn under or prep like appliquing with cottons. It's always nice to have an assortment of projects to choose to work on in the evening- when I sit down to sew, I can decide whether to do cotton applique, wool applique, embroidery, needle punch embroidery. I know this probably sounds like rationalization for having so many projects started, but I think the variety actually helps me to complete more projects, since I don't get bored.
So how many projects do you have started, and what are YOUR rationalizations/excuses?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prettiest Pumpkin

This weekend was our county's annual Great Pumpkin Carve to benefit Meals on Wheels (an organization that delivers meals to the elderly and shutins.) I figured it would be fun to do- I did, however, underestimate how long it would take to carve a 150 lb. pumpkin. Or how much my back and arms would ache the next day.... I actually hadn't planned on doing it, but I found out the night before that they had some people back out and needed some additional carvers, so I signed on....

The inside of the pumpkin all has to be scraped away- there were buckets of pumpkin guts...
I started carving at 8 am, finished at about 3 pm (yeah, I know, 7 hours to carve a pumpkin- who knew?) There were people who were done way before me- the fact that I did the entire thing with an Xacto knife probably had something to do with it. If I do this next year, I will invest in some better tools...My typical themes- flowers, butterflies- most of the other pumpkins were more Halloween themed.

In the end, I managed to walk away with the prize for Prettiest Pumpkin (I think the last time I won something was a coloring contest in Kindergarten...)
My daughter and 2 of her friends did a pumpkin based on their favorite book....
There were hayrides and facepainting and lots of homemade pumpkin baked goods. But we couldn't leave without having some funnel cake...
Well, now, I have a big pile of beautiful wool calling my name. Happy Monday!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What's (Still) Going on in the Studio

I posted this photo last week, I thought I was pretty close to having this project done...
Well, I am still working on it. I managed to get this pieced border done, but it took me way longer than it should have (arghhh- I hate math!....) It took me 3 tries to figure out how many squares I needed- and it really shouldn't have because they're 1" blocks, so basically a 5th grader should be able to do the math. But that is just how it goes sometimes. Sometimes I breeze right through a project, and other times it just becomes a "work in progress"...

Since I usually design as I go when I am putting together a project, a lot of times I will work on it for a while and then set it aside and come back to it later. So it goes with this "work in progress," not sure what the next component of it will be, or maybe it is already done. I will have to live with it a while before I decide.

I did finish this embroidery, the pattern can be found on my Free Pattern Page. And I managed to make it up into a super cute project, just need to get it photographed, so I'll put that up as soon as I can. (And it only took me a few hours to put the project together, just breezed right through it, go figure.)

And look what I got in the mail yesterday! It was almost like Christmas, or maybe a visit from the *Wool Fairy*. I ordered 20 different quarter yard cuts Waterpail deSigns, and I was so excited and delighted when I opened the box. They are so pretty- can't wait to get started with these. Actually, it makes me happy to just sit and look at them... *sigh*. I almost hate to cut into them, but I can guarantee you that when I do cut into them, I will roll them back into neat little bundles so no one will be the wiser. Yes, I am a woman of simple tastes... (But believe me, that doesn't always necessarily translate into "cheap" or "inexpensive," ask my hubby...)

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Salute to Moms (aka Because I Said So, Because I'm the Mom)

This is very very funny, some of you may have seen it a year or so ago when it first came out. Let me say it again- VERY VERY FUNNY!!
It will take a few minutes to load- I suggest walking away from the screen for a few minutes while it loads, then watch the whole thing in its entirety.

See- I told you it was funny!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Working Weekend at the Beach

My parents have owned a beach house on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia for years, but Dad is tired of taking care of it and wanted to sell it. My husband and I just couldn't bear the thought of losing the place where our family has made so many wonderful memories over the years, so we recently purchased it (kind of scary with the economy the way it is right now). So now we get to carry another mortgage, but we also have a new place to redecorate (totally worth it!). We went down to the beach house for the long weekend to do some much needed redecorating. This is a "before" of the bedroom my husband and I usually stay in. Very small and dark.
There were a couple of layers of wallpaper that needed to be stripped. I mentioned that I kind of liked the "antique" look of the old wallpaper...
My husband refers to this look as "Early Parisienne Flophouse." Kind of takes the romance away, don't you think?
But we repainted and switched the beds to make a little more room. It is now so bright and cheery, everyone wants this to be their room.(By the way, I hate that the shades were uneven when this photo was taken....)
I started with the bedspread (from Target) and chose pink and green paint to match. Everyone thought my pink was too bright, but I knew it would look great. I painted a wicker chair ivory and started to repaint the dresser the same ivory, but I ran out of paint. Now the room just needs some art for the walls, and I need to finish repainting a dresser and it's done.
One bedroom down, 3 more to go (plus the living room.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's Going on in the Studio Today

I am working on finishing up this project- the hand applique is all done and I am working on borders, etc. Sometimes I design an entire quilt on paper before I start it, but more often than not, I have a general idea of what I want to do and design it as I go. Originally, this particular design was just going to be a wall hanging, but then I decided to make the appliqued portion the center of a larger project.

I love the fabrics in this project- I know, I know- I say that for all of my projects!!! For me, color is always the starting point and most important part of any creative endeavor- whether it's a quilt, a painting, or a room that I am decorating.

Of all God's gifts to the sighted man, color is holiest, the most divine, the most solemn.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm "It"

Suzanne at Pear Tree Primitives has tagged me- problem is- all the answers are supposed to be only one word! Yikes! OK I will warn you, I have NEVER been good at following directions. So we'll just see how this goes...

1) Where is your cell phone? Purse

2) Where is your significant other? Sofa

3) Your hair color? Brown

4) Your mother? Fun

5) Your father? Generous

6) Your favorite thing? Chocolate, Music, Art, Laughing with my family....

7) Your dream last night? I was a hostage in a bank robbery- it's OK, I escaped and called the police...

8) Your dream/goal? Feeding kids (OK, let me explain that one, since it seems I have spent my life feeding my kids, my husband, my pets- what I would really love to do some day is travel to Africa or Asia and just scoop porridge and put it into their bowls. Really, I would love to do that.)

9) The room you're in? Family

10) Your hobby? Many

11) Your fear? Time (too much or too little)

12)Where do you want to be in 6 years? #8

13) Where were you last night? Home

14) What you're not? Skinny (see first part of #6)

15) One of your wish-list items? White LaCreuset Dutch Oven

16) Where you grew up? Jersey

17) The last thing you did? Email

18) What are you wearing? Cargo pants, Tshirt

19) Your TV? "Heroes"

20) Your pet? Demanding

21) Your computer? Friend/enemy

22) Your mood? Tired

23) Missing someone? Sam

24) Your car? Dirty

25) Something you're not wearing? Snowshoes

26) Favorite store? Quilt

27) Your summer? Relaxing

28) Someone you love? God/Family

29) Your favorite color? All

30) The last time you laughed? Today

31) Last time you cried? Don't remember (I don't cry much...)

I think I did pretty good with my one-word answers, even though I have this desire to go back and give an explanation for a lot of them, but I will resist.

Now it is my turn to tag someone- Kate and Brenda, - You're IT!

The Camp Out

Friday night we had our big family camp out. We borrowed some big tents and set them up in the back yard, and put up some twinkly lights.....We also projected movies onto the barn wall, and made shadow puppets- that was fun!
We sat around the campfire and roasted hot dogs and made s'mores. We also had chili, hot mulled cider and hot cocoa. (These are required supplies at a camp out.)
And there was birthday cake...
What there was NOT a lot of was sleeping. "I'm cold!" "I can't sleep!" "Whose idea was this?" "I have to go to the bathroom!" "Who is snoring?" And then it started to RAIN..... It was a VERY long night.....
But it was still fun.

The next morning we were some tired campers (in the photo you see my kids and my brother's dog Milo and my sister's dog George- they got to camp out, too!) My daughter came home from college for the night and brought her roommate. It was nice to get to know her, I wonder if she maybe got to know our family a little too well??!!
We had an absolutely beautiful day on Saturday.I went to bed at 8:00 on Saturday night, and then I went to bed at 8:00 AGAIN on Sunday night. I think I am almost caught up on sleep now.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

Hey everybody, guess what- Erika at My Strawberry Patch nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award- how nice of her!

Now I am supposed to nominate some blogs that I like- which is so hard because there are so many truly beautiful and inspiring ones out there. Trying to keep up with all of them has become kind of like a second job for me, I know many of you feel the same way. I feel like I can't possibly visit all the ones that I like as often as I'd like.

One of the really great things that I have found through blogging is that there are so many creative people out there, kindred spirits, who I never would have known about if it weren't for blogging. I tend to be kind of a solitary person, I enjoy the peace and quiet of my studio and I try to avoiding just going even to the grocery store and post office as much as possible. I have even tried an artists' guild or two, but ultimately I am just a homebody, I guess. A big wide world of art and creativity has been opened to me- yippee!

So anyway, back to the award nominations.... I have found so many great blogs of late that this is really hard... But here are 5 (in no particular order) that I find myself frequenting quite often...

1. Suzanne at Painter of the Past

2. Lana at Honeysuckle Lane

3. Valerie at Life's Little Garden and Cooking with Val (I know that's 2 blogs but I'm just counting it as one :D)

4. Robin at The Robin's Nest

5. Sandi at A Legacy of Stitches

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

On the Menu

This is what I made last Friday when Sam was home from college and desperately wanted some home cooking. I call it Italian Vegetable Casserole Rustica, and it has pasta, all kinds of vegetables and tons of cheese- so it really can't be anything but yummy! I chopped and cooked all the vegetables the night before, then assembled it and baked it on Friday. This is comfort food, folks! You can CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE.

On the menu tonight is just some chicken that I threw in the crock pot with some onions and a jar of Trader Joe's Mole Sauce, which is a Mexican sauce that actually contains chocolate- sounds weird, I know, but it's delicious! If you go to an authentic Mexican restaurant and they have it on the menu, give it a try! Now, I have not tried the Trader Joe's brand of mole yet so we'll see how it comes out. My favorite brand is Dona Maria which is a little difficult to find, I have found it in grocery stores that cater to a Latino clientele- this is much more authentic than the Trader Joe's brand. I love Mexican food and will eat it any day of the week....

Tomorrow night we are having a camp out in our back yard for my nephew's 8th birthday. We will have a camp fire and project movies onto the barn wall and eat chili and s'mores and sleep in tents. Sounds like fun- except for the sleeping outside part- I may just sneak inside and sleep in my own bed, since this girl's idea of roughing it is staying at Motel 6 instead of the Holiday Inn.....


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