Monday, October 31, 2011

Secret Santa Soiree - UPDATES

Sign-ups for the Secret Santa Soiree ends tonight....We have 62 secret Santa participants as of this morning. I am excited...this is going to be a lot of fun!!

I still have a few swappers who have not emailed me. Please check your emails and spam folders. I have emailed everyone who has signed up, so if you have not received an email from me, check your spam folder. If I could not locate your email address, I have left messages under comments on your blogs.

ALL participants who have not received the questionnaire or have not emailed me their mailing address needs to contact me today. If you are one of the ones who have not contacted me and have not answered my email, I will have no choice but to delete your link from the list. The cut off was the 30th but I am giving one extra day. We have a lot of participants and I need to start working on swapping partners. I don't want to have to do that so PLEASE contact me today!! In order for me to meet the deadlines I have imposed on myself, I need the information to me by the deadline today.

If you have emailed me and I have forwarded you the questionnaire, please get that back to me completed by tomorrow or the earliest.....I need that information asap.

I am really excited about hosting this this year. We have lots of great participants and now would be a good time to start visiting a few who might be new to you!! I hope we all meet lots of new friends during this upcoming holiday season!!

Don't forget...check your emails, check your spam folders...but most importantly, I need to hear from you today....if you have already received all the questionnaire from me and have sent the information back to me
....well, then you are set!!!

I'll do my best to get the work on my end done quickly and get your secret Santa partner to you as soon as possible...but for sure by the 10th of November!!

Thanks everyone.......Have a great day!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Simple Sunday: Shadow

Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.
~ Dale E. Turner

I am linked in today with Shadow Shot Sunday. Amazing photographs inspired by shadows. Go ahead. Take a peak!! Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One Fine Blessing: Senior Birthday List for November

It is already time to update for the November Birthday list for Seniors. I just sent emails to those on the mailing list, but for those who might still like to participate, here is the list here! Wow....October is almost gone......time for the busy part of our year!! November and December. This month we have three Birthdays!

For myself, I am going to address these all at once and then keep them in eye sight for the remainder of the month with a note on when to mail! Same for December! I'd hate to forget once I get in the throws of the holidays! Something to think about!

The first Birthday for November is:

Nellie ~ She will be 85 on her birthday. Nellie's daughter wrote: "my mom still cares for my 60 year old mentally handicapped sister and I know she would be blown away with some cards"

will be 85 on November 4

Nellie Snavely
599 Pleasant Valley Dr.
West Plains, MO. 65775

Next we have:

Joan ~ Joan has been widowed for many years; she is always cheerful and giving of her time to her friends and to many church causes. She is on very limited income where each extra dollar is a real gift to her. She loves going to the movies and will go at matinees because they are cheaper.

Joan's Birthday is on November 24

UNION CITY CA 94587-5302

Next we have:

Maurice lost his wife a year ago. They had been married over 50 years, so he has had a rough time this past year trying to adjust to a different way of life.
He took care of my sister the year she was sick, always by her side.. He was a farmer and still goes to help on a friend's farm for 5 hours a day, I think that has helped him to get through the year. He is good health and tries to keep busy. I think getting these birthday cards will bring some cheer into his life.

He will be 79 on November 27.

Maurice Boyer
Box 42
Libertytown, MD 21762

Thank you so much to those that are able to participate! I'll have a small update on the 5th of November for the October participants who sent cards and anyone who would like to be inspired to spread a little joy when ever possible. And as always, I would like to invite you to email me any senior you'd like to add to the birthday list! It will be January before you know it!!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!! I am so glad the weather has finally cooled off here.....gonna be cheering on our Texas Rangers tonight....after last nights game.....I just hope I can stand it!!!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vintage Thingie Thursday: Vintage Shakers - A Special Gift

Welcome everyone to Vintage Thingies Thursday. If you have a love for vintage things, have come to the right place. We have a "dog-gone" good time each and every week!!! If you are new to this party, please take the time to read and follow the instructions for participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday, click HERE. I try and keep things fairly simple, so  please make sure you follow the instructions. 
Please only ONE link per week. 

It is always fun to get a surprise in the mail. That happened this very week when I received a package from a blogging friend.  Can you just imagine how thrilled I was when I opened the box??? Believe me.....I was!!

This special gift came in the original box which I just loved!! My friend Danica over at Happy Girl said these were her grandmothers and she always thought about me when she saw them sitting on a shelf.

She said she knew I'd love them and appreciate them. And I Oh, So Do!!!  Look at the delicate pattern. I was touched beyond words that Danica thought that these would have a lovely home in my house. They are a real treasure.

Here is the stamp on the bottom of one of the shakers. These don't look to have ever been used. Very special gift from a very special friend. I found this information on the shakers on line:

GOLDEN RHAPSODY by KAYSONS GRAY & GOLD LEAVES, COUPE SHAPE, GOLD TRIM. This popular, vintage pattern of Japanese imported fine china is circa 1961 and is no longer being made. The delicate pattern and porcelain of the china makes it very elegant, yet heavy enough to be serviceable for daily use.

These very quickly found a home in my china cabinet among all the other delicate china pieces I so treasure. They will be well loved here at my house, and Danica if you ever find that there is a point in  your life you'd like to have your grandmothers shakers know where to find them.

I really think they look like they have belonged among my other treasures all along. The patterns I have in this china cabinet are all a little different, but all very delicate in nature.   I love these little shakers and treasure the sweet friend who thought enough of me to send them my way! Totally made my week sweet girl!!

Hope you all have a very happy Vintage Thingie Thursday!!

Don't forget.....last few days to sign up for the Secret Santa Swap is HERE .......signups end on the 30th!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Quilt From The Heart ~ Choose Joy

Jo suggested I link in with my quilt over at Quilt Story blog today, and I decided to do that. With the theme of a quilt having a story, I think it will be a good addition and fun. Thank you Jo for the suggestion.

I have finished my quilt from Jo's Crumb Along Quilt Along challenge. This post is the finished quilt and the story that goes along with this quilt. This post may be a little long, but the story is going to be told here more for myself than any other.
(all photos are click-able to enlarge)

I found Jo's blog about the quilt along and decided to try this "crumb" process of piecing. I had never done this type of piecing but I had lots of scraps that I could use up. So, I signed up and gathered up my scraps. Now, the scraps I used for this quilt are the scraps left over from my begging quilt project. What is wonderfully special about these scraps is the fact that they were sent to me by bloggers from all over the world. Bloggers are a special group of people, and the generosity from these wonderful people is always overwhelming. The story really started here....the fabric bits from friends connected by the internet sent to a fellow blogger for a project. Fabric bits and kind hearts united for a cause.

Once Jo posted the first instructions, I made those first blocks fairly simple. The next day, I got started and I finished in one morning and waited until the next week for further instructions. The very afternoon I finished these first blocks, word was sent via a new blog post that my sweet friend, Sara was indeed making her final journey home to heaven. Shock, Grief, Disbelief, Despair were emotions that flooded my heart and mind. Some of you may know Sara from her blog Gitzen Girl. We met in 2008 shortly after we both started blogging. We connected and became fast online friends. She has always been like a daughter to me, or maybe a younger sister, but most importantly we were heart friends from the start, the kind that knows no beginning or end. Sara has always been sick from the time I have known her, in fact house bound due to her health issues. This year has been hard on her, but even knowing all of that, one is never prepared to say goodbye or even wish to think about doing so.

The next few days were like a blur. I sat my sewing down and walked out the sewing room fixated on the computer and updates on Sara. Praying. Crying. In disbelief that this was happening and I was miles away from where I wanted to be....with my friend whom I had never met face to face but only heart to heart and her family. Time had run out.....we would never met this side of heaven.

The next week, things were still much the same, and the new instructions were posted on Jo's blog. So I did what I knew to do. Sit and sew, and sew and sew.....all the while praying with each stitch for my friend and her family and many friends. That was the running theme with this entire quilt. Prayers for my friend, and then for her family and friends grieving after she was gone. It became clear to me along the way that this quilt was not one I would be keeping for myself. I was led to finish this quilt  for my sweet friend, Sara's mom. So, I will be mailing this to her when I have it quilted.

One of the key elements in this quilt is the lettering. I had decided at the start I was not going to do letters as Jo had done on her quilt. I had never done them, and did not know how. Somewhere along the way, that went by the wayside, and I was able to create Sara's catch phrase for living...."choose joy"......and that became the focus for the borders. In choosing joy, which I really did not feel like doing, but out of my heart of hearts knew that is what Sara would want, the letters formed rather easily out of scraps. I also choose to border the words with all heart blocks instead of the stars Jo had chosen for hers, as for me the hearts represent all the hearts touched so fiercely by this special friend.

Another touch that I knew I needed to add was a block dedicated to her dog.....Riley. Sara loved Riley and he was always so much a part of her post on her blog. This block took me more hours than I care to admit, but I had to have him in this quilt......Riley is so special and he deserved a special place in this "Choose Joy" quilt because he did bring so much joy to Sara and all of us who shared that joy with her.

 This is the real Riley ~ The Riley lookalike Block
I am pleased with the results, mainly because I had no idea how I was going to do it in the first place, I just knew I needed to figure it out! All little pieces put together in hopes of looking like the real pup. I think Sara would have been so pleased.

The finished construction of this quilt represents for me, an idea of what bloggers mean to each other. Each different, but all have an impact just the same. Some play a big part, others a small piece in each of our lives, but they are all connected with a common thread. Friendship. From the fabrics sent, to the finished pieced quilt, it was a labor of love from start to finish.

I have mentioned before that quilts have a story. Sometimes, the story is what inspired the quilt in the first place. It is in the story that the idea came together and gave the quilt a direction when there was none. I had no idea how this quilt would come together or that the journey would have been such a bittersweet one, but I am so thankful to Jo for the opportunity of the quilt along. It happened just at the time it was meant to take place. It was therapy for a breaking heart and hopefully will be a light of joy for its new owner. I hope when Sara's mom gets this quilt she feels the love and prayers that come with it and it will be something she knows was made from the heart out of much love.

****Sara lived her life by making the decision to Choose Joy in everything and every day. No matter her circumstances she trusted in God and all he was for her. If you have not visited her blog, Gitzen Girl, take some time to do so. I know you will be inspired, encouraged, and enlightened to Choose Joy in all things too.....or at least aspire to do so. I was so blessed to have been able to share a small part of Sara's life and she will always be my forever heart friend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Secret Santa Soiree Update: Final Week for Adding Your Name To Santa's List

I want to remind everyone who has maybe been thinking about signing up to do so this week. The cutoff date is October 30th....and that is just around the corner. If you have not done a blog post...please consider it and help get the word out in blogland!! This is always a fun thing during the month of December. I know the sign up is early, but you don't want to be wishing in December you would have signed up in October!!! Hurry over to THIS post and sign up and link in! You will also find the 411 information about the swap.

Also, I have about 8 bloggers who signed up and have not sent me an email with their mailing address. Please do so as soon as you can. I need that information before I can start assigning partners. If you are not sure if you sent it, please email me. One clue that I might not have gotten the email is if you never received the questionnaire to fill out, as that was my reply to your email.

Thank you all who have blogged about the swap, sent in all your information early, and are waiting patiently for your swap partner assignment! Don't fret....the fun is going to be starting right away!!

I'd like to remind you if you have not visited the blogs who have linked in to participate, it might be a good time to start. You never know who you might have for a partner, and what a great way to start getting acquainted with the participants and find some new blogs that might be of interest!!

Thanks again, for helping me get the word out this last week of sign ups!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Simple Sunday: live life to the limit

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
~Pope Paul VI

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Like Big Quilts And I Can Not Lie......

Oh, yes....I do. If there was any doubt, let me remind you that my very first quilt was turned from a full size into a king size just like that. After all, bigger is always better in my book.  I always seem to make large quilts. I have never made a twin size unless it was on purpose and that has only happened once. Lap quilts are not even in my thought process and I have only made two wall hangings and I gave them both away as gifts.

With that being said, I have to admit when I sewed the body of my latest quilt from the crumb along together, I thought....."What happened?"

All the blocks were trimmed to 6 inches. There are eight rows up and down, and seven across. Honestly, I have had this on my design wall all along, and for some reason, the thought never occurred to me that this was going to be small...em.....really small compared to what I am used to working with. This is the photo of all the blocks sewn together.....still up on the design wall. I had to check myself because I was sure something was off due to its size. But I finally just decided to just go with it, it was OK that it was not a gigantic quilt....smaller would be fine.....and it really is not small compared to some I have seen.

Here it is with the inner border added. The Green fabric was my starting constant fabric or focal fabric as Jo suggested. I spent the largest part of the day making an additional crumb border to sew on the outside of this green one. I kid you not. All day.......

My thought was to add the crumb border, then another green border, then the larger 6 inch outer border to finish it up. I don't know what I was thinking. After all of that additional sewing, I decided this quilt did not need that crumb border added nor did it need the additional green border. It will be fine as it is.

I need to work on finishing the outer border and getting it all put together. I may wait until next week, because Jo is so good at giving little tips and tricks for making it all come together.  This is a bright one to say the least. But I think I am really liking it and once the large crumb border is added, I think it will be really a neat quilt. I have even learned to embrace working with a smaller than usual pile of fabrics. I may just be finished with the larger than life quilts for a while......maybe!

You may notice the little block in the lower right hand corner. That is a crumb puppy block. It took me so long to get it the way I thought it needed to be that I am too ashamed to tell you long it took. Just know, I will tell you about it once the quilt is finished.

Quilts tell a story and they speak to the artist who is bringing it to life. Especially true for me with this one. Only, I had no idea what was in store  when I signed up for this crumb along or where it would find a home once it is finished. The scraps, the blocks, the story all came together for a quilt with a purpose. This is one like none other I am sure I will ever make. Thank you Jo for the opportunity and the challenge. There was a bigger purpose planned all from the beginning.

If you'd like to see some of the other participants, be sure to stop by Jo's Blog,  Jo's Country Junction and take a look around. Look back on the crumb post and think about trying this process out yourself. It is amazing how different each and every quilt is going to look, all using the same technique. Have a great weekend....happy sewing!

Five Minute Friday: Beyond..........

Today I'm linking up to Lisa-Jo aka the gypsy mama, who chooses a topic every Friday and writes for five minutes. 

Only five minutes

And the rule is that whatever you write about in that five minutes is what you posts. No editing your thoughts. Today, her topic choice is "Beyond....."

Ready. Set. Go......

Comfort comes in routines or things that become habit. It is a place where one has decided that it is a safe place to be. There are no limits in this comfy place, no restraints, no unpleasant feelings. Consequently in this very comfortable place is also where one can become by choice, unaware of the destruction on the horizon. It is easy to live with your head in the sand so to speak. It is where decisions become hard to make and motivation to do so seem to have disappeared. It is where one might find themselves on the road to giving up and accepting instead of looking beyond what could be and what that would feel like.

I find myself at that very place today. I have been comfortable. I have ignored what I need to do to make a change. Not because I don't want to make that change. It is because it has become hard to look beyond the unpleasant feelings and struggles I will face to get to where I know I need to be. It is the shame that comes from  allowing myself all the comfort which has me in this situation in the first place.

It is hard to look beyond all of that mess and know that it is paramount to do something. Anything to jump start that motivation to move away from the comfort zone. It is overwhelming. It is a little depressing. It can be exhausting to think about. It is where excuse after excuse comes to mind as to why this has become so difficult. It is where looking beyond all the uncomfortable must happen and action must take place.

So today, as I type this and time is running out. Beyond is where I need to find myself. Beyond the comfort. Beyond the easy. Beyond the fear. It is time to visualize beyond the looming struggles is a place I'd much rather be and know I must put forth a great effort to be there. It is time to create a game plan, a force of action. It is time to visualize myself in that place....Beyond.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vintage Thingie Thursday: Vintage Molcajete

Welcome everyone to Vintage Thingies Thursday. If you have a love for vintage things, have come to the right place. We have a "dog-gone" good time each and every week!!! If you are new to this party, please take the time to read and follow the instructions for participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday, click HERE. I try and keep things fairly simple, so  please make sure you follow the instructions. 
Please only ONE link per week. 

This week, I'd like to show you one of my most prized vintage pieces. I would estimate this to be about 55 years old.
This is a vintage Molcajete ( mo-ca-heck-te ) which belonged to my grandmother. I spent many hours in my life time watching her grind up peppers, spices and garlic to add to mexican food with this tool. Funny, thing is, she did not call it by its proper name. She called it a piano. Don't know why. But sure wish I knew why she called it that. But that is what I have always known it as.

I love it as it evokes fond memories of my wonderful grandma who was the best cook I have ever known. Lots of wonderful dishes were prepared but only with the help of this tool.

It is very simple to work. Just add peppers, or spices. It works great for grinding whole cumin seeds and grinds them very fine.
Very little effort is used, and soon you have great results.

See, finely crushed red peppers. These were used in some salsa that is served with eggs for Breakfast. I'll have to post that recipe soon. Nothing particularly fancy or pretty about this one...but special it is.

I am sure this is not a rare thing in many households. But it is a treasure and a wonderful memory in mine!! What about you? Do you have any kitchen tools that hold fond memories for you too?? Have a great Vintage Thingie Thursday!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Follies of Fall.......

It seems like the work around our house never stalls to where we can enjoy just a lazy afternoon. Something is always going on whether it be beast or human, no peace.  The past week, the squirrels have been busy as can be.

The trees are full of acorns, and they are falling fast. Some days, not fast enough and these guys are hanging in the branches of the trees plucking acorns off the limbs as fast as they can.

There were lots of pairs of eyes on these guys the other day. Some, shall we say dogs, were not too happy about the critters invading the back yard.....after all, they appeared to be finding SOMETHING to eat out there and well.....that is not going to set well with a couple of dachshunds around here.

He finally noticed he was being watched, and decided to crouch down in the grass so that maybe he would not be seen. That did not last long.....

........and off he went to the safe space in the yard. The large tree where I keep the feeder was in easy reach if he felt his safety was being compromised.  Seriously, can't a guy have a afternoon snack in peace???

Evidently not...there was lots of wailing from the back sliding glass door. Dora shook like a leaf on a tree, crouching down...ready to spring into action as soon as I let the doggie door up. We don't want any varmints in our that???? Dora, wants to hunt. Sophie on the other hand wants to eat, and she says,  If there are snacks out there, they are for us....or um....ME........

.....and speaking of snacks....Sophie sure does not want to share these days, you would think she was on a mission for packing on a few pounds for the winter ahead. She was not interested in sending the squirrels up the tree or out of the yard for the thrill of the hunt....Oh, No.....she wanted to see what in the world they were eating and find it for herself......

She sniffed....and sniffed some more.....she KNEW this is where they were enjoying a treat of some kind, and knew she wanted some too........

she then started to dig....and scoot the dirt around....still looking for any sign of a left morsel of something. She spent a good 15 minutes forging around that tree....Finally, she did what I had expected her to do all along.....

She looked up and gave that look.....the look of stay out of my yard, there are no treats here and if they are, they belong to me.....she was funny, in the fact she was sure there was something there for her and she could not find it.....she was not happy with the situation and soon decided it was time for their afternoon nap, since the crisis was taken care of......for the moment.

and for this one....well, he heard "Afternoon nap" and was back in a flash....he paused long enough as if to ask how long I predicted the afternoon nap would last........I'd had better tread lightly and make quick work.....dachshunds have great instincts....and Dora would rather hunt then sleep!!

See what I supposed to be nap time, she is pretending to rest...with that crazed look in her eyes......and  keeps one ear up just to make sure she hears any slight sound of movement or acorns cracking......then the cycle continues.....starting with the wailing at the back door! Did I mention how much I love fall afternoons???It's never a dull moment.

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