God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Morning

"...Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

Sometimes I feel a little sad when I think of friends who just a short time ago were very close to me but now I rarely if ever (in most cases never) hear from them.  

I've heard it said that people come into your life for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime.  In my 57 years upon this earth I have definitely seen this happen in my own life many, many times.
  
When someone is in your life for a reason, they are usually there to meet some sort of need that you have.  You might be going through an experience that this same person has successfully gone through & they are brought into your life to show you the way through it.  You might just need a sympathetic ear to listen to you talk about a disappointment you are dealing with & this person is brought into your life to do just that.  You may be searching for the meaning in something going on in your life & this person is brought into your life to help you find it.   Perhaps you are searching for some kind of answer & God sends this person into your life to give it to you.  These people appear in your life as if they are a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.  They listen to you, they help you, they are there for you ... & then suddenly they are gone.  You can't quite put your finger on what happened but what happened is this ... they have completed their job.  They were there for you when you needed them & now they are no longer needed.  They have gone on to help someone else.  Sometimes it hurts to lose them but they have been, in effect, an angel that God has sent your way to help you along the path of life.  If you look back over the years you might even see where God has used you in this same way.  He has brought you into someone else's life for just a very short time ... just for a particular reason ... & then He drew you down another path.     

Then there are the people who come into your life for a season.  I must admit that these people are difficult for me to understand.  I have (had) one friend in particular who I think fits in this category.  We met & clicked immediately.  We had many things in common, laughed together until our stomachs hurt, exchanged lengthy emails every day & called each other on the phone.  Then suddenly some things occurred in her life that really shouldn't have gotten in the way of our friendship but it seems as though they did.  First my emails weren't answered for days ... then weeks.  Then I'd get an email from her asking how I've been doing & explaining that she has been oh-so busy with various things ... yet she would often post on Facebook that she was having a "boring day," that she had "nothing to do," etc.  When I would answer her email to tell her how I've been doing, I wouldn't hear from her again for several weeks.  This was really hurting me for a while but then I realized she was apparently in my life just for a season.  When I look back in my life I can see other people who were also just "seasonal friends."  They were all a special part of my life but they are gone & when I realized they were gone it was very painful.  I wonder about them from time to time ... what has happened in their lives.  I hope they are all doing well.  

Then there are the people who are in your life for a lifetime.  There people perhaps baffle me most of all.  I am a pretty good person but I have gone through some things in my life that have caused me to be at one time or another rather ... oh goodness, what word shall I use ... "difficult?"  I've had some pretty lousy things happen to me in the past which have pushed me into such deep depression that I just could not see the good in anything.  Some of my poor friends just couldn't take dealing with me anymore & ran quickly away from me during those times & I can't say I blame them.  However, I have friends who were always there for me & still are.  They listened to me complain & moan & cry & ramble on & on ... talking nonsense really because I couldn't see things clearly.  Things I suppose I needed to do in order to get through the hellishness of those times.  There were occasions during these times when I was not even very nice to these people ... but they are still here!  They stood by me & loved me & did what they could to help me even though they may have been having problems in their own lives.  Oh how I treasure them!  They are priceless! 

I suppose when all is said & done every friend who comes into our life is precious in some way be they there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  Still, it always hurts when you lose a friend.  This is why I chose the quote I chose today.  God tells us He will never leave us or forsake us.  How wonderful is that!                    

Friday, July 29, 2011

Giveaway at Black Creek Primitives

I just found this blog today ... Black Creek Primitives ... with some really nice fall craft items for sale!  Not only that but Janice, the owner of this blog, is having a giveaway for some wonderful items ... 1 yard of Honey & Me fabric, 6 mini candy corns, 5 fat quarters, & a black kitty!





What a wonderful & generous giveaway!  The giveaway ends on August 10th so be sure to check it out!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weight Loss Update #10 - Prim Christmas Ornament Exchange

Good morning!  It's going to be another hell-like day summer day here in central Kentucky.  Am I going to sit inside the air-conditioned house & do something creative?  No ... I'm going to Lexington to (A) return that horrible food processor to Target, (2) visit Whole Foods (John will go next door to the book store), (3) stop by JoAnns & maybe Hobby Lobby on the way home, (4) visit a little craft supplies shop I just found out about, & (5) attend a LeVian event at Macy's.  I've mentioned before that I love jewelry & I've never been to a LeVian event.  They had one last October but I ended up missing it because I needed a hysterectomy instead!  I don't think I'll be coming home with any jewelry unless they have this one particular pendant I've been trying to find for the past 2 years & 2 months!  I saw it at a store in Knoxville ... uh-oh, during a LeVian event.  Forgot about that one!  Okay ... I've never been to a LeVian event at Macy's then ... lol!  Anyway, I saw this pendant & absolutely fell in love with it but it was pretty pricey.  I decided to be sensible since we had just closed on this house & I had all these prim redecorating plans & we needed to replace all our furniture so I told the girl behind the counter that as much as I loved that pendant I couldn't afford to spend that kind of money when we had just bought a house.  Talk about stupid ... lol!  I've seen that pendant in my dreams ever since.  Haven't spotted it anywhere so when I got the invitation for this event I called to make my appointment & the women at Macy's asked me if there was anything in particular I was looking for.  I described the pendant in detail & she said she would try to get it there for me.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!  John said if it's there he will buy it for me   : )   Didn't I tell you he was a keeper???

I have continued to maintain my weight for 2 weeks now which is what the diet instructions say to do.  Four more weeks of maintaining & then it's back on the diet.

There are now 4 of us (myself included) interested in participating in the Christmas Ornament Exchange I am hostessing!  If you missed the posting you can read about it in my Christmas in July Ornament Exchange post published on July 22.  The only guidelines are that the ornaments have to be handmade either by you or by someone else (no mass produced ornaments like stuff you'd get at Michaels or Hobby Lobby) & they must be primitive.  You will send one ornament to each person participating, keeping one for yourself, & you will receive back as many ornaments as you end up sending.  All the ornaments you send should be the same ... like if you send primitive Santas, then everyone should get a primitive Santa from you.  Ornaments crafted in any medium are welcome (painted, stitched, etc).  I'll leave this invitation open until  Sunday, July 31.  I'll close it at 11:59 p.m. that night & on Monday I will send you a list of everyone participating.  The mailing date to send the ornaments will be sometime in September.  I'll let you know when I contact you with the list but we will probably mail in early to mid September.  Email me with your email address & your mailing address if you want to participate.  My email is lv2stitch53@yahoo.com.

Okay ... time to get read to head to Lexington!      

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Makes My Heart Skip A Beat?

As many of you know, Marie over at primitives by olde lady morgan is having a giveaway!  The giveaway is a bit shrouded in mystery although every now & again she gives us a little tease   : )   The giveaway rules are to (1) sign up, & (2) post on your blog what makes your heart skip a beat.

There are a lot of things I enjoy doing & a lot of things I enjoy collecting but what has always made my heart skip a beat ... & still does ... is my husband.  John & I met in high school when I was a sophomore & he was a junior.  I remember standing in the gathering area outside the cafeteria, my heart beating fast while waiting for him to come walking down the hall toward me.  I swear I would be a mass of tingles from the top of my head to the tips of my toes when he would come into view & the entire time I got to spend with him ... lol!  We never ate at the cafeteria but we went to the auditorium where kids were allowed to sit & talk while the school played music over the PA system.  John & I would sit there & talk about many things.  We dated on & off for 8 years & then got married in 1976.  I dug through some old pictures last night.  As you know, many of our things are still packed in the moving boxes we packed them in 2 years ago before moving here.  I did find a box of envelopes filled with old photos & the one I am sharing below was taken in 1979 when we were living in Florida.  I was 25 & John was 27.  This was 11 years after we met.

    
And here we are again, our most recent picture taken together which was back in 2008.   

  
We have had a lot of ups & downs over the years & have weathered many a storm ... but you know what?  When I look at him, I still see that boy that I used to wait to see walking down the hall at lunchtime ... & he can still dissolve me into a mass of tingles with just his smile.  He has always ... & will continue to always ... make my heart skip a beat.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Morning

"...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life:
You should mind your own business & work with your hands...."
1 Thessalonians 4:11

I really like these words that Paul spoke to the Thessalonians.  I think the world would be a better place if people would follow them.  I know when he says to "work with your hands" that he is referring to working to provide for your needs so you do not have to depend on others, but I kind of like to think of it in a crafting sort of way.  Such goes the train of thought for a crafter ... lol!

I will certainly be working with my hands today.  I have laundry to do & I'll be making a turkey for dinner.  A turkey breast actually ... neither John nor I like dark meat.  When we lived in Florida we were friends with a couple who only liked the dark meat.  It worked well when we would get together to celebrate Thanksgiving   : )   I'll also be packing up the food processor I recently purchased so I can return it to the store.  It not only doesn't do a very good job as far as shredding goes (it totally pulverizes things into a fairy dust consistency instead), it is very flimsy.  When I bought it I had wrapped up my old hand grater & put it in the yard sale box.  I got it back out yesterday after trying to shred some parmesan cheese & had John shred it for me.  Turned out beautifully.  He will be my food processor from now on   : )

I'll also be working more with my "doll pattern from hell" project.  I'm almost to the point where I can grunge her up & put her in the oven.  I will fantasize that I am putting the pattern designer in there ... lol!  Oh, wait a minute ... that's not a very Christian thought for a Sunday morning, is it?  Okay, I won't engage in that fantasy   : )

Heaven knows there's no lack of things I can do here to keep my hands busy.  It's going to be another too-hot day so going outside is not an option.  I'll take a break now & then to check the blog postings.  Maybe I'll even look up cities on Weather.com to see where it's cooler today & fantasize about living there ... a much better fantasy than visualizing that pattern designer closed up in my oven   : )

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I HAD to go out shopping today ...

... even though it's another miserably hot day.  I heard on the radio that this horrible heat is supposed to continue through tomorrow night, then we are going to get a couple days of cooler temps, then more horrible heat.  I can't understand why anyone likes summer.  I'll admit there are some nice things about it ... like fresh veges from your garden or a farmers market, or swimming if you're into that ... but I'll take fall or winter any day   : )

So ... why is it I said I HAD to go out shopping today???  (Incidentally, I went to Richmond, KY which is about an hour's drive from here.)  Here is the answer ...

  
I can't explain the story behind this shopping excursion right now but I soon will ... probably next week   : )

While in Richmond I decided to stop by one of my favorite prim/antique shops which I haven't been to for several months.  I really got lucky as I have been searching for months for a nice prim-looking floor lamp to put next to my recliner to give me enough light when I'm reading or crafting.  I found the perfect one & it was a great price besides!


I also found this old little 6-board chest that I had to bring home with me.  I'm a sucker for old wooden boxes & chests   : )



I also got a few things to add to my collections.  I love green & cream enamelware & was so excited to find this old Jello mold or cake mold!  Never saw one before!  I also got an old kitchen spoon with a green-painted wooden handle to add to my other green-painted wooden handle utensils as well as a really neat scoop.  I don't collect gray graniteware but I thought this little pan was perfectly prim so I picked that up too   : )


All in all, it was worth being out in the sweltering heat   : ) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Christmas In July Ornament Exchange

I have been a member of various online groups & forums for about the past 18 years or so.  I have always hostessed various Secret Pal swaps, holiday exchanges, other types of swaps, etc.  The most recent exchange I hostessed was over on the Country Sampler forum ... a Christmas in July Ornament Exchange.  I had hostessed one last fall & everyone wanted to do another one but not wait a whole year, thus the Christmas in July theme   : )   Everyone was to make handmade primitive ornaments (or buy handmade ones ... nothing store bought) & share one with everyone joining the exchange.  Our numbers were small this time around ... only 10 participants ... but I thought you might like to see the ornaments from the exchange   : )




I won't bother to list who sent which ornament because you probably wouldn't know the names anyway   : )   I will, however, say that the ornament I sent everyone is the one in the last photo, first ornament on the left.  I wish I could say I made it.  I had intended to make my ornaments & had started to do so but so much was happening around here that I just couldn't get to them so I commissioned someone to make them for me.  Those of you familiar with Donna at Donna's Primitive Blessings will recognize that little doll as one of her wonderful creations   : )

I'm wondering ... would any of my followers be interested in a Christmas ornament exchange?  I am assuming it would be a small group ... probably no more than a dozen or so & that's probably an over-estimation.  If you are interested, please make a comment underneath this post.  The date for mailing the ornaments would be sometime in September so you would have the whole month of August to get them made (or purchased).  Just let me know   : )     

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weight Loss Update #9 & Half-Way Giveaway Winner ... Among Other Things : )

Good morning!!!  I had a very good night's sleep last night & feel pretty good this morning.  The heat index is predicted to be between 110-115 so this farm gal will be staying inside & trying to accomplish every single thing she needs to do!!!  Then again, if I'm estimating this right it will take more than a day to get everything done that needs to be done so I guess I'll need to do some picking & choosing   : )

Thank you for all the kind words regarding my trip to the hospital.  I really appreciate them!  Hopefully it will be my last trip.  I have an aunt who just celebrated her 85th birthday in June.  She has never been admitted to a hospital except when she gave birth to her son, never had to go to the ER, never had any PAP smears or breast exams or colonoscopies or x-rays or any other kinds of tests, & has been to see a doctor maybe 10 times in her life not counting prenatal/postnatal visits.  She moves a little slower now-a-days & gets more tired than she used to but she still looks great & she can run rings around people half her age.  She has always had a great attitude about things & she still has.  About a year ago someone suggested to her that she might want to join the local senior citizens group because they go on outings & have various get-togethers & she might enjoy that!  She answered "Why would I want to join a senior citizens group?  I'm not old!"  Yep ... great attitude!  I hope I'm like that when I'm in my 80s.  I plan to be   : )

I got on the scale this morning expecting the worst ... especially after grilling a half-pound burger for my dinner last night & smothering it with mozzarella cheese & pizza sauce.  No bun ... gotta keep off carbs for now.  During this maintenance phase I'm supposed to be staying within 2 pounds of the weight I was 3 days before entering it.  I don't claim to understand the mechanics of this diet ... I'm just reporting what I'm supposed to do.  This morning I weighed 1-1/2 pounds less than that weight so I am very pleased   : )   I have been having such fun searching out different recipes & cooking things ahead of time.  On Tuesday I made a small pot of spicy lentil soup which I put in containers & placed in the freezer.  That same day I also cooked a roast in the crockpot until it fell apart.  I will use the shredded beef to make a small pot of vegetable beef soup today which will also go into the freezer.  With the remaining beef I will make chili for dinner.  I make chili without beans which some people can't understand but it's really good!  Also on Tuesday (it was a productive day food-wise ... lol!) I followed someone's recipe for grilling eggplant.  I am 57 years old & never in my life have I eaten or cooked with eggplant ... or zucchini for that matter.  You should've seen me in the grocery stores trying to find zucchinis ... I didn't even know what they looked like ... lol!  Anyway, you slice the eggplant into half-inch slices, brush it with olive oil, & place it on the grill.  You can then actually put cheese on top along with lettuce & tomato & whatever else, put it on a bun & eat it like a hamburger ... but I made "Eggplant Italian" & melted my beloved mozzarella cheese on top, then added pizza sauce & Italian sausage bits I had fried ahead of time.  It was good but I honestly didn't taste the eggplant.  It was very soft ... don't know if that's the way it's supposed to be or not.  It was nicely browned on the outsides & I didn't grill it really close to the coals so I'll assume it was okay.

Sorry ... I'm really rambling on today!

Before beginning this post I drew a winner for my Half-Way Giveaway.  This has got to be the first giveaway in history where only 6 people signed up ... lol!  Forgive me for not taking a picture of the names written on the little slips of paper, all the little slips folded & placed into the bowl & mixed around, & my hand reaching in & drawing out the name.  I know it's not too exciting just telling you who won but you'll have to deal with it ... lol!  So are you ready???  The winner is ... TRACE!!!  Trace, I will email you to get your address & also to discuss the giveaway with you.  I also decided to draw a runner-up winner & that winner is ... BETTY!!!  Betty, I will also email you to get your address.  Congratulations to both of you!!!  I will post photos of the giveaway items but not right now   : )

And speaking of giveaways, Janice over at Prims by the Water is having a Christmas in July giveaway!  She will give away the following prim Santa & homestead pillow when she reaches 100 followers!  She has made these items with her own 2 little hands & I think they are both wonderful!

          
Well, I think that's it ... at least for now ... lol!  I hope you will all enjoy today even though the heat will be a problem in most of the country.  One of my friends on Facebook posted something this morning regarding the heat which I thought was something to think about so I am going to repost it here ...

I was going to complain about how hot it is but then I realized ...

1.  The temperature is not 109 degrees (heat index not included);
2.  I'm not 5,700 miles from home;
3.  I'm not dressed in a full BDU uniform & helmet & carrying 70+ pounds;
4.  There is very little chance that anyone will shoot me or that I will drive over a road bomb today.
      
May God bless & be with all our soldiers who deal with these conditions on a daily basis.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A midnight awakening, an ambulance ride, & a short stay (thank God) at a hospital

I know that it's Wednesday & this is supposed to be the day I post my "Weekly Weight Update."  It's also the day I'm supposed to post my Half-Way Giveaway winner.  However, these things are going to have to wait until tomorrow.

I have something called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation which basically means that every so often my heart beat races way too fast.  My brother has this same ailment & so did my father.  I was diagnosed in 2004 & have been on the same medication ever since which has served me well unless I have missed a few doses (which happened in May without my realizing it) or during a time of immense stress (which happened in 2008 when my father passed away) but most of the time it will happen for no reason whatsoever.  This has been a very rare occurrence since starting my medication.  Early this morning at 12:25 it happened again although these past 2 times it's been rather odd ... not just a very fast beat but very irregular as well.  I waited the suggested 20 minutes to see if it would go away, then told John we had to go to the ER.  Usually they give me an IV of something, I convert back to regular heart rhythm, & I get to come home.  The ER staffers did not seem to want to check their records from May to see what it was they gave me then so they gave me a shot of something which didn't do much good at all.  They tried to contact my doctor & couldn't get hold of him but did get hold of one of his colleagues who said they needed to send me to a hospital in Lexington since that's where my doctor has privileges.  Who knew he didn't have them here since I see him at his office 10 miles away?  They insisted they had to put me in an ambulance & I got the ride of my life to Lexington where they admitted me to the hospital.  While in the ambulance I converted back to regular rhythm but try as I might I couldn't convince the guys to take me back home.  They admitted me to the Lexington hospital at 4:30 a.m. where I was poked & prodded & had various tests administered by a parade of nurses & technicians.  I met with my doctor's nurse practitioner who would win the Academy Award for Bedside Manner if there was such a thing.  He said the doctor would probably let me go home later in the morning but I would need to wait until they finished their testing to make sure.  He said they might want to tweak my medication a bit, add another one to it, or just wait to see if this happens again before doing anything like that.

I continued to do fine.  They finished all their tests.  I kept waiting for my doctor to show up.  At noon a strange foreign doctor walked into my room.  His bedside manner ... well, let's just say he didn't have any.  He asked how I was doing.  I wondered who this stranger was but answered that I was fine.  He started speaking in some unintelligible language & I tried to follow.  From what I thought I was understanding, he was telling me about a medication they wanted to start me on & how I would need to take some other medication first before seeing if I could tolerate the first one.  I'm already taking that medication & told him I've been "tolerating it" for about 20 years now!  Didn't phase him.  He just asked "Do you have any questions?"  I was in such shock I said no, then as he was leaving I said "Wait!  Can I go home?" & he said yes so 2 hours later after all the paperwork was done I got to leave.

I was exhausted after the 2 hours of sleep I had last night before the a-fib started.  Poor John didn't have any sleep at all but managed to pass out a couple times in my hospital room & out in the car.  We made it home & literally fell into bed where we slept until the phone rang ... the hospital telling me I needed to have some blood tests done here (thank goodness) on Friday.  I then decided I'd better make something to eat & now here I am relating this all to you.

I'm a bit perturbed that my own doctor didn't come to see me.  Beings that if this happens again I will face another ambulance ride to the Lexington hospital I am going to try to find a cardiologist who works with the local hospital.

And there you have it.  I have no idea what I weigh today so I can't post my update & I haven't drawn for the giveaway yet but I promise I will do both these things tomorrow.  For now a hot cup of tea, a nice shower, & an early bedtime sounds pretty good to me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Doll Pattern from Hell

I have mentioned before that I have done a lot of crafts in my time.  Quilting, sewing, lampwork bead making, spinning, weaving, bobbin lace making, woodworking, painting, wool rug hooking, wool rug braiding, toothbrush rug making, cross stitch, embroidery, soap making, button making, crochet, knitting, tatting ... believe me, the list goes on.  Now for some of these things I mastered the basics pretty well but I could tell they were things I really didn't want to go any further with.  With others it was obvious that, no matter how hard I tried or how much I wanted to do them, I had no talent for them whatsoever.  Thankfully there were some that I seemed to have a knack for.  At one point I had to weed out that last category & decide which things I really wanted to do because there just weren't enough hours in the day to do everything.  I often wish I had a passion for just one thing.  It would be nice to say "I'm a quilter" & leave it at that instead of running down a list of all the different things I enjoy.

Whenever I pursue a new craft or pick up an old one I always visualize myself looking a bit like Mona Lisa.  I have am air of calmness about me.  There is just the slightest hint of a smile on my lips ... a sign that I am at peace with the world & finding fulfillment in what I am doing.  I am sitting comfortably in a rocker, a lamp glowing at my side, my cat asleep at my feet.  I am perhaps humming a favorite old hymn as I create a masterpiece for my home or for a gift.

Enter the Doll Pattern from Hell.

I decided about 2 weeks ago that I was going to make a prim doll.  I have made dolls before although it's been many, many years since I have done so.  In fact, one of the first dolls I ever made did not have a pattern!  I made it for my daughter when she was a baby.  I designed it myself, including it's clothing, & thought it was unique so I painstakingly drew out the pattern pieces making sure everything was absolutely perfect, typed detailed directions, took a photo of the doll & sent it to a doll magazine asking them if they'd be interested in publishing it.  I was in 7th heaven when I got a letter back telling me that yes, they were interested in putting the pattern in their magazine & asking me to send the doll to them to be professionally photographed.  They made mention of the fact that my pattern & directions were "perfect" & they wished all their pattern designers paid such attention to detail.  They didn't have to re-do anything ... they just printed the pattern exactly as I sent it to them.  They sent me a check for an amount that absolutely floored me at the time.  I actually still have that letter, the magazine, & a photocopy of the check which I made before I cashed it.  It's upstairs in one of those "mystery boxes" that haven't been opened since we moved here.

As I was saying, about 2 weeks ago I decided to make a prim doll.  I was looking through a couple magazines & found a pattern with a picture of a doll that I thought would be perfect.  It certainly didn't look difficult.  I thought "I can whip this up in no time!"  She has a body/head, 2 arms, 2 legs, & a dress with a muslin long-sleeved top & a colored bottom.  I copied the pattern pieces, glued them onto stiff cardstock & cut them out.  The first thing I did was trace the body parts onto muslin.  I then looked at the pattern directions ... did the designer want me to sew the pattern on the traced lines or cut the pattern on the traced lines???  No clue.  I then continued reading the "directions."  Remember I said the doll is wearing a dress that consists of a muslin long-sleeved top & a colored bottom?  Here are the instructions on how to make the dress:

"Sew the dress."

No, I'm not kidding.  The pattern included the designer's email address so I dropped her a line.  I asked "Do you want me to sew on the traced line or cut on the traced line?"  I also asked how in the world I'm supposed to "sew the dress."  I told her this was my first prim doll & I had no idea what I was doing.  She wrote back & explained that I should sew on the traced line & sort of tried to explain the making of the dress indicating that she was good at designing but not good at directions.  She didn't have to tell me that ... lol!  I thanked her for her attempt to help but I am pretty much flying by the seat of my pants here.  It will be anybody's guess what this doll is going to turn out looking like.  A naked Quasimodo comes to mind.

I suppose most designers assume only someone with doll making experience is going to make their dolls.  On the other hand, when I have created a pattern for something & have written down the directions I have left no stone unturned.  A 7-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan who has just  mastered the basics of English could read my pattern directions & know exactly what to do to create whatever item the pattern is for.  Surely there must be other such pattern designers?  Not that I'm calling myself a pattern designer mind you.  A few patterns published in magazines do not a pattern designer make.  However, designers take note ... a little more attention to detail might be, as Martha says, "a good thing."                                      

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Morning

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moths & vermin destroy & where thieves break in & steal."
Matthew 6:19

Do any of you have a bit of a struggle with this verse?  I do from time to time, especially when I have to dust or I bring home something new & I'm trying to find a place for it.  Yesterday was one of those days.  First off, I recently bought a food processor.  Not a huge one ... just a Giada model from Target.  I also bought 2 omelet pans.  I only wanted a 10" pan but for $10 more I could get a set of 2 pans ... 10" & 8".  I looked at the 8" pan & if I bought it separately it would've cost me $25 so I figured I couldn't pass up the deal for both of them.  When I got home I looked around my kitchen wondering where in the world I was going to put this stuff.  My kitchen isn't a huge one nor is it tiny.  It is, however, rather lacking in efficient drawer & cabinet space.  I decided that I needed to have a look around to see what I haven't been using & have no intention of ever using again so I could free up some space.  I cleaned out 3 cabinets & the pantry & I still feel space deprived.  I put a deep fryer & a hand shredder/slicer/chopper into a yard sale box, disposed of some out-of-date food, & rearranged things a bit but it's still a very inefficient setup.  I will tackle the other cabinets today but all I kept thinking yesterday was "we need to move ... I need a bigger kitchen."

Yesterday John & I watched a travel video where the hostess took us to Japan.  She showed us where she was staying during her time there & it was totally devoid of any type of clutter.  There was maybe 1 vase of flowers but no knick-knacks or other such decor.  There was a lot of wall space & floor space & it looked like such a calm place to be.  I glanced over at my kitchen which in the midst of my trying to find space for everything has stuff sitting all over the countertops &  thought wow, those Japanese know what they are doing.  From what I have read the Amish have a similar focus on things.  If it's not something that serves a purpose, they don't have it.  No prim Olde Lady Morgan dolls, no grouping of old sifters or enamelware on top of their cabinets, no crocks filled with old wooden spoons or paddles or kitchen gadgets "just to look at," not even any pictures or signs on their walls except for the pictures that are on a calendar.  I don't know if I could go that far but it makes you stop & think.  I'm sure the original "primitive people" ... the pioneers ... lived a similar existence having basically only what was of use to them.  

Last October I had a total hysterectomy.  I wanted to "be prepared" so I wrote out a will & put it in an envelope for my husband should something go wrong during or after the surgery.  As I was writing out my instructions for him I actually included an apology for leaving him with all this "stuff" of mine.  What a mess he would have had to contend with if I had died.  Neither of my children are into prim things.  My son actually said once that if John & I died at the same time he would just put an ad on Craigs List for people to come take what they want.  I told him he would be missing out on making quite a bit of money if he did that.  He then decided he'd charge everyone a dollar to walk through the door & carry out whatever they wanted.  

I admire people who do not "store up treasures" yet I continue to add to mine.  I keep thinking there must be a happy medium somewhere ... but where?  Our house is not large compared to some (2300 square feet) but it definitely seems to be "too much" for 2 people.  Even so, we have no room for everything.  The garage is packed, the closets are stuffed, & there are boxes of things piled against walls because there's nowhere else for them to go.  I don't even remember what is in half those boxes.  I keep thinking I need to go through them & downsize but it's such a daunting job that I keep putting it off.  

I hope that one of these days I will find that "happy medium."  For now I'm headed back to the kitchen to continue what I know will be an inefficient rearranging of things.  With any luck I'll at least find something else for the yard sale box.      

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weight Loss Update #8

Goodness gracious ... 8 weeks have come & gone & guess what!!!  This past week I lost 3-1/2 pounds & as of today I have lost 40 pounds & am half way to my goal weight!!!  I can't believe it!!!  And you know what I noticed yesterday???  I can put on my own socks ... lol!!!  That's right ... just 8 weeks ago ol' Shirlee Tub-O-Lard had  an extremely difficult time putting on her socks because her big fat tummy was in the way, but now I can put them on like a normal person!  What I don't understand is after losing 40 pounds you would think that I would've dropped a size or two.  My pants are definitely looser but not enough to where I'm down a whole size.  Of course the pants were fitting me like a sausage casing to begin with.


Today is the day I begin my 6-week maintenance phase before starting the diet again.  The idea is to add various foods back gradually (low-carb stuff) but continue to maintain my current weight.  Some people have done this & have actually continued to lose a pound or two each week so of course I'm hoping to be one of those people.  Last night I looked up some low-carb recipes & made a list of ingredients I will need.  Today John & I are going to Lexington again (yet another doctor appointment) & I will have a shopping spree at Whole Foods.  I think the excitement was too much for me as I woke up at 4 a.m. & couldn't get back to sleep!  Finally got up at 4:45, came out here & made my usual cup of tea, & then made a few hard boiled eggs.  I haven't had eggs for 8 weeks!  I felt like I was doing something naughty ... lol!!!  Just ate one of them & I was in heaven   : )   I could eat more for breakfast than 1 hard boiled egg but I don't have much of an appetite so early in the morning ... plus I'm used to eating so very little that even 1 hard boiled egg has filled me up.  My plan for dinner is egg drop soup.  Lunch is up in the air because of the doctor appointment, the aforementioned food shopping spree, & then stopping at the eye doctor's place to tell them what they can do with these bifocals.  

Happy dance, happy dance ... lol!

Okay ... in celebration of my reaching my half-way point, I would like to announce ...

A SPECIAL HALF WAY GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Yes, I am having a giveaway to celebrate me losing half the weight I need to lose!!!  I had hoped my "something special" would be ready by today so I could post a picture of what you'll be getting if your name is pulled out of the hat (or actually out of the bowl) but alas ... I have been mowing & yard-working & yesterday I didn't feel too well so the "something special" is still a work in progress.  However, come hell or high water it will be ready next Wednesday for the drawing!!!  Here is how you can have a chance to win this "special something" ...

1.  You must be a current follower of my blog (currently 38 followers).  I want to thank the people who have been following me "just because"   : )   Therefore, please don't post this giveaway on your side bars or make mention of it in your posts.

2.  If you want to have a chance to win this "something special," you must post a comment on this post.  If you don't post a comment, you won't be included in the drawing.

That's it!  Good luck everyone!  I'm sorry you don't know what you're going to win but I hope you will like it   : )

Monday, July 11, 2011

Christmas Came Early!!!

Well, technically Christmas hasn't arrived  but it sure felt like it today!  This morning John & I were planting a few more things & in between the planting he went to the post office & brought me home a great big box!  I didn't want to rip into it with the mowing ahead of me so I put it on the kitchen counter to open this evening.  


I did mow but not the other part of the front yard.  I decided to mow the side & back instead.  Took me 4 hours.  I don't know what the temperature climbed to but I know that at 6 pm it was 99 degrees.  John brought me a bottle of water every hour & at one point told me the heat index was 107.  Thankfully there was a pretty good breeze most of the time so it wasn't as draining to mow as it was yesterday.  Still have that other part of the front yard to do but tomorrow & Wednesday are pretty much shot.  More doctor appointments.  Hopefully the rain will hold off so I can get to it on Thursday.

Before going out to start the planting I put a roast into the crock pot & let that cook all day.  Sure turned out good!  

Okay ... here's the Christmas part   : )   Olde Lady Morgan had a blog sale last week!  She should've called it a blog giveaway actually because her prices were so good!  I decided to treat myself to a few things.  It was like Christmas opening up the box!  Look how nicely she wrapped everything!  I love that primitively decorated tissue paper   : )


             
Here are the goodies that were inside!  First a wool pillow appliqued with wool pumpkins.  


Some Halloween ornaments.  These are not for me (I'm not a Halloween person) but I have someone in mind who is going to get them this fall   : )


A little star-shaped dish, a small purple crock, a green mug (actually a gift ... thank you again OLM!), & 3 primitive scoops.


3 rusty pocket Christmas ornaments handpainted by OLM & a small box of cast iron (I think) hooks & nails.


And as if all that wasn't enough, I've saved the best for last!  Let me preface this by saying that I have never owned an OLM doll.  I actually bought 4 of them thinking I would probably keep one for myself & give the others as gifts.  Well, that's not going to happen ... lol!  Each time I unwrapped one of these dolls my heart melted!  I love them all!  No way am I giving any of these to anyone else ... lol!  

  
That one with the bottle around her neck kind of reminds me of what I looked like before I started my diet   : )   Did I mention that I love these dolls?  Lol!!!

Thank you Olde Lady Morgan!  You made my day   : )

Way Too Busy

Good Monday morning!  It looks like more high temps are in store for us today.  Yesterday I believe it was 94 & sunny as it could be.  I have no idea what the heat index was.  I was outside mowing the right side of the front yard.  Took me 5 hours.  It wasn't pretty.  Today the heat index is predicted to be 100-104.  I'll be mowing the other side of the front yard ... the bigger side ... today.  They are also predicting the possibility of isolated severe thunderstorms but only a 30% chance.  Hopefully that will bring in a few clouds to shade me from time to time.  As I was mowing yesterday I was thinking back to when we bought this place.  The front yard was terribly overgrown.  We found out that the owners left it that way on purpose because the woman's father would come twice a year to cut it for hay.  I was thinking those previous owners probably had a bit more "smarts" than we do   : )

On Saturday we planted 7 bushes.  That might not sound like much but it took quite a bit of time.  We still have a few bushes to plant that we bought last week along with 3 trees.  Our yard is going to look like a "what's what in the plant world" before too long.  Schools will bring bus loads of children here to study the various plant life.

I can see a bit of a breeze blowing outside right now.  It's a bit too early to do any mowing (the grass will be wet with the dew) but perhaps John & I will do some planting.  He's already out there watering some things.  I'd really like to stay inside & sew but I'll have to save that for another day.    

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Evening

"...a human life is nothing but a puff of air."
Psalm 39:6

I'm getting a late start on my Sunday posting today & the quote I am using here may seem rather an odd choice but it came to my mind last week while in my doctor's office.  John & I were standing at the receptionist's desk paying my bill & I noticed her wedding ring set.  I am always noticing the jewelry that people wear.  I love jewelry which is why I'm studying gemology.  Anyway, I told her that I thought her wedding set was beautiful.  She thanked me & said her husband picked it out all by himself.  I smiled & said "He's a keeper!"  She said "We've been married for 5 years now."  I nodded over to John & said "Before you know it, you will have been married for 35 years like us!"  She then said "Oh, that's a long, long time from now."  I just smiled but inside I laughed a little.  I'm guessing that all you ladies who are around my age would've done the same but perhaps my younger followers feel exactly like that receptionist.  It boggles my mind sometimes how quickly life goes by.  It seems like John & I just celebrated our 5th anniversary yesterday & here it is 30 years later.  Every once in a while when the subject of children comes up someone will ask me "how old is your daughter" & I will say "32" & then I will think good grief ... I was just 32!!!  Or someone will ask my age (like my new doctor) & out loud I will say "57" & I almost start to look around the room to see who this 57-year-old woman is answering that question.  I don't feel like I'm 57.  I don't even feel like I'm 32.  I still feel like I did when I was in high school, dating that cute boy named John & dreaming that one day I'd marry him.  Life does go by quickly.  That receptionist will realize that one day   : )       

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Craft Room ... & Other Stuff

Good morning everyone!  I woke up to a rain this morning which is really nice since it's been so dry here but also very "Murphy's Law" since I spent a good hour & a half going around giving everything a good soaking with the hose last night since the forecast was only calling for a slim chance of rain.  I should've known better ... lol!  I swear, sometimes we have 100% chance of rain & don't get a drop & other times a 20% chance & it pours.

Thank you for your comments yesterday about my doctor dilemma.  Sometimes it really helps me when I'm trying to make a decision to write things down ... not a pro & con list (never had any luck with those) but just writing out my thoughts.  Before the day was over I decided that I really did like Dr. Roberts & Dr. Edwards.  They seem genuinely concerned about me & they are both willing to work with each other for my care.  I decided I would work with them for a few months & see where it gets me.  If I'm not happy for some reason then I can always see the doctor in Cincinnati.

Following are a few before photos of my craft room.  Remember, when we moved here we didn't know if we were going to stay.  We still don't know that although we seem to be leaning that way although I can't/won't actually say that we are leaning that way.  It's a mental thing ... lol!  Anyway, I was pretty much using this room to toss things into ... moving boxes yet unpacked, boxes of flea market stuff, & boxes with things I didn't have anywhere else to put.




These are the after photos.  Nothing major ... just a bit less cluttered & a bit neater ... & of course there's my treadmill ruining any chance for me to prim this room up like I planned to do.  Or maybe I can beat it with a chain & rub some stain on it to make it a prim treadmill?




My original intent was to get a wall of cupboards/drawers/shelves from the floor to not quite the ceiling built along that one long wall you can see in the first before & after photos.  I'm still kind of leaning that way but I'm not quite sure if it would overpower the room.  It would be nice for storing all my fabric & craft supplies.

Wait a minute!  Let's go back & look at those after photos again!  Is that an ironing board with some fabric hanging from it?  Could this have anything to do with the "something special" I mentioned the other day?  It just might because look here ... the treadle appears to be open!


And oh my!  Not only is it open, it's threaded!  Sure looks to me like "something special" is going to be happening here   : )


I have to run a few more errands today (sometimes I think I should've called this blog Running Errands!) so I will end here & wish you a very happy & blessed day! 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Something Special This Way Comes!

Yes, something special this way comes ... & that's all I'm saying about that for now   : )

Come join me for a cup of tea this morning before I have to run off to do some errands.  Alas, I used the last of my Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea the other day so will need to order more.  This morning I've made another of my favorites instead ... Holiday.  It's a delicious Christmas tea full of all kinds of lovely spices.  Really makes it feel like Christmas in July   : )

As I mentioned yesterday I went to Lexington to have a followup visit with one doctor (Dr. Edwards) & to have blood testing done at a clinic with another doctor.  Never got the blood testing done.  The patient intake person thought I was already committing myself to their physician's treatment which was not the case at all.  When I explained that I only wanted to get the blood testing done to see what their doctor had to say about it, I was told that the doctor's nurse had already indicated that the doctor would work with me to continue the care my doctor in Tennessee had been giving me & that I really didn't need to have the blood tests done until next month.  She then decided to explain their costs to me.  Turns out I'd need to pay $3000 up front (they don't accept insurance) for a year's worth of care which would only focus on one specific "problem" & basically include 4 visits, 4 blood tests, & 4 procedures.  There's just something here I'm not comfortable with   : (

My other near-by option for this aspect of my care is the doctor I mentioned a while back (Dr. Roberts) who was a very nice Christian man (even asked if he could pray for me before my exam) but he seemed a bit opinionated about my lab results indicating my previous doctor was running certain levels too high or too low.  I had completely trusted my previous doctor & had been feeling fine under her care so felt a bit "offended" that he was wanting to change some things.  I decided to not commit myself until my followup with Dr. Edwards.  This doctor offered total care for everything but my pituitary problem & the cost of care ($2700) again needed to be paid up front, no insurance accepted.  When I told him I was seeing Dr. Edwards for my pituitary problem & maybe wanted her to take over the rest of my care (except for this one aspect which she did not do) he was very complimentary of Dr. Edwards, said how he respected her, & said that if I decided to do that he would be happy to work together with her to keep me well.  Since most of his patients have him take care of everything, I'd be an "odd case" just wanting him to do this one thing & so they had to figure out a cost for that.  The cost is very acceptable to me ... basically 4 visits/procedures per year (including lab work) at $390 each.

Now ... I know most of you have probably stopped reading by now (I know it can be boring hearing about other people's medical issues) but for those of you who haven't, I then went to my followup appointment with Dr. Edwards.  I was told that certain levels from my blood testing were either way too high or way too low.  She said I might be feeling fine now but "believe me, in a few years these things are going to cause you major problems."  I was shocked!  Like I said, I had complete faith in my Tennessee doctor & after Dr. Edwards spent time explaining to me how all these different things could affect me, I had a hard time taking it all in!  She even discovered a genetic abnormality which no other doctor I've ever seen before has bothered to test for but something I said at our first meeting made her decide to do this test!  While talking with her she also confirmed some of the things Dr. Roberts told me so that made me feel better about dealing with him.

It seems my decision has been made for me ... Dr. Roberts & Dr. Edwards.  However, I also have a doctor I could visit in Cincinnati who is supposed to be the top of her field & she would handle all of my care.  I talked with her intake person before I had my followup with Dr. Edwards, explained my problems, & she talked with the doctor who said she'd be happy to see me & discuss my care.

I am nothing if not indecisive ... lol!  Honestly, my husband will tell you ... if I go to a store & find something I like, & then discover they have another one, I will stand there for half an hour looking at them both trying to decide which one to buy.  Lord help us all if there is more than two!  It takes us about an hour to drive to Lexington.  Cincinnati is about 2 hours away.  I should've held off calling the office in Cincinnati until I had my followup here but I can't change that now.

On the one hand, I think I should check out all my options before making any choices.  On the other hand, if I'm happy (& I think I might be) with Dr. Roberts & Dr. Edwards, then I should just commit to them & be done with it.  And of course if I commit to them & tell the intake person in Cincinnati that I'm no longer interested in coming there, then if it turns out that Dr. Roberts & Dr. Edwards aren't as wonderful as I think they might be, then I will have burned my bridges with that doctor!

And such is the way my mind works ... lol!  Any thoughts ... other than I need mental health counseling???

I have to run a few errands this morning & I have no idea what else today might hold.  I'm sorry to have rambled on at such length this morning.  I tend to be a rambler ... not so much in person but definitely "on paper."

I wish you a very blessed day!        

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Weight Loss Update #7

Wednesday!  Again!  How quickly it comes around.  I can't believe I've been dieting now for 7 weeks!  This past week I lost 4 pounds which makes a total of 38 pounds lost.  I wish I could go on losing like this until I lose all the weight I need to lose but I just found out a couple days ago that I will have to switch to a different diet for a while.  The reason for this is the diet I'm currently on is very low calorie & very limited in the types of foods you can eat.  It also causes you to lose weight quickly.  You need to come off the diet & slowly introduce a greater variety of foods for 6 weeks to allow your body to adapt to your new weight.  You will hopefully maintain it.  Some people will still lose a pound or two each week.  Then after 6 weeks you start back on this diet again.  I will continue on this diet for 1 more week & then start the maintenance phase.  I'd rather just plow straight through but it's not good for my body or my health so I will do what I know I should do.  I must admit that it will be nice to be able to have a bit more variety.  The first thing I will reintroduce is cheese & the second thing will be eggs ... lol!  It's funny the things you miss when you're on a diet.  I don't miss pies or cakes or candies ... I miss cheese & eggs   : )

This is a short post this morning as John & I are leaving soon for Lexington.  I'm having blood tests done at one clinic & going back to the first doctor I saw for a followup visit.  I'm also going to stop at a fabric store because I need muslin.  I have a few patterns for prim dolls that I want to make.  Does anyone know if it's better to wash or not wash the muslin if you are making prim dolls?  I'm thinking not washing it may be the way to go since I need to grunge the doll & the unwashed fabric will probably take the grunging better.  Anyone know for sure?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Landscaping - Lots of Photos

The landscapers finished up their work on Saturday morning & I thought I would share some before & after photos.  If you're looking to relax with a cup of coffee or tea & look at a bunch of pictures, this is the place for you ... lol!  Of course this is just the start of things & I'm not sure if some of the things were planted where they should be so we may have to do some tweaking with those.  We definitely need to add a bit more here & there. The funny thing is, not even 24 hours had passed & John & I were talking about having them come back next year to enlarge the beds ... lol!  Anyway, here are the photos.  Please forgive any excess "stuff" you might see lying around   : )

Back Porch Area - Before


Back Porch Area - After


Back of House Left Side - Before

Back of House Left Side - After

Side of House - Before



Side of House - After



Side of Front Porch - Before

Side of Front Porch - After


Front Porch Right - Before

Front Porch Right - After

Front Porch Left - Before

Front Porch Left - After

Garage Wall - Before

Garage Wall - After

Driveway Wall - Before

Driveway Wall - After

Front of House - Before


Front of House - After


And although the landscapers didn't have anything to do with making my butterfly garden, I did ask them to mulch it for me so here it is mulched   : )



So there you have it   : )   I know it still needs a lot of work ... & a lot more plants ... lol!  I'm already planning to buy some coneflowers (which I love) to plant on the right side of the back porch.  If anyone has any other thoughts, I am open to suggestions   : )