Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So Nice To Be Appeciated

       We as humans may all be diverse in where we come from and what we do in life. Bloggers are a fun glimpse of people from all over the world. We quickly become friends through our blog welcome mats. These welcome mats say come as you are, you are always welcome here.
We get it.
We respect it.
We understand the huge step it is to put yourself out there. The deep desire to communicate, to share our beliefs,our ups and downs and our creative ideas and creations. I know that we may not all share the same beliefs but one thing I thing I think we can agree on, is how wonderful it is to be appreciated.

So when someone in my carved out blogosphere gives me an award of appreciation....I gotta tell ya, it makes me feel like a million bucks.

Writing a blog is a lot of hard work. Finding the time can be a huge hurdle to jump.Most of us wear many hats throughout the day so being able to squeeze in some time to write something interesting, as well as visually appealing can be tough. Searching for ideas is a challenge I think we all struggle with,or maybe it's just me. But I have to say I try to look at my posts from a first time reader's point of view. I may not ever get close to what it takes to be a great blog,my grammer and spelling may be at a first grade level at best ,but I promise I will keep trying because I'm hooked!

Once you start a blog, no photo or activity is ever viewed the same.We look at everything with  different eyes.....it's like our eyes now have a blog lenses over them.

I know that each time someone makes the decision to follow me and my blog,I am humbled. I appreciate that gesture so much that it makes me work that much harder.

So to receive an award from a fellow blogger really stops me in my tracks, and makes me collect my thoughts. It took me a year to make the decision to take the blog step, a step I am so glad I took! If you are a first time reader and are sitting on the fence of whether to start yours....my advice is......do it! But always be open, be respectful, but most of all, be true to who you are.

So I want to thank a very sweet blogger Stephanie from  The Starving Artist at Edible Arts who has a delightful blog.....that I think should really have a warning sign at the very top saying.....WARNING THIS BLOG IS DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS !!! Because it really is! She has a talent for writing that makes you want to come back. She has an incredible talent for photography.But the bottom line is her recipes will make your mouth water.....and I promise you they taste as good as her photos. I was going to include a picture I took of her Vanilla Pancakes that I have made several times ,but I can't capture how good they are in my photos. So go check them out for yourself.

I have to say between Stephanie at The Starving Artist and Katerina from Culinary Flavors I'm never stumped for a good meal idea!

As a foot note I am to select 15 deserving bloggers to pass the torch to. I have struggled with this. It is next to impossible for me since I am an addicted blogger. So (drum roll please) I nominate EVERYONE on my list of favorite blogs....PLEASE, PLEASE go check them all out...you will feel as if you have traveled the planet and met a lifetime's worth of great people!
Happy Blogging =)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Quiet Neighbors

This may not seem like a very cheery topic to write about but we have quite a few neighbors that we never hear a peep out of.....thankfully! Unknown to us when we bought our 6 acres,just up the hill passed the creek is a very old cemetery. Hopewell Cemetery as we now know it is called, sits nestled in a small clearing at the top of a hill over looking all of the farms. The cemetery is very old,and neglected.Many of the dates are from 1799 to 1910. There are many that are so fragile and old I can't make out a name or an age at all. I think I may go back and do a rubbing to see if I can discover more that way.
For a few years it had become a spot for some meanness, especially on Halloween as you can imagine. Thankfully the boom of new construction that happened a few years ago has put a stop to these individuals who used the area for drugs and other criminal acts.

Hopewell Cemetery
 These sick and twisted people destroyed so many head stones by digging them up and slamming them together that many are gone forever. Others were spray painted with satanic signs and symbols. The ground surrounding the area was covered with debris from beer cans to cigarette butts and clothing to many items better left unmentioned.

Well me being me of course thought,NOPE not in my neighborhood.
First however I must tell you where it began for us....and I apologize that this may be a tad longer than my normal post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day

         I must admit I never understood the importance of how many areas of the world lack clean safe water.  Here we simply turn on the faucet and like magic clean water is delivered right to us. But I really didn't know how that water became safe for us to drink.

I was proud to learn this morning that our local soccer team from Louisville Ky recently returned from a mission trip to Brazil. Their mission was to take a similar filtration system that the city uses to Brazil to teach them how to get clean water to areas where it is needed badly. Edge Outreach is the organization that the Louisville Water Co and Louisville soccer delegation worked with to install two water filtration systems.
 Often when disaster strikes an area much needed bottled water is delivered immediately, but that certainly isn't sustainable. This system gives them a future of clean water everyday.This same group also went to Haiti and are setting the gears in motion to aid Japan if needed.

We of course have tried to save water here at our house by installing two rain barrels last year near our garden. This photo is similar to the two we bought at our local Home Depot.Thankfully our garden is much lower than our barn so installing the rain barrels up on the hill behind the barn allows us to deliver the rain water easily to our garden,using gavity.As a matter of fact we had so much rain water that we actually had to empty them of quite a bit at the end of the season last year.

We have such an abundance of fresh water here in the U.S. that you never have to fear when giving a cup to drink to our children. We are also so fortunate here to have enough water for back yard pools and lakes to play in. Sometimes are toughest decisions in busy daily lives is to force ourselves to actually drink enough water. While in many countries women and children may walk all day just to get a small container of water,which in most cases is not fit for human consumption.
My favorite island,where I want the kids to pose on,so funny!

If you feel as if you aren't able to contribute money to help these charities and organizations, remember that just becoming educated can be a powerful first step. To learn and to understand can also help us here to save and not waste what we have plenty of now. You never know where life will lead you then to serve the world around you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Felted Pillow

          I dug out a project I had started quite a while ago ,and wanted to try and complete it. I needed to take a break from the projects that I have to do for my shop, I just needed a little creative time,instead of a coffee break more like a creative juice break. I've been wanting to make some small pillows for our bedroom at our cottage or "camp" as we call it. Keeping the theme of beach decor,or seaside nautical,or a blend of all actually. Since our bedroom is blue,white and a soft yellow I thought I would use some old denim scraps from a pair of worn out jeans.I hate to throw them out,I always feel a craft idea will come to me.
I dug out my needle felting tools and some wool and a small piece of blue wool felt. I simply did a free hand shape and started felting.I truly had no idea where this would take me. I had a picture of a sand dollar as a sort of guide.Once I had the design the way I wanted it I then decided I would hand stitch through and around it so it would remain secure.I added a brown wool to give it more dimension.

 It becomes fun once something starts to come together. I cut out a small section of denim for the pillow and pinned the wool to the front. Then I sat down and rummage through a box of old buttons and beads.Nothing relaxes me and gives a burst of enthusiasm like rummaging through a box of junk.It can really recharge my old battery. In that old box I found some seashell shape beads I'd forgotten I had. I couldn't help but add them for an extra touch.

 So at this point I added the one thing I am terrible at and that's embroidery. I tried to add the words Sand Dollar and it looks rough....oh well it's rustic! Ha Ha!
 It maybe a small pillow but it has created some big ideas in my head for later. I love pillows on the bed however my husband....not so much.So you can just imagine his delight when he realized this was for our cottage.It makes a gal want to make a hundred of them =)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wandering Thoughts

       Finally today we will see sunshine!! I hope the flooding season has passed,I am doubtful ,but hopeful....yes that is me, a contradiction of thoughts.
Another thought that has been on everyone's mind I'm sure is Japan and the horrific events that have happened to those people since last Friday. It breaks my heart to see the pictures each day and to imagine just how terrifying the earthquake must have been. Then to suffer through an enormous sunami just moments later,is more than my mind can comprehend. I hope and pray that they find more people alive soon,and are able to recover from this tragedy.We spent some time last summer with a Japanese exchange staudent and she was wonderful, and beautiful.We were so worried about her when we learned of what had happened,because she lives in Tokyo.
 Finally later on Friday we got one message from her on Face Book that she was well and for us not to worry about her. But that is all we have heard,so now our concern has grown as we wait to hear from her again.

Preston and Sakura at Patrick's Carnival birthday party
 My mind has been wondering all day today.I've caught myself staring out the window. I can become mesmerized watching the birds at my little feeder,and the goofy squirrels, as they continue to try and jump onto feeder,and fall every time. It's much better than television!

But back to my wondering thoughts,I'm dreaming...of.... I guess mostly........TIME OFF! Vacation....and relaxing....reading...oh and creating.....gardening...ahhh...and cooking........I'm sorry there I go again.

I guess my mind is wandering because I'm so pooped! We have been very busy here at work doing our local Home and Garden Show.The show was a success for us,lots of appointments and phone calls. But it's always such a busy weekend that it can take me a few days to bounce back.

In addition to that I have been crazy busy with orders for my felt Campfire.Now I am not complaining it's just that I hate that I have had to keep customers waiting. So EVERY spare moment I have I am sewing,that's why I haven't been posting like I would like to.
So my thoughts have wandered off to memories of  Spring and Summer activites. Like days on the lake or at the cottage. Sometimes doing nothing, just sitting, and talking, and laughing while the kids entertain us. Enjoying a campfire and smores made by the grimy little hands of my grandsons, ya gotta love it!

Nana, Papa and the kiddos opening the cottage a couple yrs ago.

Floating on the lake,and listening to some tall tales

Memorial Day a couple yrs ago.It was so hot that the party seemed to move to the creek.

Amy is the only one who has ever found an arrowhead
 Yes my mind is wondering.Remembering all of the fun family cookouts and get togethers. Sometimes on holiday's, sometimes for no reason at all. We love sitting out on the deck quietly as the sun goes down.Then like magic watching the creek light up with fireflys.It's amazing how quickly the yard and creek begin to have a mystical feeling, all sparkly with millions of tiny twinkling lights.
The kids love all of the creatures we have seen down at the creek,and some we haven't seen but we know were there.We bought the boys a book on animal tracks and that has been so much fun when we go out scouting the area. Now this little critter in the photo above seems to have survived a fight or something since he has a pincher missing. It was fun while it lasted that day, but turned sad as soon as the kids discovered we needed to let them all go back into the water.

I've been thinking about how much Preston loves eating watermelon right out of Papa's garden. I am so looking forward to all of the fresh vegetables and berries from our garden.This photo was taken down at the cottage, he loves watermelon.He also loves helping me cut it up and it's during those moments that they will jabber and giggle, and share so many funny tales.

We could hear him laughing on the boat,it was hysterical
 I've been thinking about all of the fun days at the lake. The kids love tubing and it seems we can never go fast enough now that they are growing bigger....make me sooo nervous ha! ha!

I'm day dreaming about relaxing and having the time to notice all of the small moments. These moments will be the things we will treasure more than anything else.This is one of my favorite photo's of my niece Lindsey. She spends nearly all summer down here with us each year. Now that she's older she may be working some in our office,and she is a blessing for me.I am certainly look forward to her being here with me. She is very mature and has a knack for organizing and that is something we need here desperately.

The kids still talk about how we said we would go back someday
 Going on vacation with the kiddos( even Disney ) will always be the best way to spend our Summer.They do wear out us old people out, but as my Grandmother use to say"it's a good tired". The best trip I feel was to Nags Head North Carolina that we took last year. No amusement parks, none of the money grubbing bells and whistles,just the beach ,the dunes and the history all around us. It was so much fun.

Isn't it funny how boys always end up falling in the water before they're done.
 I've been thinking about more adventures with Grandson's and Papa. Hiking and searching for arrowheads, fossils and treasurers. Papa finds that the real treasure is the time together whether they find anything or not.
We have buckets full of fossils that the boys have collected. As a matter of fact all of our benches down at the creek are still covered with "valuable fossils".I was remembring how Papa and Preston found an old jar buried under water a couple of years ago.That is a story I plan to share with you real soon.

Normally we don't let them climb on the counter but he was our taste tester.
This photo was taken at our cottage near Patoka Lake,Preston is helping Papa make fruit smoothies while we make popcorn for our outdoor movies.That outdoor movie setup was the best money spent. We have had so much fun.You can make any movie a major event when it's shown outside. We have even added this to birthday parties for later in the evening ,and trust me kids (and adults)of all ages love it!

So the sun is shining today ,and I am day dreaming,.........=)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Arrival of Spring Catalogs

You know there's a change of season coming when you get a burst of catalogs in your mail. I adore all of the gardening ones I usually recieve. After such a cold and snowy Winter I think all of us are ready for Spring gardening,especially those of us who live in the East and Mid-West.
Here are a few of my favorite new arrivals Garden Catalog by Lee Valley is a great one for absolutely everything you might need for flower or vegetable gardening. They also have  a wonderful online catalog that you can flip through or print.I perfer an actual book to hold and dream about all I want to do (or get my husband to do).

This is from an article about the company

A bounty of edible shiitake mushrooms ready for harvest
In their recent newsletter you can sign up for they discuss how to grow and harvest your own edible shiitake mushrooms. How cool would that be.Gosh that brings back memories of mushroom hunting with my grandmother as a kid,delicious!

Another catalog I buy from every year is Vermont Wildflower Farm in Vermont.They have by far the best seeds than any other I have experienced. They tell me it's because theirs have no filler seeds that could contain grasses and weeds,YUCK!! I have enough of those on my own.

A sample of their wildflowers

You can pick wildflowers that are best for your area of the country. They have helped me so much on how much I need for a paticular area,and I have never been disappointed,year after year! I noticed that they also have woodland and rare species of plants and seeds as well as veggies and herbs. So much fun to make plans for spring plantings.
Another catalog I have bought from many times is The Country House. I wish I had some photos to show you but trust me they have some awesome items.Check out their antique reproductions section,I so want the vintage painted pail 'n shovel. It would be so cute for my front porch.I have bought so many things from them especially to use when we built and participated in our area's Home Show's and Parade of Homes.

Finally I want to tell you about a huge favorite of mine MacKenzie-Childs. I have loved this designer,shop owner for years.The first time I saw her was in a magazine,I think it was in Victoria Magazine many years ago. I must confess I have never bought anything from this catalog.....but boy do I want to! My home isn't really decorated around her style,but that's why I love having a cottage and an office where I can do whatever I want.My office (in my day life) is whimsical so it would be a good fit.

A foot stool too cute to put your feet up on

Now honestly,aren't these just too much fun?! I hope you go and look at all of the delicious EYE candy she has in her beautiful catalog. On a dreary overcast day like we're having today,these catalogs can brighten your day.
The items I am leaning toward buying are her delightful handbags! So different, so whimsical and just so much fun.

Check this bag out is it gorgeous

Cell phone holder

I know the photos aren't the best....but aren't these just to cute? Take a few minutes, grab your cup of tea and cruise these wonderful on line catalogs. They are a sure sign Spring is really just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Unexpected Topic

      I was planning on posting a totally different post today,but felt I needed to update you on something else.
On my last post I wrote briefly about a teenage foster child who was looking for some help with prom. I have a belief that all teens are unfinished products,so to speak,and especially foster children. She has had her many struggles one of which is telling a story.Often not from the perspective of the actual truth but from what might in fact gain her sympathy or attention. I hope you understand what I mean. I think all of us wear on our sleeves many of our feelings and our booboo's (as my grandson use to say). We may not realize that we wear them as a means to an end but many of us do.

If we're lucky we are products of our parents,good parenting. Some are not so lucky.Many rise above their bad parents and make their own way. Trust me there are many,many bad parents out there,who's children are paying a high price. But any child who is given away or taken away is going to have scars. They will forever be learning what they should have been taught as children. All children deserve someone who loves them and has their best interest in mind.

So I wanted to up date you on this little teenager that I will refer to as Allie, and her family. This family has fostered not just her, but her two twin half brothers who have also been dealt more troubles than any child should ever have. They have had some real issues with these twins,behaviorally and emotionally, to say the least. They weren't sure if they could keep them much longer due to the fact that their two children were showing signs of stress with this constant distraction.

I know I could not be a foster parent so I take my hat off to all who do it.But it could be a tough choice to make, and you could end up sacrificing your own family in the process.They do have two wonderful kids of their own.A son ( I will call Joe)who wants to do mission work,and a daughter (Sarah)who is loved by all who know her, especially the little ones she sits for at times.So that's where they were when last we saw them.

This is where they are now.
On Sunday morning this is what happened. Now this photo is NOT their home but it is similar to what we all saw.Thankfully EVERYONE got out in one piece, and all of their animals, except one bird. Sarah their daughter was not home at the time of the fire,she was at church. She is also very active in theater at her high school and had a performance directly after church service,so we made sure she didn't find out until after.

Here is a little bit of what Sarah recently wrote on her facebook page. "I would like to say that although losing the house was a terrible tragedy,I sincerely feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world. I could never have imagined such an outpouring of love and support from literally everyone". She goes on to say " I feel that at the end of this experience I will be able to write a book called Lessons from the Fire.I have learned so much from everyone around me,I can't thank you all enough" These are remarkable kids.

If you've never suffered from a house fire,and hopefully you never will,it can be hard to fully understand how awful it feels. My oldest son who I work for had a house fire 8 years ago and lost everything. It was from that tragedy that he decided to start his restoration business,in addition to his construction company. He understood the empty, awful feeling that they are now going through.

It's been said that out of 100% of our possessions we only use 10%. I think that's true. But that 90% may contain things that we hoped to hang onto and pass down to family.But in the end it is only stuff! As my Grandmother use to tell us "Don't cry over something that can't cry back".

The kids are staying with family and friends until a temporary place is found.The foster children will be taken to a new foster family,but we may never be told where.Allie is 18 and so what exactly will become of her at this point we are unsure. This foster family she's lived with has stated that she can remain with them until she graduates this May.That is what we hope for, but we are concerned.
If there is a bright spot in all of this it is that the prom dress she had worked so hard to save and buy,was not in the house at the time of the fire. It was at my son and daughter in laws home. It is safe and ready for the big event.
The fire was so bad that it looks as if the house will have to be bulldozed, and rebuilt.

The cause of this fire has been offically determined as unknown.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Felt Flowers

           Being on the front page of Etsy treasury pages has generated a ton of attention to my teeny, tiny shop, and I am very thankful.So now I have several orders to complete,and I couldn't be happier!! Or more tired for that matter. I've discovered that I must be creative in some form or fashion or I will lose my marbles. Crafting makes me happy. When someone likes my items enough to spend their money on them that makes me ecstatic!

A few days ago it occurred to me that prom and Derby were just around the corner. I had been trying to come up with something to make using buttons, and of course my main passion in life.....felt.