Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quilt Blocks and Birds

24" Giant Churn Dash Blocks

Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Bluebird

Cardinal

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Mabon Happy Autumn

“She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.”

― Sarah Addison Allen
Garden Spells

Monday, September 01, 2014

September Daze and Haze

"September is Autumn at hand and Summer reluctant to leave; it is days loud with cicadas and nights loud with katydids...It is hot days and cool nights and hurricane and flood and deep hurt and high triumph.  September is both more than a month and less, for it is almost a season in itself.  It is flickers in restless flocks, readying for migration;it is goldfinches in thistledown; it is fledglings on the wing, and half-grown rabbits in the garden, and lambs in the feed lot.  It is the gleam of goldenrod and the white and lavender and purple of fence row asters, with the bright spangle of bittersweet berries.


     September is fog over the river valleys at dawn and the creep of early scarlet among the maples in the swamp.  It is sumac in war paint.  It is bronze of hillside grass gone to seed.  It is walnuts ripening and squirrels busy among the hickories.  It is late phlox like a flame in the garden, and zinnias in bold color, and chrysanthemums budding.  It is the last gallant flaunt of portulaca and petunias defying time and early frost.
     September is the first tang of wood smoke and the smolder of burning leaves.  It is bass and perch revitalized in the chilling waters of pond and stream.  It is the hunter's dog sniffing the air and quivering to be off to the underbrush. 
     September is time hastening and days shortening, it is the long nights of Autumn closing in with their big stars and glinting moon.  September is the wonder and fulfillment and the ever-amazing promise of another Autumn."  Hal Borland

Friday, August 01, 2014

End of July




Osprey

Male Towhee

Male Towhee
I haven't touched my fabrics since last Fall.  Until yesterday---and I suddenly had the urge to make some St. Louis 16-patch blocks.  It felt sooooo good to play with the fabric and sewing machine.  Maybe my sewing 'drought' is ebbing.

I cannot grasp the fact that July is over and today is August 1.  The weather has been fabulous this past week, abnormally cool for mid-Summer.  I've been bundling up in my shawls to have my morning coffee and meditation on the lakeside porch.  Hints of Fall are all around.  The Tree Swallows are here this morning bidding me farewell until next Spring.  The leaves on the Burning Bush are already turning red.  Most of the leaves have already fallen from my Corkscrew Willow.  There is that certain 'sound' in the air that hints of Fall.  That 'feel' of the air against your skin that lets you know things are happening in Nature.

The last few months I have been caught up in riding bicycles with my sister.  I haven't had this much fun in many years, nor have I been in such good physical shape in many years.  :)  That's not to say I'm in optimum condition, LOL, but I'm a far cry from where I was a year ago.  Maybe I'll go for a short ride today.  Maybe I'll play with fabric again today.  The hours stretch ahead of me like a blank canvas, beckoning me to indulge in what delights my heart and soul today.

Happy Lammas

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Promise to Love Myself

I Promise to Love Myself

So this will be my life.
My body has done nothing wrong.
I will shower her with the respect and love she deserves.
I will do my best to care for her and listen to what she needs.
When I don’t live up to those goals, I won’t blame her. She has done nothing wrong. I will be extra gentle with her, and I will love her all the more for enduring again and again what I never meant to put her through.

I will live by a standard of grace, for I am always learning, becoming and unbecoming. I will love my curves, my softness and fullness of body and soul. I won’t be the slimmest, the smallest, the most toned. But I will be the happiest, the most peaceful, the most free.
I won't look at others and shame my own body in comparison. She doesn't deserve that. She’s done nothing wrong. She’s crafted {by the Goddess} exactly the way she’s meant to be.
And she is radiant. She is worthy. She is full of compassion and creativity and boundless faith. And she is free.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friends Never Say Goodbye


My soul-sister, Flanagan, moved from Rutledge, TN, to Nashville, TN, on March 21, 2014, and I don't have the words to even begin describing the void that is left in my world.  I know, I know, she's as close as my next heart-beat---but I also know that rather than 45 mins. away, she is now 4-1/2 hours away.  Not quite as conducive to meeting and running for coffee and groceries together.  I am so very grateful to have had her 'next door' for the last seven years...I have never had such a bond form before, and she has brought me more joy and 'gifts' than I could ever name or thank her for.  She truly is my 'twin flame' sister of the heart.  So, although I feel as if I'm in a period of grieving and mourning, I know in my heart that, as Elton John says, "Friends Never Say Goodbye".

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Welcome April---Voice of Spring


Voice of Spring...
"Come, I come! ye have called me long,
I come o'er the mountain with light and song:
Ye may trace my step o'er the wakening earth,
By the winds which tell of the violet's birth,
By the primrose-stars in the shadowy grass,
By the green leaves, opening as I pass."~ Felicia D. Hemans


I have been away from my blog for ages; I've missed my 'infrequent' posting.  I have been going through a 'healing and transformative' phase, and find some of my years-long passions are now pushing their way to the back of the bus.  Time for delving into who this woman is now, and what does she think about the world around her---and inside of her.  Oh, my passion for my furbabies and Mother Earth are as strong as ever, maybe even more so.  I find I just want to immerse myself in  nature.  It has, after all, been a long, hard, cold Winter for so many of us.  A few days of warmer weather, and the sights and sounds of the outside world are luring me away from indoor pursuits.  I'm setting my 'intent' to post a bit more frequently; however, fair warning, my love of fabric and quilting seems to have taken a sabbatical...

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Some Great Tips

1. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.. I didn't know that!
 
2. Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
 
3. Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

4. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

5. To make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

6. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic, and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

7. Reheat Pizza Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

8. Easy Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

9. Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

10. Reheating refrigerated bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

11. Newspaper weeds away: Plant your plants in the ground, work the nutrients in your soil. Then wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go, cover with mulch, and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

12. To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

13. Flexible vacuum: To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

14. Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip to eliminate static cling. It works; you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... Ta DA! ... Static is gone.

15. Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

16. De-fog your windshield: Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

17. Re-opening envelopes: If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Voila! It unseals easily.

18. Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

19. Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup an d gone forever!

20. Get Rid of Ants: Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

21. Wash your dryer filter: Did you know that cleaning your lint trap with a dryer sheet can ruin it? Dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free, and smell good. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box? Apparently that stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! You can test it by running the lint trap under water. If the water goes through you are good. If not then you need to clean it. The best way to keep your dryer working for a long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months.

22. Drop a small object on the carpet and can't find it. Place panty hose over the end of the vacuum hose and start vacuuming. The panty hose will trap anything to large to fit through the tiny hose and keep it from getting sucked into the vacuum.

23. Wearing a skirt or dress on a windy day. Cut open a few sections on the bottom seam. slip in some heavy washers or flat weights (anything small heavy and flat will work) then sew the seam back up.

24. Need to cut some corn off the cob. Use your bundt pan. Place the ear on the opening in the center of the pan, and as you slide the knife down the ear, all the kernels will collect in the main part of the pan.

25. Forget dryer sheets! Crumble up a clean piece of aluminum foil and toss it in the dryer with wet clothes. No static, no smell, no mess! Reuse it until it falls apart then recycle it!!! Mine is going into it's 6th month! (PS Towels will be more absorbent since dryer sheets coat the nap on them!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This is how I want to learn to live the rest of my life---

I wish I could claim that this came from MY Grandmother but it didn't.  It absolutely resonates with me, though, and am so delighted that the person who originally shared this put it out there for the rest of us who didn't get to experience this for ourselves.  All credit is due to marcandangel.com

12 Things My Grandmother Told Me Before She Died


grandmother-granddaughter_hug
When my grandmother, Zelda, passed away a few years ago at the age of 90, she left me with a box of miscellaneous items from her house that she knew I had grown to appreciate over the years.  Among these items is an old leather-bound journal that she aptly named her ‘Inspiration Journal.’

Throughout the second half of her life, she used this journal to jot down ideas, thoughts, quotes, song lyrics, and anything else that moved her.  She would read excerpts from her journal to me when I was growing up, and I would listen and ask questions.  I honestly credit a part of who I am now to the wisdom she bestowed on me when I was young.
Today I want to share some of these inspiring excerpts with you.  I’ve done my best to sort, copyedit, and reorganize the content into twelve inspiring bullet points.  Enjoy.
  1. Breathe in the future, breathe out the past.  No matter where you are or what you’re going through, always believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Never expect, assume, or demand.  Just do your best, control the elements you can control, and then let it be.  Because once you have done what you can, if it is meant to be, it will happen, or it will show you the next step that needs to be taken.
  2. Life CAN be simple again.  Just choose to focus on one thing at a time.  You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it all right now.  Breathe, be present, and do your best with what’s in front of you.  What you put into life, life will eventually give you back many times over.
  3. Let others take you as you are, or not at all.  Speak your truth even if your voice shakes.  By being yourself, you put something beautiful into the world that was not there before.  So walk your path confidently and don’t expect anyone else to understand your journey, especially if they have not been exactly where you are going.
  4. You are not who you used to be, and that’s OK.  You’ve been hurt; you’ve gone through numerous ups and downs that have made you who you are today.  Over the years, so many things have happened – things that have changed your perspective, taught you lessons, and forced your spirit to grow.  As time passes, nobody stays the same, but some people will still tell you that you have changed.  Respond to them by saying, “Of course I’ve changed.  That’s what life is all about.  But I’m still the same person, just a little stronger now than I ever was before.”
  5. Everything that happens helps you grow, even if it’s hard to see right now.  Circumstances will direct you, correct you, and perfect you over time.  So whatever you do, hold on to hope.  The tiniest thread will twist into an unbreakable cord.  Let hope anchor you in the possibility that this is not the end of your story – that the change in the tides will eventually bring you to peaceful shores.
  6. Do not educate yourself to be rich, educate yourself to be happy.  That way when you get older you’ll know the value of things, not the price.  In the end, you will come to realize that the best days are the days when you don’t need anything extreme or special to happen to make you smile.  You simply appreciate the moments and feel gratitude, seeking nothing else, nothing more.  That is what true happiness is all about.
  7. Be determined to be positive.  Understand that the greater part of your misery or unhappiness is determined not by your circumstances, but by your attitude.  So smile at those who often try to begrudge or hurt you, show them what’s missing in their life and what they can’t take away from you.
  8. Pay close attention to those you care about.  Sometimes when a loved one says, “I’m okay,” they need you to look them in the eyes, hug them tight, and reply, “I know you’re not.”  And don’t be too upset if some people only seem to remember you when they need you.  Feel privileged that you are like a beacon of light that comes to their minds when there is darkness in their lives.
  9. Sometimes you have to let a person go so they can grow.  Because, over the course of their lives, it is not what you do for them, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them a successful human being.
  10. Sometimes getting the results you crave means stripping yourself of people that don’t serve your best interests.  This allows you to make space for those who support you in being the absolute best version of yourself.  It happens gradually as you grow.  You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do.  So you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on.
  11. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  In the end, people will judge you in some way anyway.  So don’t live your life trying to impress others.  Instead live your life impressing yourself.  Love yourself enough to never lower your standards for anyone.
  12. If youre looking for a happy ending and cant seem to find one, maybe it’s time to start looking for a new beginning.  Brush yourself off and accept that you have to fail from time to time.  That’s how you learn.  The strongest people out there – the ones who laugh the hardest with a genuine smile – are the same people who have fought the toughest battles.  They’re smiling because they’ve decided that they’re not going to let anything hold them down, they’re moving on to a new beginning.
Source: “12 Things My Grandmother Told Me Before She Died”, from marcandangel.com

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ten Rules for Being Human


Ten Rules for Being Human

human
1. You Will Receive A Body
You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
2. You Will Learn Lessons
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school, you will have the opportunity to learn lessons – you may like the lesson or think them irrelevant and stupid.
3. There Are No Mistakes, Only Lessons
There is a process of trial and error; experimentation. The ‘failed’ experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately ‘works’.
4. A Lesson Is Repeated Until It Is Learned
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning Lessons Does Not End.
There is no part of Life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
6. ‘There’ Is No Better Than ‘here’.
When your ‘there’ has become a ‘here’, you will simply obtain another ‘there’ that will again look better than ‘here’.
7. Others Are Merely Mirrors Of You.
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What You Make Of Your Life Is Up To You.
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your Answers Lie Inside You.
The answers to Life’s questions lie inside you. All you need do is look, listen and trust.
10. You Will Forget All This.
11. You Can Remember It Whenever You Want