Sweet Pea and Georgina

20190423_115536-1Today on my Youtube video, entitled, Sew Grateful, I shared a couple of finishes.  The idea of sharing them on this blog is to give a bit closer up photos of the projects.

Yes, I have crocheted baby blankets, however, never a big girl blanket.  Lucy at attic24 changed that.  https://attic24.typepad.com/

I will say, the final product is quite pleasing to the eye, the colors fall into the next.  My brain swirled & fell in love with the colors so passionately, I’ve since planted half a flower bed with sweet pea seeds.  Fingers crossed I will be bathed in Grace & colors & sweet scents in a couple months.  Until then, I can wrap the colors around me and dream.

Side note:  Good news, Mr. Right used it to take a nap and he said it works well.

 

Next project, The Georgina Thomson 1895 Sampler. She turned out beautiful and is now complete.  We will be taking to the framers this weekend.  Mr. Right’s grandmother is Georgina.  Listed in the Sampler is her home address where she grew up in Scotland, her name, her birth year, the initials of her 6 children and in the lower case letters, the initials of her 13 Grandchildren.

Finished scottish sampler

I began this piece on March 2, 2019, and completed today, April 26, 2019.  It was stitched on 28 count linen, the color called, White Chocolate.  I used overdyed threads.

Once framed, there will be a written family history explaining the family names, dates, places as well as the information regarding the linen and pattern…placed on the back of the piece.

I shared one other smaller scale project.  My lavender sachets.  I grew and dried the lavender.  Using up bits of leftover linen and thread, I stitch the sachets and add some beads and ribbon as adornment.  I give them as small tuck in gifts or add to a wrapped gift.  Some, I personalize with an initial.

The picture below is the window in my sewing room.  I use lavender as the “curtain”.

20160920_151104_resized_2lavender bundlesHere are some bits and pieces of my sachet making.

It was a pleasure to share my projects today.  Thanks so much for taking an interest in my hobbies.

I will leave you with some backyard spring flowers.

Happy Spring.

In this together, chat soon.

Daleen

two anniversaries

I bet you were thinking I was going to talk about being married 37 years and how we celebrated?  Think again, my dear friend.

(Of course, I will share.   I promise to share how we celebrated and will include snazzy pictures to boot!)

First I want to talk about yesterday.  Our one year anniversary of owning two (not one, TWO) beautiful off WHITE sofas.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I wanted/lusted over/had to have/saved up for/cut out pictures/printed pictures of the perfect, plush, white sofas.

We were previous owners of a beautiful, well-built, lovely legs, navy BLUE sofa.  Actually, we are still guardians of a dark moss-green sofa which still lives in our library.

Our youngest boy went away to college 14 years ago.

It was time.  We could pretend to be grown-ups.  We could actually have a white sofa or two.  Oh, yes we could. 

They were delivered to our home exactly one year ago yesterday.  I know this because I wrote the magnificent date on our calendar.

I will graciously save you all the conversations/smart-aleck remarks/comments that Mr. Right made prior to bringing these beauties home.  Please, don’t come crying to me when you get “fill in the blank” on your new WHITE sofas.

We have the sofas in the great room.  They get used.  I sit and read and yes, drink coffee.  Glorious brown liquid.  I have actually used an orange highlighter pen while reading.  Don’t get the vapors…..I’ve actually enjoyed a glass of Green juice while sitting on the sofa.  The grands have used chalk on the chalkboard covered coffee table and there may or may not have been a “dusting” of chalk on said sofas.

Also, we do indeed have a 14.5-year-old beautiful, extremely hairy (we call dog hair, love) Golden Retriever, named Sweet Liberty.  While she is sweet she is also quite generous in sharing her love.  So, weekly, I am wiping down said white sofas of beautiful golden hair.

However, for the most part, these sofas have not had any major spills or issues.

Until, last night.

The 365th day.

I was in the spa taking a luxurious bath.  A two-hour, salt lamps plugged in (on the counter), bath salts, a lit beeswax candle, steam, organic bubbles swirling, lovely jets of warm water kind of spa.  Weird, I thought I could smell toast…

I had made rustic sesame bread and toasted was amazing.  It did smell like toast.  Um, maybe after my bath I should have a slice of toast?

When I came padding out to the kitchen, all wrapped in a fluffy white robe, I saw the toaster on the counter.  Yum.  Toast sounded perfect.

Mr. Right proceeded to tell me “the” story.  An excellent novel + PEANUT BUTTER toast….. you KNOW where this is going.……………………  reading, relaxing, moved just right and somehow the toast flipped upside down (of course) and SPLAT right on one of the WHITE cushions.

I felt bad for him.   He felt horrible for being the one to flip his toast onto the sofa.

Surprisingly, I was relieved.  We have been waiting for 365 days of when the “Big Spill” would happen.  We both could exhale.  The Grace period for spills had ended.  We could breathe again.

*(Housekeeping note)   Come to find out water and a sponge (and panic and more water and more panic) did an amazingly good job.  The cushion looks pretty darn good this morning.  If when the sunshine comes out to play, in the brighter light, we may need to remove the cover and have it professionally cleaned we can certainly do that.

Oh, and by the way, our other anniversary…..our wedding anniversary was a hoot.  While we usually take in a museum exhibit & fancy dinner or a nice trip or a quiet walk with a lovely seaside lunch………….this year was neither quiet or fancy or stuffy.

 

We went underwater bowling and by golly was it a HOOT.  It was so fun and well-appointed.  The place was spotless.  Other patrons had a great time.  We laughed and had fun. We even ate lunch in the bowling alley bar.  It was surprisingly good & tasty.  The people were so friendly and happy.

 

 

With the exception of the dreadfully unflattering sad bowling shoes, it was a MARVELOUS way to celebrate our favorite day of the year.

I highly recommend it.  (the bowling and marriage)

Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day. Barbara De Angelis

Here’s to great marriages and beautiful, glorious white sofas!

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

PS.  Seriously folks………….while bowling, one CANNOT avoid dreadful……..uninspiring……….not one bit snazzy….. sad bowling shoes.   And another thing………..who came up with the less than stellar idea of printing the shoe size on the outside of said shoes????

I am GRATEFUL that in the everyday world we choose not to print shoe sizes on the outside of our shoes.   See?  Something to be grateful for every single day of our lives.


 

the power of a cookie

Just think how amazed you would be if today, someone handed you a tin of cookies and said, I made these JUST FOR YOU.

That my friend is a powerful expression of love.   Having someone bake for you is remarkable.  It sort of takes your breath away.

You HAVE that power.  It’s easy (6 ingredients), pretty quick, minimal cleanup and the outcome is simply beautiful not to mention melt in your mouth tasty.

20181127_110536-1Last night Mr. Right spent 45 minutes and shelled 1 pound of walnuts.  After shelling, that equals 1/2 pound of glorious, amazingly delicious, wonderful walnuts.   His effort will be rewarded.

Today, I baked the first of the season batch of Christmas cookies.  One of his favorites.

Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, however, I’m one of “those” people.  I write, scribble, put stickers, use jelly markers, underline, highlight and leave notes to myself on the pages of my cookbooks.

On page 65 of a cookie book, I wrote: “this season, I baked 9 batches of these beauties”. Using a red pen, I wrote “heavenly”.   20181127_120053 I gave them 5 stars.  “Melt in your mouth”.  There are hearts and stars drawn all around the recipe.

These are extremely simple cookies with only 6 ingredients.  However, because there are such few ingredients, PLEASE use excellent quality of each.  The results will be so worth the effort.

May I gently suggest you bake a batch for your husband, boyfriend, teacher, neighbor, the weekly group you attend,  a teenage grandchild?  Yes, I wrote, bake a batch for your grandchild.  Write the short recipe out in your handwriting, and offer up a piece of your heart and soul, your family history.  I have two recipes written by hand from my grandmother.  Powerful and simple memento to pass down.

While at work, I like to send Mr. Right a picture of what was baked just for him.  Encourages him to drive with purpose on his way home.  Certainly, a powerful, mouthwatering picture to receive via text or email.

Hurry home, Mr. Right, freshly baked cookies await. Drive safely, see ya soon.

Russian Teacakes.

1 cup of butter ( I use unsalted, French butter), 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon Vanilla (I use Cooks’s choice), 2 1/4 cups flour (I use unbleached), 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use Maldon Sea Salt), 3/4 cup chopped Walnuts (Freshly cracked tastes amazing)

Heat your oven to 400*.  Mix butter, powdered sugar, and the vanilla.  Stir in the flour, salt, and nuts.  Shape dough into balls.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 9 minutes.  Roll in Powdered sugar while warm; cool.  Roll in powdered sugar again.

20181127_124918-1 (1)

 

…..and so the baking season of love and goodness begins.   Love to hear about your favorite holiday cookie to bake.

In this together, friends, Happy Baking.

Chat soon.

 

Five minutes

When I was a young teenager, I had my first (of six) knee surgeries. I was in the hospital for 21 days.

metal puzzleAs you can imagine, I have had this swirly brain forever, so to keep me occupied, some kind person gave me a set of metal puzzle gizmos.  I worked on those for minutes, hours which fell into days.  Not all the time, just five minutes here, five minutes there.

44 years later, in my mind, I can conjure up the feel of the metal in my hands.  My fingers flying to figure out the secret to the puzzle. I bet if someone handed me one of those today, I could figure it out in a matter of moments.

I was delighted with a present and the challenge was just what I needed, however when  I say, “kind person” I think the gift was more for my mother.  With the exception of driving my sisters to and from school, running home to make dinner, she was in my room 7 days a week for the majority of the day, every day.

My brain teaser puzzles gave her, 5 minutes of peace and quiet.

Five minutes.

Five glorious minutes to go put fresh lipstick on.  Maybe she went for a break and got a cup of coffee?  Maybe she read an article in the newspaper without someone pestering her? Maybe just maybe she bought a Pepsi and poured it into a coffee cup (young ladies do not drink soda)?  Maybe she just sat and stared out the window and didn’t have to listen to a somewhat chatty teenager?

What could you do in Five minutes?

File your nails, walk outside for some fresh air, watch a bird take a splashy bath, take off your shoes, rub your feet & walk on some freshly mown grass?  There are a million things we all could do with five glorious minutes.

Our friend’s father has dementia. Because of paperwork, he is not yet settled into a new assisted home.

Often times, seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may show signs of anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands.  Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort. 

No, I did not give a set of metal puzzles.

I made and gave a Fidget Quilt.20180817_161103-1

(Housekeeping:  I used 6-inch squares backed with fusible fleece. I backed and bound with pre-washed flannel.  I used ribbon, velcro, zipper, rope, rick-rack, buckle, coins under vinyl, elastic, shoelaces, curtain rings, trim, buttons, drop cloth, faux leather, sequins, velour, cotton, flannel fabrics and a tie.  All machine pieced and machine quilted.  The binding was stitched twice for strength.)

Some folks call them Busy Quilts or Fidget Blankets.  Lap size, no batting, all sewn by machine. Then sewn once more for good measure. All safe/harmless items, lots of texture and by the time it was finished, the quilt had some weight to it.  When I put it on my lap, I took a deep breath, very calming.

His family is hurting.  The “M” family has taken a hit and gosh does his wife NEED five minutes.

I made this quilt for a gentleman to occupy his busy hands and mind.  More importantly, I made this quilt for his wife.  With every stitch, I was thinking of her.  I was lifting her up.  The hours ticked by while I was sewing, measuring, creating.

 

I was praying it would give her FIVE MINUTES.

 

Five minutes to breath deeply. Five minutes to step outside and stretch.  Five minutes to pour herself a cup of coffee.  Five minutes to answer the door.  Five minutes to read a card from a friend.  Five personal moments to let her guard down and collect herself.

All forms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s are rough, some would say cruel to the family and friends.  My heart breaks.  Yes, I prayed for them.  Then I got to work.  I wanted to help.  I wanted to give FIVE MINUTES of rest to his caregiver.

There are several pictures on Google images/YouTube/Pinterest all with ideas for creating this type of sensory blanket.  Many have bright, childlike colors, lots of patterns, some silly and goofy.

 

Many folks often say, “oh, he won’t know/care what colors you use”.

His wife will.  His son will.  His family and friends will.

I chose to make a Fidget Blanket that was respectful of a life well lived.  I chose colors and patterns that would be of interest to his grandchildren and visitors. I chose items and patterns to invoke conversation of visitors.  I wanted to create something manly, dignified, befitting a man who worked his whole life and took care of his family.  I wanted something calming and yet interesting at the same time.

44 years later, goodness has come full circle.  I can finally give back those precious FIVE MINUTES of peace.20180817_160839-1

This disease is dreadful.  God Bless the families and friends walking through the fire.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

August toss, continues

FB_IMG_1534171410548One of my first thoughts this morning, Happy Birthday to our 14-year-old Golden Retriever, Sweet Liberty!   Shhhh, there is a beautiful steak in the refrigerator with her name on it!  Such a sweet, wonderful companion, worthy of celebrating.

One of my other thoughts was, today, I will go through the “emergency” candles.  We all have them.  That basket you keep with dinged, stained or marred,  once beautiful candles? Oh, I should keep that in case the electricity goes out.  Okay, my basket of “emergency” candles is spilling over.  Time to toss.

Wait.

Idea.

Instead of tossing 3 candles, I went outside in my jammies.  I peeled some bark from our white Birch tree.  Came indoors, plugged in the glue gun.  Cut some felt circles for the bottom of each candle.  Glue gun ready to go.

To sum up, I went from having 3 things to toss today to 3 beautiful candles ready for fall decorating.

20180813_101339-1

Off to find something else to toss today.  (You now have a better understanding of how my brain swirls continually with ideas.  Getting things done/finished some days is tricky.)

How goes your August toss?

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

 

WIP wednesday

I have a cross stitch finish this week and 3 or 4 works in progress.

First, my finish.  I stitched it on a piece of scrap 36 count linen, using my new Yoctosun jewelers magnifying glasses.  36 threads to an inch are tiny to my eyes!

I used the moth motif from the pattern “a walk in the woods” by The Cricket Collection.

I didn’t have any phusis (means “nature” in Greek) pins, so I used a sewing pin instead.

I just love the seventh-grade biology “feel” of this project.  Makes me smile.

 

Next piece is a housewarming gift.  It was the second time and hopefully many, many more to come, I chose to work with Silk thread.  Oh, la la.  Such a beautiful medium.

20180706_214851-1_resizedI stitched the piece on 28 count evenweave. I found this pattern on Etsy.  Paid and printed.  Such a charming shape.

Then I passed it along to my friend, unfinished.

She is an expert at searching Vintage shops and thrift stores for old, crusty, beautiful, great character frames.   Then we will put it all together and give to the new homeowners.  We both get to sign the card.  I love being part of a collaborative project to create such a wonderful gift.

My other work in progress is “Awake My Soul” by La-D-Da.  I am stitching on the palest of blue, 28 count evenweave.   I ran out of thread and it has been ordered.  I am working around those spaces.  I am toying with the idea of adding initials throughout to turn this into a family sampler of sorts.

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Here’s to creating beautiful things.  I would love to see what you are creating with your hands.  It will be our own private “Show n Share”.

Except when you have to get out the seam ripper and undo a few stitches, may you stitch your stress away.  🙂

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

tap, tap

As I was driving to my friend’s house to pick her up for a coffee date, I reminded myself out loud, “Don’t stay too long, she is still in pain and a long coffee date might not be beneficial”.  Well, something along those lines.

Basically, Don’t talk too much!

….famous last words.

You see, she is recovering slowly from two broken arms.  Yes, you read that correctly, TWO. I was anxious to see her, I just didn’t want to tucker her out.

Side note:  we are fortunate to have a brand new car.  Saturday, before our coffee date, I practiced driving, parking and changing lanes etc.  I wanted to make sure I could do a good job of taking my friend out for coffee. 

Thanks to Mr. Right, you KNOW the gas tank was full, the car spit spot clean, sparkling inside and out.  You already guessed he made sure I had extra spending loot and he told me to drive safe.

Their home overlooks a huge park where they hold summer festivities.  This time it wasfircrest park a ginormous car show with oodles of people everywhere and not a parking spot in sight.

My friend and her husband were out on their sidewalk waiting for me to pull over.

Anyway, we excitedly said hello, she got in and situated.  Her husband helped her and made sure she was comfortable.  I passed him some fresh eggs and we were set to go.  He told me to drive safe.  He closed the passenger door and tapped the roof two times.

tap, tap.

Off we went to the coffee shop.  Dang, I love that girl.  We have been friends for 44 years.  No, that is not a misprint.  Yes, we have been friends that long.  She has always been a beautiful blond who defies the traditional blond jokes.  There is no joke about how intelligent she is. That girl is wicked smart with a side of humor.  Oh yeah, I am lucky to have her in my tribe.

iced latteWe enjoyed coffee and shared a treat between talking and talking and talking.  At one time, I had a faint, fleeting thought, “keep it short this time”.  Then I asked how her daughter was and she mentioned they had set the date for their wedding…………….well, settle in folks.   I hadn’t seen a smile on my friends’ face like that in ages!

Happily, down the wedding rabbit hole, we went.

Okay, it really was time to wrap it up and get her home.

I was sad to hug goodbye.   Like we always do, we promised each other we would do it again soon.

I phoned Mr. Right to tell him I was headed home.

As I drove home, like a good ending to a Sherlock Holmes movie,  our coffee date replayed in my mind…. going over details, reliving the goodness.

In my mind, I heard it again.

tap, tap.

Earlier when I heard that, it didn’t register.

tap, tap.

That was her husband’s rough, huge, tough, capable hand on the top of our car.  He’s probably done that over a thousand times in his life.  He was a marine, in Vietnam.  He was a firefighter. He was a paramedic.  He has put so many people in helicopters, ambulances, and aid cars, that he most likely can’t remember the number of times.

I would venture to guess, he doesn’t even think about it.

tap, tap.

beach-sand-heart-wallpaper-3The other day, another friend mentioned that when she sees married couples who seem to be happy and thriving in their marriage she asks them, “What’s your secret?”

PSSSSSSST!          I know one of the secrets.

tap, tap.

You know that moment in a wedding ceremony when you promise to love, honor and cherish?

He cherishes her.

The word cherish is a verb and it means to protect and care for (someone) lovingly. 

When he taps the door or top of the car, he is letting the driver know that the passenger is safe, protected and ready to be transported.  ……….Take care of this woman because I cherish her and now I am entrusting that you will protect her while she is with you.

That man cherishes his wife.

You can see it.  You can feel it.

During this time of her having two broken wings, it is a little more noticeable to the rest of us.  He irons her clothes, cooks and cleans and wait for it……he washes her hair.  Swoon, is there anything more sensual, personal and wonderful than when your man washes your hair?  SWEET JUNIE MOON!

If you would like an excellent, well-written book on the topic, I highly recommend the book, “Cherish”.   The author is a childhood friend, Gary Thomas.  https://www.amazon.com/Cherish-Word-Changes-Everything-Marriage/dp/1531834256

So, to answer the question “what is the secret to a thriving, loving, happy marriage”? I am pretty sure one of the answers is to cherish your spouse.

How do I know?

I witness it through watching my friend and her husband.

I witness it through my brother in law and sister in law.

I live a life of feeling cherished every single day and I cherish that man I call Mr. Right.

tap, tap

In this together, friends,

chat soon