Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Stuff and Nonsense

Did you think I was never coming back?  I was beginning to!  When I last posted I told you I had surgery on my right hand.  At that point I was looking l like this:

When that came off I looked like this (warning - might be a bit graphic):

Actually, I thought it looked pretty good!  You can see that on the finger the surgeon made a V cut so that the scar tissue wouldn't hamper movement.  That finger got a plastic joint.  The thumb, though, got a ligament from my wrist rolled up and put between the bones to form a cushion.

All the redness is gone now and the scars are already white and fading.  I have no pain in those joints any more but unfortunately my grip is not up to par yet.  I couldn't make a fist before and still can't make a good one now but it's better than before for sure.  I'm even able to open some jars now if they aren't too stuck.  :)

Of course this limited my stitching so I've done what I could - which oddly enough was more cross stitching than anything else.

On the sewing front I've made about 20 of these project bags - several of which I have given as gifts to my stitching friends:

They are pretty large - about 12 x 14 - and the tutorial is from Vonna Pfeiffer, The Twisted Stitcher.  These are perfect for holding everything I need for a wool applique or cross stitch project.  And speaking of wool applique, we were weren't we?, my sister sent me this pattern from The Buttermilk Basin that I've been wanting!  I can't wait to get this one ready for stitching!

It's just beautiful when you see it all stitched.

I also finished a couple of cross stitch ornaments:

This one is Roly Poly Santa by Robin Laukhuf of Olde Willow Stitchery Threads and was in the 2016 Christmas-Winter Magazine.

And this one is Eve of St. Nicholas by Lori Markovic of La-D-Da and is in the 2015 Christmas Punch Needle and Primitive Stitcher Magazine.  I've done a couple of others too but they are either on the tree or in some decoration I've done!

I also took a short trip with my sister to see her daughter, my niece, in Austin, TX.  Our path took us through Waco, TX so we made a little side trip to see:

The Magnolia Market - the shop you've seen on Fixer Upper on HGTV,  designed and built by Chip & Joanna Gaines.  If you don't watch HGTV you won't understand this.  :)  We went on a Saturday, which I will never do again because there were literally hundreds of people!  But she sure had some pretty stuff.

And one last cross stitch piece you might enjoy:

Santa's Workshop is by Bonny Woomer of The Nebby Needle and this one was also in the 2015 magazine I mentioned above.  It took some searching but I finally found an old rusty skeleton key to add to it and this is probably my favorite piece I've stitched this year.

And here's wishing you the key to Santa's Workshop and lots of love and laughter during this season.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

An Eventful Month

It started with this...

I had surgery on my right hand on September 6.  Arthritis has taken a toll on my joints and I was down to bone on bone in a joint at the base of my thumb and in my middle finger.  Add in bone spurs and a cyst in one of the joints and the pain was awful.  Worse than that, I couldn't sew.

The surgeon replaced the joint in the middle finger with a plastic joint.  For the thumb joint he took a cartilage out of my arm that he said I didn't need, rolled it into a ball, and put it between the bones as a cushion.  It should last about ten years.

Prior to surgery he said he would bandage the hand for two weeks before putting on splints.  Ya'll, that's no bandage under that's a cast!  I was not prepared....

At two weeks I graduated to this...

I get to take it off three times a day for hygiene and exercise.  And I have PT three times a week.  I have affectionately renamed it.  Instead of Physical Therapy I call it Pain and Torture.

I have a couple of more weeks in the wrist splint, but longer in the finger one.  The finger hasn't healed as quickly as we hoped.

On another note, today is my birthday.  I'm 70 years old, which is officially old.  Now don't go telling me I'm only as old as I feel.  Take a look at that hand and guess how old I feel.  In honor of the day I tried to take a selfie to mark the day.  After deleting 17 blurry pictures of my chest, my ear, and the wall hanging behind me I finally got one.  It agrees with my 70 being old observation.

Observations on being 70:
1.  My hair has gotten a little curly.  After wondering for 50+ years how my daughters both ended up with curly hair, now I know.
2.  I'm really just now getting wrinkles.  Genetics matter.
3.  Never feel smug about not having hot flashes.  Eventually they come to us all.
4.  Eat cake first has a lot to be said for it.
5.  I rest a lot more these days.  I take mini naps.  I don't mind either of those things.

And, after me praying for a good while and them resisting, my grandson and his wife brought me this a couple of days ago...

Great-grandmother.  That's me.  Well, at the end of April that's me.  A new adventure!

I did some stitching before my surgery but nothing is finished so in a couple of weeks I'll be back to show those.  This two finger pecking to type is not fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Zucchini Relish Anyone?

Last week my friend and neighbor cooked supper for Jerry and I - she brought pinto beans and rice and cornbread, a real southern meal!  She also brought some zucchini relish to put on our beans.  Her aunt had made it and given her a jar so she shared with me.  It was so good I requested the recipe and made it today.  It would be delicious on anything you use sweet relish for.  Would you like the recipe?

12 cups diced zucchini (she used a food processor but I used a Vidalia Onion Chopper)
              ( I used 6 pretty large zucchini, which ended up being just over 12 cups)
4 cups diced onion
2 green and/or red peppers, diced

Mix this together and stir in 5 Tablespoons canning salt.  Mix well and let stand overnight.  (I left mine about 4 hours).  Drain and rinse well in a colander.  Add this to a pan containing:

2 1/2 cups vinegar
4 cups sugar (you could add more but it's really sweet with just 4)
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 Teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 Teaspoons celery seed
1/2 Teaspoon black pepper

Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  I water bath canned this for 15 minutes for my altitude.  It made about 72 ounces.  You can use pint jars but I chose the 4 oz jars because we don't eat that much at one time and I thought these would be a good size to give away.  I also added a teaspoon of diced jalapeno pepper to some of the jars (after I marked the lid!) for my husband.  He loves a little heat but I don't.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rain, More Rain, and Rainy Day Activities

It's been raining here since noon Sunday and, according to the weather channel, it will continue to rain through next Sunday.  Since we live on a small lake we watch that pretty closely.  Our water is up but not dangerously so.  I find it hard to get motivated to complete my chores on rainy days - I'd much rather sit and read a good book.  But some things don't wait for me to get motivated!

A local grocery store had bananas on sale so I'm dehydrating 4 trays of them.

Yes those are really bananas and yes, they are really white, aren't they?  I put them in a citric acid solution as I cut them up so that they won't turn brown but these have stayed especially white.  I'll store these in mason jars and will seal the jars with my Food Saver.  Later I'll be able to rehydrate them and use them to make banana bread, or we'll eat the "banana chips" as snacks.

I've canned peaches today too.

These were really beautiful peaches that I found at the grocery store.  The sign said $1.48 a pound but at checkout they rang at $.88 a pound....wish I'd bought more!  They were quite large and had no blemishes so 20 peaches made 8 pints.  These will make great cobblers this winter.

And I finished another patriotic pillow this week too.

I love patriotic patterns and have made several now, but I still have more I want to stitch.  I'm doing a collection I guess...I'll probably put them in a basket in my sun room when I have enough to fill it up.

And finally, school has started here in Arkansas.  Out of my 8 grandchildren I have one who is a junior in college this year, 2 who are seniors in high school, one tenth grader, one fifth grader and one second grader.  Two of my grandchildren are already out of school and working, and one of them, if I have my way, will sometime in the next year or two be starting a family.  I'm ready for a great-grandbaby.  :)  Of course, that grandson hasn't yet agreed to the whole baby thing but he's been married for three years now so I'm sure he'll be ready soon!

What do you do on rainy days?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Boiling Eggs

I bought a dozen eggs yesterday.  Well, actually, I bought 4 dozen because Walgreens has them this week for 69 cents a dozen and they let me buy 4 dozen.  They aren't organic, or cage free, which I usually buy, but for 69 cents I just couldn't pass it up.  Today I boiled a dozen.  That's right...I bought them yesterday and boiled them today.  Everyone knows fresh eggs don't peel well so I rarely ever do that.  But just look at these!

Every single one of them peeled perfectly.  Every.  Single.  One.  How did I do it?  Here's how:

You'll  need an electric pressure cooker, one cup of water, and the eggs you want to boil.  Put the water in the pressure cooker.  Put a rack in the bottom and the eggs on the rack.  Pressure on fish/vegetables/steam for six minutes.  That's it.  I will never boil eggs again!

These will become deviled eggs later today.....who knew I could get so excited over boiling eggs!

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Summer of Sadness

I sit in my bedroom looking out on the beautiful lake just beyond our seawall.  There's a breeze blowing, not a cool one, but at least the air is stirring.  Flowers bloom, ducks paddle by, and birds light on my patio screen peeping in at me.  Inside my heart is breaking at the news of yet another senseless act of violence.

I remember well when the word murder was spoken so seldom that I was startled when I heard it.  Now it's not just one or two but 32, 49, 27 people.  Crazy numbers created by crazy people and shoved down the throats of those of us who abhor hate and violence in all forms.  People are killed because they are gay, or black, or wearing a blue uniform, or are too old to defend themselves, or are too young to know they should be at home in their beds, or because they are children sitting in a classroom or because they were in a mall at the wrong time.

And the violence isn't just physical, but verbal as well.  We hurl accusations at people because someone's speech writer didn't give credit to someone else's speech writer for words that have been spoken or thought by thousands of Americans before them, or maybe it's because their designer coat cost more than my first house and the opposition's dress cost less than my weekly grocery bill (and maybe we're just jealous because we don't have that beautiful coat or dress!), or because someone's e-mail was leaked as if any e-mail is ever safe from prying eyes.  The f word is used like it's everyday common language and it sickens my soul.  We hate each other, or act as if we do, because our political views are not the same, or our forefathers committed acts of atrocity that we never had a part in, or we grew up thinking one sin was worse than other sins, and other people's sins were somehow worse than our own.

When will we ever learn that love is the only answer to a world full of hurting people?  Can't I love you and you love me and can't we live in peace raising our children to do the same?  Can't you worship in your own way and even though I don't understand, can't I respect it and you?  And can't you do the same for me?  Can't we teach our children to respect all people, no matter their annual income or their gender or marital status or their religion or their address or their skin color or what kind of uniform they wear?

Recently my husband and I traveled through Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria.  We've been to England and Ireland and Israel and Mexico and Canada.  And you know what?  Every country we've been in is filled with people just like me.  And just like you.  Men and women and children getting up in the morning, eating breakfast (and some not having breakfast to eat), going to work and school, kissing their children and hugging their wives or husbands, patting their grandmother's head, living their lives.  Just like me.  All of those countries...full of people, just like me.

I know, I know....there are sick people out there who commit unholy acts.  But those unholy acts start small.  They start when another kid in class bullies them, or when they aren't chosen for a job because of the color of their skin or because they couldn't afford to dress well for an interview, or when they're excluded from the "in crowd" or people who profess to love their neighbors look right through them and see only their "sin."  They start when their parents tell them they don't have to respect the principal or the teacher or the policeman.

I don't care if you are Democrat or Republican, but honestly I wish I didn't know which of those sides you were on.  I don't care if you are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or no religion at all, but I wish I could only know that by your actions, and I wish that all of those beliefs resulted in the same kind of actions....loving your neighbor.  I don't care if you are black, hispanic, asian, or caucasian.  I don't care if you are gay or straight or something else entirely.  My faith tells me that God made you in His image and you are, therefore, beautiful.  I will try always to treat you that way and if I don't then you have my permission and my encouragement to call me on it.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer in Arkansas

Angel Wing Begonia

Some kind of day lily - not sure about this one!

This Easter Lily is going to be a really, really, really late bloomer!


And even the herbs are loving this heat!






The lemons are growing quickly!

And Grandma's Rain Lily just keeps on and on blooming.

It's a hot, hot summer day in the south ya'll.  Time for a tall icy glass of sweet tea!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hot Summer Days

It's so hot here during this time of year - well, I suppose the heat wouldn't be so bad if the humidity wasn't so high but it sure makes it hard to breathe when you're outside.  My poor husband is the one who does the watering of our plants and it takes a good hour so he comes in dripping wet, and not from the sprinklers!

I finished another small patriotic piece last night.

I'm not sure what I'll make this into - I have a ton of small pillows and a couple of patriotic door hangs so I'm looking for something different.  Any ideas?

I was in WalMart a couple of days ago and they had school supplies out and some already on sale!  They had the small notebooks, not spiral ones but the old fashioned kind with a paper binding, on sale for 50 cents so I bought four.  No thoughts except they were cheap and who doesn't love a new notebook.  I've made covers for two of them and will do the other two the first of the week.

We went to the Farmer's Market Saturday and I picked up some tomatoes, okra and zucchini.  The tomatoes are so wonderful right now and the zucchini were beautiful.  Thankfully there are two or three organic farmers there so I feel pretty comfortable buying from them.  I made zucchini bread that was from a recipe I found on the internet and it was pretty good but I think next time I'll add a little crushed pineapple to it.  That sounds good to me.  I also tried a new recipe today for Zucchini Gummy Candy.  The verdict is out on that so I'll  let you know.  Just in case you want to try it here's how:
4 cups zucchini, cut in 1" squares (take the seeds out before cutting)  (I used 5 cups)
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar or splenda
2 pkgs Kool Aid (no sugar added)
Boil the water, sugar and Kool Aid, add the zucchini and boil for 30 minutes.  Drain and put in dehydrator until the zucchini is leathery, not crisp.  It took about 12 hours for mine today, and it's a bit sticky.  I think since it's supposed to be candy it's not quite sweet enough.  Next time I'll up the sugar a little.

We're having a family weekend - all the kids and 6 of the 8 grandchildren.  That doesn't happen often!  I think there will be 15 of us....oh my.  I'll let you know how it works out.  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More This and That

I forgot to tell you in my last post that my husband and I have been on vacation!  We aren't big travelers but we did something unusual for us and took a Danube River Cruise.  We began in Budapest on the AmaViola - what a beautiful city and what a beautiful boat.  This is my favorite picture from Budapest, taken on our night river excursion.

I believe this was their Parliament building though, to be honest, after a while the buildings began to blur on me.

My second favorite place was the Benedictine Monastery in Melk, Austria.  It was founded in 1089 and reminded me of Downton Abbey, only way, way bigger!

I believe they said one wing had 60 bedrooms - necessary because visiting dignitaries and royalty traveled with an entourage!

Another favorite place was Schonbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Hapsburgs, who reigned in Austria for over 600 years.  Gold leaf was, apparently, quite popular among the royalty of that time!

I have no idea where this was taken - can't remember - but you can tell we were enjoying ourselves.  :)  My husband's faithful hat has traveled everywhere with him.  He isn't supposed to be in the sun and it was blazing hot that day.

We cruised from Budapest up to near Munich.  Slovakia, a country I've seldom heard of, was quite beautiful, by the way.

When I got back home my flowers were blooming like crazy.  My vegetables could take a lesson from them!

This angel wing begonia was given to me by a dear friend at least 20 years ago!

This lemon tree was a Mother's Day gift this year - I might actually get lemons from it!

And this Mandevilla was a gift last year - we wintered it inside of course.

Since it's summer and other people's gardens are actually producing I'm still doing lots of this:

Monday, July 11, 2016

This, That and The Other

It's been really hot here for the last two or three weeks, maybe longer.  And we've had no rain for a couple of weeks, so my "garden" hasn't done well.  We only have a few containers on our deck but the past couple of years they've done pretty well.  This year I planted 2 cucumber plants and I've harvested...get ready for cucumber!  And it's pretty pitiful looking.  :)  This isn't it - I found this online - but it looks a lot like this.

Hmmm...two cucumber plants cost about $7 so it's a pretty expensive cucumber!

I also planted two squash plants and I've gotten three squash, but it does have a few babies so maybe there will be more.

But the tomatoes are looking good and my herbs are growing and growing and growing.  I've harvested and dehydrated big batches of basil, cilantro, thyme, and stevia.  I have several others that I'll be storing pretty soon - oregano, mint, rosemary, lemon balm.

I've gotten some finishing done on a few cross stitch pieces and I'm adding to my little pillow collection these two:

And another patriotic piece I did as a door hanger...

I apologize that I don't have the designers to tell you - I've reorganized my patterns and wouldn't you know, can't remember right now where I put the already-stitched ones!  :)  However, I can tell you that the following spool is by Milady's Needle.

The pattern shows a small pincushion on the top but I'd rather use it as a scissors keep so I'm leaving it plain.  I have one other of her patterns that goes on a spool too so I'm anxious to get it stitched up.

I'd like to add a small rusty jingle-type bell to the bottom of the 1776 piece but I can't find one.  I read somewhere that Hobby Lobby has them but I've looked there and can't find any.  Anyone know where I can find them?

I have some other things to tell you but I'll be back in a few days to do's my bedtime!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I'm Trying Really Hard....

I'm trying really hard to get back to blogging, but this time of year is full of things to do and I feel a bit like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland....running here and there yelling, "I'm late, I'm late!"  I've done a bit of this:

And the flowers have to be tended to:

I had some aprons I wanted to "decorate" and gift to friends and family.  These were aprons I bought half price at Hobby Lobby, and just added the embellishments to.

These weren't pressed yet but I think they're pretty cute and will be a big hit!

I've also done some spring cleaning - all the blinds and windows, pantrys and closets.  I'm not showing you those but trust me, they're clean.  :)

I finished the stitching but not the finishing on this cross stitch piece.

And just yesterday got the last hand stitching done on this Independence Day pillow.

I've probably made a dozen of these but everyone who comes by my house wants one so I only have this one left right now!

In my cleaning frenzy I found a couple of old pictures that I'm going to put on here for family primarily but you might enjoy them too.

This was the one and only time in my life I ever had a birthday party - I was 5 and wanted desperately to be a cowgirl.  This little outfit was my gift.  :)

This is a picture of my parents I believe right after daddy got home from WW II.  I look a bit like my mother I think.

This is a picture of my husband and I with our three "kids."  The one standing by her daddy is the oldest, the one standing next to her brother is the middle child, and the boy is the "golden child" as his sisters call him.  He was a late baby born when they were 8 and 11.  What do you think?  Do I look like my mother?