It was time for a facelift…..

Well I hope you noticed my new look.  Of course I’m talking about my blog.  The old blog looked “old” to me and believe me, I have enough “old” around me and on me so I decided to give my blog a facelift.  Wish I could give myself one as easily and I did this.

Speaking of facelifts….a few months ago, I decided our home needed a facelift.  I think it all started with the green door, then it moved to the foyer and into the family room.  After some major convincing of my sweet hubby, we decided to put down hardwoods.  What a difference!  We had it done in the bedroom and his office also.   

Next we painted the walls in the family room and had a wall unit built to house the TV and some of our collections.  Updated the sofa and chairs with new fabric and we still have a few things left to do.  Like a rug under the coffee table and painting the fireplace but this will come in time.

Check out the pictures I have included and give me a shout on what you think.

Painting of aspen trees I did for over the fireplace.

Honey, we need a new home……

Aren’t you glad I finally decided to put up a new post?  I know I am.  Anyway, I tend to get cabin fever in the cold months and want to hibernate.  At least my brain does!

Now that Spring is here, my energy level seems to be picking up.  Speaking of Spring and energy, everything seems to be busy buzzing, chirping, blooming, growing, etc. 

Yesterday I was working on my computer designing invitations to our highschool reunion (45 years) and I noticed these two little birds checking out the columns on our covered porch.  They went from one to the other and finally settled on the one in the corner.  Very well protected from the weather and any predators like cats, etc.

 

I watched them as they brought in sticks, twigs, grasses and vines.  They worked very hard all day until dark.  Then this morning at daylight, they were back again still building their new home.  They fly off together sometimes and then one will come back with material and place it just so.  Then the other will bring something and she (I assume it’s a she) will take it and weave it into the nest.  She will wiggle around and sit in it and move things around until it feels just right.

I can just imagine their conversation a few days ago…She says “Honey, it’s time we built our new home”.  He says, “Why do we need a new home?  The one we had last year is still perfectly good.  Just needs a few more twigs and it will be good as new.”  She says,  But Honey,  we are going to need more room for the little ones and beside that I’m tired of this same old look.”  He says, ” Huh?  Little ones!  Okay, we need to find the perfect place and I think I know where that is.”

As I was watching this yesterday, I thought  wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a nice new clean home every year?  Or would it?  Somehow, I don’t see human husbands being so agreeable.  The conversation would go something like this….she says, “Honey, we need a new home”.  He says, “Have you lost your mind”.

Word of the Year. . . . .

About a week or so ago I was on one of my favorite blogs, Miss Mustard Seed, and her blog was about a having a word of the year.  I was inspired by this and proceeded to talk with Hubby about it.  He agreed and also thought it was a good idea . . . . .  to assign yourself a word of the year to live by.  During our conversation, I immediately came up with Hubby’s word but struggled with mine.  So channeling Dr. Seuss. . . . . .

I thunk and I thunk

and I thunk some more.

I thunk until my thunker was sore.

The word was not coming

It was straining my brain.

When all of a sudden

The word, here it came.

It opened my heart

And opened my ears

It opened my brain

My word of the year.

I’ll use it to love

I’ll use it to hear

I’ll use it to think

This word of the year. 

In case you don’t know, my word in OPEN.  I am starting this year with an OPEN mind to all possibilities.  There are so many things I would like to do in my life that I have not done or have not followed through on.  So I am OPEN to getting more healthy and fit, to renewing my artistic side, to being a better person, friend, mother, wife, sister, etc. and learning to do new things.   

Some are minor and take very little time.  Others may take longer but I’m OPEN to giving them a try. 

When I accomplish any one of these, I will post and let you in on them.

What’s your word of the year?

Kranks meet the Griswolds……

Here it is 5 days until Christmas.  Aaaaaagh!

I had very good intentions this year and the Christmas spirit was with me.  Fa-la-la-la-la…la-la-la-la!  Love all those Christmas songs like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”,  “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”….etc. 

Put up my two trees….got them decorated in record time.  This is the tree topper in family area and some of the ornaments on foyer tree.

If you have seen Christmas Vacation  you know that the Griswolds have a critter in their christmas tree which terrorizes the household.  Well we have our very own critter…namely “Lil Bit”.  She thinks I put this tree up just for her to play in.

 

Next I recreated the wreath for the front door and decorated my pots with topiaries, ornaments and lights.  Yay….moving right along.  Fa….la..la..la..la.

Then I moved on to putting the lights on the bushes.  All was great for about 3 nights and then “lights out”.   This is when the Kranks met the Griswolds.  Called an electrician and he thought he had the problem solved.  We got another 3 nights or so and then “lights out” once again.  Not only have all the lights gone out on the bushes, our porch lights and flood lights are also out.  It’s dark. 

If you know the movie Christmas with the Kranks, then you know what my street looks like at Christmas.  Every house has outside christmas lights.  It’s a sight to behold!   The closer it gets to Christmas, the more cars we see driving through the neighborhood to see the decorations.  I’m sure they think we are “Skipping Christmas” this year. 

I was finally able to get my topiaries lit by running a long extension cord to another outlet and so far so good. 

My brother-in-law thinks it’s the curse of the pot soldiers.  Many, many years ago I made some toy soldiers using large terra-cotta pots and would sit them on my front porch each year at Christmas.  Well a few years ago they blew over during a wind storm and one of the heads got broken.   I painted another one and needless to say it got broken too.  I was able to glue it back but this year when we pulled them out,  it came apart.   It was time to retire the soldiers and we decided not to put them out.  Hence they are angry and put a curse on my lights.

Next year, I hope to get the electrician out to install outlets on a separate breaker box to avoid this problem.

“City street lights even stop lights blink a bright red and green as the shoppers rush home with their treasures….la..la..la..la”

Merry Christmas!!!

I’m Baaaaaack…..

Okay, before I begin posting again I need to make a lot of excuses why I haven’t posted in the last 3-1/2 months.  Hope these excuses work for you.

1.  I broke all my fingers….. (NOT)?

2.  My two cats ate my homework….. (HUH?)?

3.  The summer heat melted my computer and hubby wouldn’t share….. (NOT)?

4.  I went to sleep and just woke up…… (I WISH but NOT)?

5.  I just got lazy…… (PROBABLY).

6.  The last three months are a total blur…… (YES)?

7.  There was a graduation, a wedding, a beach trip and life that got in the way….. (TOTALLY TRUE)!

Did any of these work for you?  I’m trying for some understanding here!!

I’m sure there are many more I could come up with but the real truth is related back to my very first post…PROCRASTINATION…..!  If you haven’t read it, you should and you will understand…I think. 

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with everything in my head,  I just can’t seem to focus and get anything done… so….. I don’t do anything.  UGH…the truth hurts. 

I was talking with my new neighbor yesterday, who has more energy than the  “Energizer Bunny”, and she was telling me about all the projects she has in mind.  I told her I wish I had half of her energy and then she mentioned that she was 34.  EXACTLY!!!  I used to have all that too.   Now I do good if I have the energy to even think of a project!!! 

So this morning I decided I would at least give it one more and try to begin posting again. 

I do have a few projects that are getting underway that I will let you in on as they happen.  Some updating to our home like new flooring,  some furniture painting with Annie Sloan Chalk paint.  The painting of my foyer floor.  A new wall unit to house books, TV, pictures, ironstone, etc.  Maybe a few slip covers. 

I hope those of you who followed me in the past have not given up on me.  I appreciate all your comments and look forward to others.  You can even reprimand me,  I deserve it, but don’t be too hard….I’m sensitive.

‘Til tomorrow, or the next day…..yaaawn….or the…..yaaaaaawn…..pardon me, I need a nap.

I didn’t forget…..

This post is to and for my Daddy who would have been 93 today, May 27. 

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

I didn’t forget to post about you today.  How could I ever forget?  I loved you so very, very much.  We just got back from Atlanta where we attended Katie’s graduation and I didn’t have my computer with me. 

I have been thinking of your birthday all day and wanted to let everyone know what an amazing husband, father, grandfather, son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, neighbor and friend you were.

You left school in the ninth grade to go to work in the Godchaux sugar plant in Gramercy, Louisiana to help support your mother, father, brothers and sisters.  There were 12 children in the household and you were the 3rd oldest with a great sense of responsibility. 

When World War II started, you enlisted in the Army and became a paratrooper in the 101st.  You met Mother in Nashville while stationed at Fort Campbell for training and waiting to be sent overseas.  While over there you got two purple hearts among other medals.  Thank you for your service and fighting for our country and giving Carol and me the best values and life anyone would ever want.

(For those of you who don’t know their story, it can be read at my post Smitten.)

Once back from the war and married and living in Tennessee, you worked for an upholsterer in Nashville and learned that trade.  After moving back to Hohenwald, you began building houses and doing upholstery as a second business. 

Daddy, you were a great builder, if not the best, and people still talk about the houses you built.  They were built to last and you put your heart into each one.  You could do it all from the design, to building, plumbing and electric. 

Once you slowed down with your building and in the last few years before your stroke, you built furniture.  I have several pieces that you built and think of you every time I look at them.

You were the best of best and I am so proud to be your daughter. 

I love you and once again HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

I will never forget!

Sunrise, Sunset…..

I don’t know where the month of May went but wherever it went, it went fast.  I haven’t posted in a while because it seems like I have had something to occupy my every minute this month.  Mostly doctor appointments, etc., guild meetings, and trying to make and finish a tee-shirt quilt for a gift.  Which brings me to the reason I am posting this today.
 
These are words from the song Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof.  I have been humming this song in my head for the last week. 
 
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.
 
Is this the little girl I carried…..
 
When did she get to be a beauty,
When did she grow to be so tall?
 
I don’t remember growing older…..
When did they?
  
The reason this has been on my mind is because three of my favorite young ladies are each entering a new phase in their lives.  One is my great-niece, my sister’s granddaughter and the other two are my nieces on my husband’s side.
 
My great-niece shown here at 2-1/2 to 3-years-old is entering junior high this next school year. Whoa…slow down please. 
  
 
I have never lived close enough to her to take in all that she is involved in but I know she is a fashionista.  She is into fashion and at the age of two told some lady, after looking her up and down, she had “cute shoes”.
 
As you can see in the picture below,  she is now a graceful ballerina but also a tough cookie on the soccer field, volleyball court and basketball court.  I got to see her last year in the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker as one of  Clara’s clowns.  So exciting.  I hope to see her again this year if she gets selected to perform.  Her Mimi told me she was going to try out again.  
 
 
It’s a fun time but also a very confusing time for pre-teens.  Not only their physical appearance but their emotions, etc change at such a rapid pace within the next few years, you are literally afraid to blink.  She is going to make an amazing young lady but it’s happening way too fast.
 
This next young lady is graduating from High School this week and the reason for the tee-shirt quilt.  Where has time gone?  It was only a day or so ago when she moved to Georgia at 6 months old, wasn’t it?  I was there when she took her first bite of salsa and she never looked back.  Also, I remember holding her in my lap while we watched fireworks on the 4th of July when she was about 3.  She had my arms wrapped around her so, so tight.  
 
This picture was taken when she was somewhere around 3.  Notice the pose.
 
 
Who would have ever believed that she would grow up to be 5 ft. 9 in. tall and a total knockout.   She is an amazing young lady and just entering into the real world.  She’s always a fashion plate and has a terrific future ahead.  Notice the pose in this picture.  Watch out world!  Go get ‘em girl!!
 
 
Last but certainly not least is her sister.  This young lady was about 4 when she moved to Atlanta.  I can’t believe she is in her last year of college and getting married in June.
 
Look at this picture!  Does she look old enough to get married?
 
 
She was a great little soccer player and artist.  We have some of her drawings that she did for us when she would visit us on the weekends.  They lived fairly close and would come over sometime during the weekend to watch movies or go fishing in the lake behind out house.  She loved to fish and could put her little fishing pole in the water and would pull out little sun perch.  So cute!  She is still very creative and is taking after her Dad when it comes to photography.
 
This picture shows you what a beautiful young woman she has become along with her future hubby and will make the most beautiful bride.  Best wishes and may your marriage be as wonderful as you are.
    
I know these young ladies will be amazing throughout their lives.  They are so very special to me and my family and I wish them the very best in this next phase of life. 
 
I love y’all.
 
……..I don’t remember growing older…..When did they?   

Shut my mouth……

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As I walked through the doors to the Maury Quilters’ Guild meeting last Wednesday,  my jaw dropped open and I don’t think it closed until time to eat lunch.

We had a guest speaker, Jean Shaw, a well-known quilter and lecturer in the Tennessee area and probably outside of Tennessee.  She is a fourth generation quilter, raised on a farm and taught by her mother and grandmother.  She reminisced about using what ever fabrics were available during that time.  Her favorite thing to do was go with her father to the feed and grain store so she could pick out the sacks they came in.  She knew these would be turned into clothes and eventually into quilts.

She has an accounting and math background and talked about how that affects her planning and construction of quilts.  Her precision and color choices are breathtaking as well as jaw dropping.   Take a look!!!

Another amazing creation…..

For those of you who don’t quilt, paper piecing uses a paper template for each element in one block of a quilt.  In this case for example, each one of the points that makes up the starburst is on a template of paper and a piece of fabric is sewn onto to it and then the next adjoining fabric and so on to create one block.  This helps create the perfect points and really works well to create curves as in the circle of fabrics surrounding the starburst.  Paper piecing is probably my favorite method of piecing a quilt top.

Here’s another…..

The next few quilts are all made from 30′s reproduction fabrics.  These along with batiks and brights are my very favorite fabrics.  The 30′s bring back memories of  my grandmother’s quilts.

These next few are called “scrappy quilts”.  Now when you think of the word scrappy you probably think this can’t be good.  Scrappy means left over and throw away.  Not for quilters.  This is a chance to use those left over fabrics in your stash from other projects and create something like this…..

Aren’t all of these just excellent?  I obviously didn’t show the entire quilt of some because you couldn’t see the patterns and fabric unless I did a close up.  There are so many more that she brought to share but I would be on this post for days if I showed them all.

Someone asked her how many quilts she actually had and she couldn’t give us a number.  She said she decided one day to count them and quit after one closet because had 114 in that closet alone.   Most of them she has made over the years but some (which she doesn’t travel with) were from her mother and grandmother. 

If you ever get a chance to attend a quilt show or go to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, take time to GO!!  You won’t be disappointed I promise.  Each and every quilt is a work of art in color and craftmanship.

For those of you who sew or even those who would like to learn,  if you haven’t attempted a quilt, you should.  It doesn’t have to be a large quilt.  It can be a miniature, crib or lap size.  Think you can’t do it, take a lesson. 

Now that I’ve shared all of this with you I will SHUT MY MOUTH….

Tomorrow you’ll have cake…..

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Is it tomorrow already?  Did you know that tomorrow never comes?  Or in my world, tomorrow may be 4 days later.

Sorry, I promised to post about “the cake” and our Guild meeting on what was supposed to be the next day or “tomorrow”  after my post  Slip Slidin’ Away.   Where did the time go?

Answer…to a doctor’s appointment with my best friend, shopping with her, more shopping with her, lunch the next day with friends and my husband’s Aunt Marty (my Aunt too) and shopping with her, and Saturday to an event with the Quilt Guild (a post later on that), more shopping (just kidding)  and yesterday was “my” day…Mother’s day.  Thank you Awesome son and Hubby for the wonderful card and gift.  You make me feel special.

Those are my excuses and I’m sure I could think of more but then the post title would have to be “Excuses Only”.

Well here is what the cake looked like just before I ate a piece.  Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits and since it is strawberry season,  I thought it would be totally appropriate.

So moist, delicious and beautiful to look at and here is the recipe.  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

STRAWBERRY CAKE

1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1 Tbsp. flour

4 eggs

1/2 cup of oil

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup frozen strawberries (thawed)

1 pkg. strawberry jello

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two round cake pans.

Mix flour, cake mix and eggs until blended.  Add oil, water, strawberry jello and frozen strawberries and mix until thoroughly blended.  Pour into cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes until done.  Check with a toothpick.

Cool cakes completely and remove from pans.  Frost with the following recipe or your favorite.

  Strawberry Cake Frosting

1/2 stick of margarine (softened)

1 box confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup of strawberries (drained)

Mix until blended and fairly stiff.  Spread between layers and frost top and sides.  Good Luck!!!

There you have it.  Hopefully your icing won’t slide off your cake like mine did.  All said and done, I’m sure you will enjoy this.  Sliding icing or not the taste is amazing. 

Next post will be about the beautiful quilts from the trunk show Jean Shaw shared with the Maury Quilters’ Guild.  Whether you are a quilter or not,  you have to see these.  They are works of art!!

Til next time or tomorrow, which ever comes first…..

Slip Slidin’ Away…..

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Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away
 
I know a woman, (who) became a wife
These are the very words she uses to describe her life
She said a good day ain’t got no rain
She said a bad day is when…. the icing on your cake 
Keeps sliding away 
 
I kept thinking of this song by Paul Simon on Tuesday evening while I was icing a Strawberry Cake I had baked.
 
I had baked this cake before and decided I wanted to bake it for our Maury Quilters’ Guild meeting on Wednesday.  We were having a guest speaker and a potluck lunch.  Everyone was to bring something and I had signed up for a dessert.
 
My first wrong move was to bake a round layer cake instead of a sheet cake.  Sheet cake….boring.  Round layer ….pretty.  Did I say pretty?  It was more like…. interesting and labor intensive!  I’ll explain.
 
I put the white cake mix, eggs, strawberries, oil and water in a bowl and beat it up….I mean beat it.  Poured the batter into two eight inch greased and flour pans.   Set them in my 350 degree oven and baked them for 35 minutes.
 
 
 
 
Good Dorine, you follow directions well.  Pat yourself on the back.
 
I let the layers cool, like a good little cook should.  Perfect.  The Guild is going to love this cake and think it is so beautiful when it’s finished, not to mention delicious.
 
Next comes the icing…..  Buttercream with added Strawberries.  YUM.  Remember I have done this before.
 
One box of Confectioner’s sugar, margarine, frozen strawberries and vanilla flavoring.   Then beat it to death or until it submits to looking like it should.  You will be perfect… you will be perfect!!!  Oh sorry, it just has to be perfect.
 
 
Next….I got my icing spatula and started spreading it on the first layer.  Umm, looks delicious.  Then I put on the second layer.  Still looking good.  Icing the top layer now.  Still looking good.  Now the sides.  Done.  Wait…..what’s happening.  No, no, no…..it’s slip slidin away.  The top and sides are sliding down into a puddle around the bottom.
 
I tried to scoop it up and put it back on the cake but alas the same thing again.  What did I do to this icing?  I was sure I followed the directions but maybe,  just maybe I did something wrong.  Blame it on the humidity??
 
 
So I decided to scrape it all off and make another batch of icing,  making sure I follow the directions to a tee.  Be very careful and pay close attention, Dorine.   One more time.  Iced the cake.  Looks good and seems to be “hanging in there”.   I put the cover over the cake and went about enjoying the rest of the evening watching Dancing with the Stars, etc.  Thought I might check the cake during a commercial…. okay you can go ahead and start singing……
 
Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away
 
Yep, here we go again.  It was now about 9 pm and what is a girl to do?  Although, it didn’t look quite as bad as the first time, I couldn’t take this to the meeting!  The ladies, as well as the speaker, would gasp and say“Who made this and what exactly is it?” 
 
Hubby, hoping I would not to take it, suggested that I stop by Kroger and pick something up in the morning.  That’s not me, I can’t do that and feel good about what I take.  I had a Red Velvet cake mix in my pantry (not exactly homemade but close) so I decided to bake it and ice it in the morning.  Okay, I had a plan so I could get some sleep.
 
Wednesday morning when I got up,  I checked the Strawberry Cake and the icing really hadn’t moved anymore.  So I pushed the icing back up the sides and hoped for the best.  Yay!  Woo Hoo!  It stayed put.
 
It made it to the meeting and was a hit.  It was delicious.  I had some left over and was able to share it with Hubby and Awesome Son.  It was enjoyed by all but I’m exhausted.
 
Check tomorrow’s post for the recipe, if you dare,  along with pics of the awesome quilts the speaker shared with us.
 
Til tomorrow….  
 
 
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