A Birthday Remembered…..

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Today, May 2nd would have been my Mother’s 86th birthday.  She was the youngest of 6 children and shared her birthday with one of her brothers who was 2 years older.   

Although she liked for us to remember her birthday each year,  she did not like getting older.  Not so unlike the rest of us I suppose. 

I can remember when she found out she was going to be a grandmother for the first time.  She announced to my sister and I, that she was not ready to be a grandmother.  That was for old people and she definitely had no intention of being called “Granny”.

Granny was someone on the Beverly Hillbillies.  A little dried up lady who hobbled around, stooped over and she was definitely not that.

She fought this tooth and nail.  So the first two grandchildren, my sister’s children, did not call her a grandmotherly name, which suited her fine.  She was simply Violet.

However, I started using the word “Granny” when my son was born. This was a little bit of my mischievous side.  However, he could have called her whatever he wanted but “Granny” stuck.  Of course, by this time she had the experience of being a grandmother and loved it!!

She was a terrific mother and grandmother.  She adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and they could do no wrong in her eyes.  She loved for them to visit with her and Daddy and spoiled them to no end.  It would take at least a week to get them back in shape after spending a couple of weeks with her in the summer.

She had a soft, sweet southern voice and thought the best way to discipline children was to simply talk to them (this was with grandchildren only).  Of course it worked on the grandchildren because like I said they could do no wrong?!  I can hear her now, “Eddie, you mustn’t do thaaaat!”

I miss hearing her voice and seeing her in her cute little blue jeans and blazer, eating her desserts, watching her savour a cup of coffee and the way she said my name….Doooereeen. 

Happy Birthday Mother!

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Hail, Hail……

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There are so many different storms throughout our life and I’ve been through many.

I have seen wind storms blowing trees down, snow storms which were too deep to drive your car in, rain storms that caused large trees and logs to float down a river, thunder and lightning storms which blew bark off of trees but today was a HAIL OF A STORM!!

We were sitting here at the cabin with Favorite Uncle, eating pizza and watching Judge Judy (exciting night), when we hear a low roll of thunder in the distance.  Looking at the radar, we see a large thunder-storm with possible hail a couple of counties away moving our direction.  Not to worry, it’s still a distance away and could miss us.  Then we hear some strange sounds outside like something exploding.

Hubby and I both jumped up because we thought maybe a tree limb had fallen on the garage roof.  We ran outside and saw nothing.  Then it happened again and we thought pinecones were falling off a tree and hitting the propane tank.  Then Hubby yelled  “it’s hailing”  and ran back inside.  Just missed getting hit in the head.  That would’ve hurt, don’t you think? 

Then all hail broke loose!   Huge balls of ice starting falling to the ground. 

When they started falling they were the size of tennis balls.  The sound on our tin roof was amazing.  Scared Lil’ Bit and she ran to the bedroom and hid under the bed!!  Nothing scares her very much so you can imagine how loud it must have been.

Here are the pictures…..

Hubby’s favorite uncle, holding one of the hail stones.

 The size of these stones was unbelievable.

The above pictures were taken about 30 to 45 minutes after the storm.  They had already melted a little, if you can believe that!!!

Through it all Lady Liberty stood her ground and came through it unscathed.

 What a woman!

Talented, Lucky, Weird?…….

Hubby thinks I am all the above, but mostly weird….. especially when it comes to finding four-leaf clovers.

It seems that when we are at our cabin, and the sun is shining…. and I’m outside…. and I’m looking down at the ground…and the clover is tall enough…and this…and that…and few more variables, I find four-leaf clovers!! As I mention in one of my other blogs, Go Ahead, Pinch Me….. I have this weird, lucky, talent for finding them. 

I did just call myself weird, didn’t I?

Three weeks ago when we were at the cabin, I was walking along the sidewalk toward the back door and just happen to look down.  There it was, right in front of me, one four-leaf clover saying “here I am, just what you were looking for”.

 

The season of the witch has started…..oh… I mean the season of counting my lucky clovers or something like that.  I’m really not a witch or if I am, I’m more like Glenda the Good Witch than the Wicked Witch of the West…on most days.

The very next weekend, I spotted a patch of clover while walking out toward the river bank.  Guess what?  I found four (4) more.   Weird!….don’t you think?

I have entered many contests, competitions and even played the lottery a few times.  Nope… nada… nothing was ever won.  You know how the saying goes……”if I had a nickel”……for every four-leaf clover,  I might be a rich girl some day.  Of course I would have to live thousands (1000s) of years…think I will only make it about nine hundred (900) or so.

Today, hubby had to go back home to take care of some business and I followed him outside.  You guessed it, I looked down and there it was…another four-leaf clover.  Hubby’s words were “why do you do this to me?”.  After he left, I started looking again and found five (5) more all in about 10 minutes time for a total of six (6).  I actually found eight (8) but two of them were not in good shape so I left them. 

 

I keep thinking there must be something I can do with this luck, weirdness or talent!?  Got any ideas?  Is there a Guinness World record for this?  Maybe I should try Vegas.

Think I will go out and try my luck again.  Goodbye!

Yummy Memories……

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Growing up in a very small town in the 50’s and 60’s leaves you with so many fond memories of your childhood.  This town was very much like Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show.  Everybody knew everybody and their kids. 

We had our local barber,  pharmacy, dry goods store, five and dime, cafes, shoe shop, etc.  It was a thriving community and spending Saturday afternoon in town was an every week ritual for our family.  We only lived about a mile outside of town but the whole family, grandparents, aunts, cousins, everybody went into town on Saturday night.

Hubby and I grew up in the same small town, so we have some of the same memories of what it was like.  Our elementary, middle school and high school were all connected at that time.  Part of the school was two-story and had huge  windows that would be open on warmer days.  This is where the yummy comes in…….

There was a small pie factory,  Armstrong’s Home Style Turnovers , on land adjoining the school property.  If you were lucky enough to have a classroom on the front of the school building… and it was a warm day….. and the windows were open….and your teacher was in a good mood,  you could smell those pies cooking.   OOOOOooooo…. sniff, sniff…… yummy. 

Our teacher, and maybe this was for themselves as much as the students, would take orders, collect the money and send a couple of students over to buy pies.  The day old pies were a nickel and the hot ones, just out of the oven, were a dime.  That was back when a dime was worth a dime and a nickel was a nickel. 

The flavors were, apple, peach, cherry, coconut, chocolate, pineapple, lemon and  raisin.  We could walk right in the back door, a screen door that slammed shut (love that sound),  and give one of the cooks our order and the money.  What a great afternoon treat that was!  We didn’t get to do this every day but it was so special and such a great memory of my childhood.

Whenever we would come back for a visit, we lived elsewhere for 30 years,  if we found a place that sold these wonderful pies we would have to have one.  We even ran into a friend one time, who was also visiting, and she bought every one  the store had and was going to other outlets to see if they had any.  She has since started ordering them and having them shipped to her and her family.     

The factory was bought and the operation was moved to another town.  They weren’t quite the same but they still had the same wrapper.  That person soon sold it and the next person made a good go at it.  They began to be more like we had remembered and then he sold it.  Finally it sold to someone who got it right.

The wrappers are opaque versus the parchment looking paper it once was, but hey, it’s what’s inside that counts anyway.

Now when we go to our cabin or sometimes when we need to bring a dessert for a get together with friends, we buy  a  bunch of these and savor and devour them.  Mostly we buy them for ourselves and get a little selfish!!!

You are always a hit with a group when you bring these little devils.  We actually used them at our last class reunion as part of the party favors.  What a treasure! 

So here’s to the Armstrong’s Home Style Turnovers…..keep up the good work!!

Threads of Grace……

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A few months back a young lady from a local hospice came to our Quilt Guild and spoke to us about making something out of an item belonging to clients who had passed on.  Our finished product would be given to the loved who had provided the item. 

The program was called Threads of Grace and she brought an example  of what had been made by someone else.  The items provided could be a favorite dress, shirt, robe, blanket, handkerchief, tie,  gown, or pajamas, etc.  She asked for volunteers to sign up and she would give us a call when she had an item.

My call came a couple of months later and she gave me a soft yellow knit robe from an elderly lady.  The lady’s adult granddaughter brought it in along with a picture.

The hardest part to me was the deconstruction of the garment, not only physically but mentally.  What if I got it apart and couldn’t make anything out of it?  How do I make it represent the personality of the person who passed?  A lot of thought went into this and at times I didn’t know if I could do it!

The robe had a small inset satin embroidered collar, zipped up the front, and small scalloped trim on the pockets and sleeves.  After a few days or weeks of studying this,  I decided to make a small pillow with the grandmother’s picture on it and use some of the embellishments to add to it.

For those of you who sew, you know knit is not the easiest fabric to sew on, so the first thing I had to do after deconstruction was stabilize the fabric.  I used a fusible featherweight Pellon and adhered it with an iron on the wrong side of the fabric before I put the scissors to it.I then decided what size pillow I wanted and cut out the front and back of the pillow. 

The next step was to  transfer the picture to fabric using my scanner, printer and Printed Treasures fabric sheets for inkjet printers to create the cloth picture.  Then I sewed the trim to the picture and the picture to the front of the pillow.

 

I knew I wanted to use the embroidered collar in some way,  so here is what I envisioned.   

   

The next thing was to decide what else I needed to add and what to use. 

I love fabric roses and had made several for another project.  The knit fabric, being hard to control because of curling and raveling, gave me the idea to use the hem of the garment.  I cut it off  about an inch above the hem and ran a gathering stitch through it.  That way I had no raw edges on the petals of the roses.

I used the zipper pull to create the antennae of the butterfly and tacked it on with thread and a little Fabri-tac glue leaving the ends loose.  I attached the wings and the body of the butterfly so that it appeared 3-D.  Once all of that had been done, I sewed the back to the front and stuffed the pillow.  Whip stitched the opening and I was finished.

It gave me great joy and pleasure to make this for someone.  I know when my Daddy died, I got all of his ties and made pillows for my mother, my sister and my niece.  I never made one for myself and still have a few ties left.  Someday.

Loblollying!?…….

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Last Friday, before hubby, son and I made our way to Camp Liberty, my BFF and I visited my very, favorite antique shop in Columbia, TN.  This shop continues to evolve and make it a place I could linger for days and never get tired of.  Also talking to Ellen, the owner, and seeing how she puts everything together adds to the experience. The pictures below give you an idea but could never replace a real visit.

The minute you enter “Loblolly” your eyes cannot sit still and neither can your body.  Oh, look over there, no there!  

Ellen, the shop owner, has transformed each room in this old house to a place I would like to live for about 3 days so I could take it all in.   The pictures below, show what an amazing place this is, but surely doesn’t do it justice.

These few pictures are what you see to your left as you enter the house.

The next room I entered, I had to grab my heart and I swear I thought it was going to be the “big one”. 

There it was, but where would I put it and how do I get it?  Hubby doesn’t get it and said “where would you put it?”.  Of course I had an answer, it was something like…”Well, I would have to move this and then move that and….” .

 

This little jewel is covered in burlap and is absolutely adorable.  

There are actually several rooms to see, and will take some time,  but what eye candy!

There’s more.

Onward James!!!…I mean y’all.

Here’s a few more pics and I will save the rest for another post.

If you’re ever in the Columbia, Tennessee area make sure you check out Loblolly.  I promise you it will “knock your socks off”. 

By the way, Ellen is a terrific artist and has a lot of local or semi-local artists’ paintings in the shop.   Maybe I’ll post some of her work later.  It’s amazing.

Spring?….cleaning?….

I have a question to ask of anyone who might read this blog!

Do you have to Spring clean if Spring never arrives?

That groundhog, what’s his name, Colonel something; predicted we would have an early Spring.  Well, I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to get here and I think he may have played a joke on us and it may not show up at all.  

Mother Nature is trying her best to bring in Spring with budding trees and bushes but Old Man Winter is hanging in there.  Just like a man.  If he thinks he’s right, he won’t let it go.

I keep looking for the sun to come out but the closest thing to the sun is this beautiful forsythia bush in my yard.  The color is brilliant, just like the sun.

The red bud trees are in full bloom and the dogwood trees are trying to bloom.

The yoshino cherry trees and ornamental pears have bloomed.  The daffodils have also bloomed.  Where is Spring?  The flowers think it’s here but the temperature and the cloudy skies and rain says no.

Well, I’m going to answer my own question.

The answer is NO, I’m just going to wait until Spring!!!!

Mule Day……What a kick….

Maury County in Tennessee is known for a lot of things such as home of the 11th president of the United States, James K. Polk;  several southern plantations such as Rippavilla Plantation , antique stores, and the infamous week of celebrating the “mule” better known as Mule Day.  Columbia is known as the “Mule Capital of the World”. 

For a week usually the last week of March or first week of April we are transformed into Mule Town.  While driving around town during that week, you will see mules of all sizes, horses, wagons, and even a wagon train.

  

The whole town of Columbia revolves around this celebration for months prior to the “big” Mule Day week and parade on Saturday.  There is a beauty pageant to select the “Mule Day Queen and her court”,  a championship mule is crowned, also liar contests, country and bluegrass music, food and more food,  a 5k run called Mule Day Kick, a flea market, arts and crafts and did I mention food and FUNNEL CAKES!!!

Our local coffee house Buckhead Coffeehouse has a special coffee for the occasion called Hallemuleyah.

Don’t get the idea this is just a local thing, over 200,000 people attend and celebrate the “beautiful” mule.  If you don’t believe me about the “beautiful” thing check out the pictures below.  These pictures were provided to me by my sweet, sweet brother-in-law Mark, who is a fabulous photographer.

Here are a few interesting shots of the highlight of Mule Day…..the parade!

This is all about mules.  There is a mule named “Amazing Grace” who was on national television because of the tricks she could do.  There are pulling contests, hauling contests and various other activities surrounding mules.  Horses, as gorgeous as they are, come in behind the mules, and I mean literally, at the parade.  There are hundreds of mules but everyone who owns a horse for miles around can ride at the end of the parade on their horse or pony.  IT”S A SITE TO BEHOLD!

Best of all, friends and family come to join in the fun.

You should join us on the square and watch the parade.  It’s definitely something you’ll never forget and you can check one more thing off your “bucket list”.

It’s just paint……

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In 2003 we moved from the ever growing and busy Roswell, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) back to middle Tennessee.  Although we miss our friends and our family in Georgia, we absolutely love being back home in Tennessee. 

In our search to find a new home, we lucked upon a new home in a great subdivision with an amazing view.

Of course, although a new home, some things were not our taste and HAD to be changed.  Walls and trim had to be repainted in some rooms, some structural changes in a bathroom to accommodate our son and his needs, but the biggest change was the kitchen.

Golden Oak cabinets and builder beige or white walls are definitely NOT me.  Below are the before pictures. Followed by the outcome after many laborious hours.

After scouring many, many magazines and conferring with my BFF, it was decided that the cabinets would be black and distressed.  I got out the sand paper, palm sander, tack cloth and began the work.

Results after many hours of  SANDING, priming, SANDING, painting and SANDING and painting.

I took the doors off the upper cabinets on one side, which I absolutely love, and stencilled a pattern on the wall inside those cabinets.

Now I needed a tile backsplash.  Didn’t want to spend the money at the time and not really sure what I wanted, so I painted  tumbled tile on the backsplash and over the cook top I made a  faux sculptured tile pattern with sheet rock mud.  No cleaning of grout or chipped tile to deal with!  YAY!!!  Hubby never wants me to change it.  Not sure if  it’s because he likes it so much or just don’t want to spend the money?

I installed bead board around the island and under the bar behind the sink. 

I textured the walls with a thin coat of sheet rock mud, and wiped on two different colors of glaze.  Once I was finished. my right arm refused to work  for weeks on end, but I love my kitchen, and all it cost me was a couple of cans of paint and the use of one good arm. 

I covered up the ugly exhaust vent above the cooktop with an iron fire screen and made linen panels for the windows and hung them from individual hooks to help finish the look.

I had great fun doing this project.  Hope I inspired you!  Patience is one important tool in this redo.  Oil paint dries in its own good time!!

Tag you’re it….

My sweet niece over at Orangie’s Attic  tagged me with posting seven (7) factoids about myself which I’m sure everyone is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to read.  Thank you sweet, sweet niece.  Here goes!

1.  I cannot tie or untie knots in cherry stems with my tongue.  Not something I inherited or even know that I could  have possibly inherited. 

2.  I can no longer HULA HOOP  because the hoop will not fit around my waist!!  Just kidding. Well maybe it will fit but can’t rotate!!

3.  People tend to talk to me anytime and anywhere and tell me their life story.  Especially when I’m in line at Kroger or Wal-Mart.  Even on the phone making reservations at a hotel.

4.  I love going up to my sewing room and spending hours playing with fabric, looking at magazines and sewing up new projects.  Pondering whether I should start painting again or what piece of furniture I would like to slap a coat of paint on.  I’m wanting to decorate an extra room which is used mostly as extra storage right now with emphasis on the word wanting.

5.  I love watching any movie that has Tom Hanks or  Meg Ryan in it.  Sleepless in Seattle and You Got Mail, two of my favorites.  Also Castaway and French Kiss are two more and….. I could go on and on.  Oh! and Forrest Gump.

6.  I can’t wait for vacation every year because it is a mini family reunion.  So much fun and so many hugs and kisses from my niece, and nephews, and great nieces and nephew.  Love, love, love it.

7.  I want to go to Italy and spend about two weeks roaming around the country side and taking it all in.  I also would like to learn the language but I’m not sure you can teach “old dogs new tricks”.  I was in Venice a few years ago for about 5 hours, oh woe is me.  Not enough time!!!

As my niece said, I now need to pass this along to other bloggers.  I don’t know of many that might really take this much further.  That aside two of my other favorite bloggers are The Pioneer Woman and Miss Mustard Seed.  However, if you are a blogger and want to join in, it really is fun, so go ahead.  Tag you’re it!!!