Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Short update

We are in the middle of the changes I mentioned earlier. We are having to let our farm go back, and, as a result, will be moving. There are still some procedures and processes that we have to go through, but hopefully things will continue to work out at least as well as they have so far. I am also gong to be changing jobs, as of this week! So no more long commute for me, although my trade-off is going to be a way more irregular schedule. This does come with a higher paycheck and I will be gaining money from not having to spend 2 hours per day on the road x 5 days/week. I am hoping the pluses will outweigh the minuses for the new job.

Have been trying to pack and go through 26 years of accumulated "stuff/junk"!!! I have been donating and throwing away a lot, but some things I'm just not ready to get rid of yet. This has been made worse by the fact that Kerry and I had a flea market booth for a several years. We had been to auctions and acquired some pretty nice things that never made it to the booth or had not found a home by the time we closed it down last year. I'm having a hard time letting the nicest of these things go, because I keep thinking I could sell them on Ebay or Etsy if I ever had time. So I am packing the nicest items up to try to do that later. We don't live in a good place to have yard sales, even if my present work schedule had allowed it. The new place we are moving to is not really either, although it would be better than where we live now.

The next few weeks will be moving and transitions from this job to another and from our home of 26 years almost to a new older home. I was having a hard time with letting this house go at first, only because Kerry and I built almost all of it ourselves and my Dad did almost all of the cabinet work. I have reached the point where I am ready for all this change to be over and done with, so we can start adjusting to our new place.

I know Kerry was past ready for all the headaches with the farm to be over. Hopeufully, we will have more time to spend with the grandbabies and to go camping some. I do need to get some pictures of our newest grandson, Sam, on here. I have posted on Facebook, but will here, as well, since some might not be on Facebook.

Wanted to get an update posted. More to follow later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


are on the horizon. I can't really say a lot about them right now, but hope that they will be the beginning of some good times, the end of some bad ones and the way to answered prayers. This transition time will be difficult as will just changes themselves for me. I'm not one to love change so am having to make myself think of the "who moved my cheese" philosophy and what that little book meant to me. We were supposed to read it at work, as some kind of administrative motivational propaganda but I had already read it when my daughters had to read it at school. The message for me was, although I might feel safe in my familiar little world, being forced to leave what I know and venture out to search for the "cheese" could lead me to rewards only imagined. The journey may be scary because I won't have a GPS telling me when and where to turn. Provisions may be scarce at times but I do know my Father will always provide what I need. I hope to look back at where I was and be amazed that I was ever afraid to venture on.

We are in the middle of getting ready for this new part of our lives. At the same time, amazingly it seems, life still goes on. Everyday tasks must be performed. Jobs and the associated stresses must be dealt with. Holidays approach and we try to decide how we are going to incorporate them into a life that can not be visualized. I feel like there is not enough time for everything I need to do or think about. I see others who continue to be creative even during difficult times. I have even done that myself in the past. When my Dad had Alzheimer's and my Mom had a stroke I found some solace in journaling and in art, but right now it is taking all of me to deal with just life. I am holding onto hope that there will be the time and creativity left when this all settles out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Beautiful art received for my birthday

I realized that while I have not been creative lately, I did receive a beautifully-created piece of art for my birthday.  To explain the gift, I have to give a little history.  A few years ago, I participated in an art quilt swap hosted by one of the Yahoo groups of which I was a member.  I received a gorgeous art quilt but a few months later the artist asked if I could return the quilt to her so she could use it in an upcoming book and to feature in some workshops she was doing. She promised to send a replacement art piece in return, but unfortunately has never remembered to do so. I understood her need for using the piece, indeed, I think she sent off something that she really wasn't ready to let go of.  Still I felt a sense of loss, because I had spent time making a quilt myself and was really excited about getting one in return.  My friend, Kim, knew how I felt so she took the time to make this lovely little quilt and gave it to me for my birthday.

Wish my photography skills were better, but then it is hard to capture the beauty of a dimensional piece in a picture.  You can't feel the textures or see the small details all at once that make it so special.  The fact that she spent all this time making this just for me makes it all that more dear to my heart. The wording inside the doors reads, "You are inscribed in the palm of His hand."Isaiah 49:16.  Maybe I didn't get to keep the other piece because I was meant to have this particular art piece made by a friend so that I can cherish it all the more.

Above you see a close-up of the heart that hangs at the bottom and below a closer view of the center inside the doors.

Besides my big present of a trip to the beach and the art quilt mentioned above I also was blessed with some other remembrances from friends and family.

We had our friends, Terry and Michele, over the weekend after we got home from the beach to watch Alabama football and they brought the beautiful flowers, lavender candle, and the sweetly wrapped organic chocolate bar. Michele had also wrapped the candle beautifully in the same fashion with the pink and black stamped images, but I didn't get a shot before I opened it.  Another friend at work, Kendra, picked out the monogrammed lunch bag and notepad as well as a "Happy Birthday" glass and then I also got some beautiful cards from my daughters, Mom, and friends.

In spite of some difficult times we are going through at present, I am so blessed with family and friends.  I know that really having those that love you and that you love back is one of the things that really matters when all is said and done.  Material things can come and go, but "love remains". 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beautiful Saturday in October

We went down this past Friday evening to Tuscaloosa, spending the night so that we could be there for a baby shower for Baby Sam being given by Emily's coworkers at Sealy.  Above is the cute wreath that her friend, Valerie, made for the front door.  Didn't notice that some of the letters had been blown over by the wind, but it says "Welcome Baby Sam". 

This was inside taken before the party started. There were more gifts there later on. Valerie made all the decorations.  She is very talented.

Above you can see the cute cake that we brought all the way from Vinemont with the main part sitting in my lap and the top in a separate box.  Emily loves the cakes made by a friend's Mom, Sarah Yarbrough, so Valerie arranged with me to get her to make it.  She does a great job and the cakes are so moist and yummy!  The rest of the tables look lovely, as well.

Here I caught Valerie touching up her face before the shower as I took a shot of the bar area decorations. 

Emily was chatting with some of her friends.  Since I am bad with names I won't try to name everyone in the pic.  If I find out later on for sure I will edit this. 

Thomas came, too, as did Kerry and Craig(Em's husband). Emily was very blessed with some really cute outfits and many practical items, too! Thomas wanted to help open the presents.

Grampy helped get Thomas ready to go.  Here Thomas was singing while Kerry got his shoes on him.  Emily has sheets on the furniture, btw, to protect the furniture from the dog hair.  We usually bring our 2 with us and they have one of their own.  That is a doggie blanket on the floor beside the chair.  Our dogs are spoiled, what can I say.

Had a wonderful day overall.  Besides the shower, it was great to have some time to play with Thomas.  He and I spent several hours having fun while Kerry watched Alabama football with Craig and Emily. He tells me all kinds of things only part of which I understand right now.  I really look forward to whatever time I am blessed with to spend with my grandbabies as they are born and grow up.  All those things you hear about the blessings of grandchildren are so true!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ending of the perfect week

We saw the sun sparkle on the water.

We left our footprints in the sand and observed the beauty of Mother Nature.

We saw the tropical beauty of sparkling blue clear water lapping the shore.

And ended the week with a sunset that could not be equaled in it's beauty, although impossible to be captured on film.

I could not have asked for a more perfect week.  We didn't do a lot but that was exactly what I needed.  I left behind stressful work and personal situations that I know will be waiting for me when I get back.  This week was an escape from reality and I knew it and took it with both hands, embracing it fully as just what it was.  It was a gift of respite from stresses that have been overwhelming.  They won't go away and will probably only be worse when I return, but now I've had time to commune with Mother Nature and with God, resting for just a brief while from what I know awaits. 

In looking back over recent years, I have seen that often we have had the opportunity to get away right before there was a time of great stress.  I hope and pray that this is not the case this time, but know that if it is, that at least we've been granted this gift of rest and enjoyment of the beauty that is the ocean. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birthday present

My fifty-first birthday has sped right up here and for this birthday I am getting something I have wanted for a while, which is a trip to the beach. Kerry is not really a beach person, so he is always resistant to my suggestions about going there. It does seem like there have always been other places we needed to go when we have been able to take time off, like to visit family or we just have not had enough time to get this far from home

  The last time we were at the ocean for a vacation was 6 years ago before the girls got married. We took our last family vacation then and made a spontaneous trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. That is where we are now, enjoying several days on a budget vacation but I am finally here, breathing in ocean air, feeling the breeze off the water, hearing the waves lap the shore. There is just nothing like it to me to restore the soul. I can find communion with nature anywhere. I love being in the woods, in the mountains, near a lake. God is there and so obvious to any observing eye, but, indeed, there is a special something extra for me about the sea and just BEING there. By that I mean "being". Perhaps the rhythms of the water and wind cause me to slow my mind down, let it empty of all those busy and often harmful thoughts, and actually "be" in the moment.

That is something that is hard for me to do, live in the moment.  I try to constantly remind myself to, but it is easy to start worrying about problems and solutions, the "what if's" and next thing you know another day has slipped by and then another.  Having a birthday past the half-century mark will definitely remind you that time is "slipping into the future". When a moment is as beautiful as this it is so much easier to savor, though, than those days spent working or doing mundane tasks.

I love a pretty sunset and those over water are so awesome.  Don't think you can ever tire of seeing beauty like this.

We enjoyed eating out the other evening at a restaurant recommended by my friend, Kelli. It was a very popular local establishment, J.Micheals, that was pretty busy for a Monday evening. Hard to see the detail of all the decorations in the pic above, but it was quite colorful and the food was delicious.


I was walking back to the room from the pool when I noticed the cool shadows of the railing. This might be a cool background for something.  I keep saying I want to get back into art more, but I've not been too successful.  There are some personal business issues that have been on my mind and I have got to get to where I can put these to the side instead of waiting for the perfect day. 

I did bring some fabric stuff and some journals with me.  So far have started a couple of pages in my "Blue Traveler" journal and worked on some needlepoint in the car on the way down.  I've read one book and started another. Lazy stuff and that is just what I wanted to be doing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Seeing the light

I am trying to get some posts off even if I have nothing artistic to share.  If for no other reason, than to keep myself in a habit.  This picture is one that I took on the way home last week.  I love to try to catch the rays of sun as they shine through the clouds. As it happens, my morning and evening commutes coincide with the rising and setting of the sun, making it easier to capture such a moment, ones that seem to me to be sending a message that our God is there watching out for us with a light so bright that it can break through to us when we need it. I need to be reminded of this sometimes.  Life can seem so burdensome at times, when problems that you pray will be resolved don't seem to be anywhere near that resolution.  It can be hard to understand the "why" and "when".  Then you hear of others who have so much more to bear that you feel small. Even so, to each of us, our cares are still important and real.  It still lifts my heart to see these rays breaking through clouds and to know I am not alone with my burdens.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What your bookshelves look like when you are a "collector" of many things!


Show above a shelf in my dining room.  It used to be my living room and my Dad built us a lovely built-in entertainment center across one end of the room.  If/when we ever move, I will be sad about leaving things like this behind.  He is gone now and he built most of our kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and the afore-mentioned unit. Of course, Kerry and I have built most of the house, too, so that will be hard to leave, too!

Well, I digress, as I often do. The shelf above highlights my eclectic tastes, shall we say.  Two dollheads, rescued from from a burn pile, 2 mercury glass candleholders, hand-carved snake and wooden letter openers made by a friend, a butterfly that made it's way into the garage and didn't make it out(died from the heat, I guess),bird feathers,  small vintage business card for a Hitchcock Lamp available at J.H. Hedenburg's in Brooklyn, and a lovely little bust.

I love little things like this.  Too much, I guess. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Have been creating a little here and there

Think I have set an all time record for no blogging for me, anyway! It's been 2 months now! A friend mentioned a post I once did about trees and people on Facebook and it shamed me when I visited my own blog and saw how long it had been since I posted anything. I have been trying to get scans done of the mini-journal I mentioned in that last post, but it's been hard. My scanner is hooked up to my desktop and it is working vvvverrry slowly now. I think it either has a virus or spyware crap that I can't find or some settings are messed up that I'm not smart enough to figure out.

I was able to get some jewelry made this past week. Shown above are some asymmetrical earrings I made today. I wanted to use a jade floral charm I've had since I was young. I never wore it on a necklace anymore so I thought this would be a good way to wear it again. Below are 2 pics of  a necklace that started out with vintage blue glass beads from an old necklace that I cut up. Then they seemed to call for some more bright colors, so I mixed all colors of beads in with the blue. I like it although I'm not so sure about it still. I did get some funny looks when I wore it, so maybe I'm the only one that likes it.

The little journal is something I've worked on here and there with mostly little scraps from my art table. It was one of those sheets with punch out pages that you assemble together. I wanted to art it up so it was more my style. I made it so I could go back and journal in it. It ended up having some running elements throughout with an overall them of quirky!

Above the cover, closed.  Uses stamped and painted scraps of paper, flower brads, paper leaves, Stickles glitter here and there.

First page: watercolor painted and stamped vintage book pages, vintage text, Go embellishment

More stamped or painted paper scraps(color is off a bit in this scan, couldn't get it to fix) Used some gesso, markers, paint once elements glued down.  Plaid pocket has a marbled paper tag.

Still mostly scraps of paper with randomly chosen images, more stamped book pages

This is one of my favorites spreads in this little book.

More of the same. Some of the shaped paper trims I used in this journal were from some children's craft kit that had punch out shapes, strips in all kinds of colors.

I like this one, too, especially the left page. Used gesso to soften arond the edges and touches of paint, too.  Like the dreamy look it has. 

Yeah, weird, I know, lol!  Inspired by the stamp.  Again this one uses watercolor painted book pages.  I got some one day and just played around throwing colors on there in different ways.  I stamped on some of them.  Reminder to me: you need to take time to play like that again!


Still playing around with craziness.  Some of these images like the dragon and the star were in a collage pack that a friend, Jane Widman, sent me in a swap one time.

Last page.  It is like a third page next to the spread shown above.  Actually the back cover of the book. This one didn't scan well either, maybe because of the plastic flower.  The colors look better than they show here and there is gold outlining making a tree that you can't really tell here.

Wish I could get back into some kind of artistic groove, but it just hasn't happened.  I keep feeling like I am in some kind of "waiting" mode, although I am not sure what I am waiting on.  Thought at first it was that I had to get adjusted to all the changes from my job and that may still be it, but fully expected to be over it by now.  There is still uncertainity about our farm and what we are going to do about that.  Perhaps it is having that in the back of my mind which keeps me like this.  My job does take much more time out of my life than I was used to since there are an additional 2 hours added to each day just commuting.  Also, there are no extra off days like I had at the hospital, either working 4 ten hour days per work week or a 7 on/ 7 off schedule.

I will just have to keep hoping and praying that I get my head all straightened out and that creativity will return as much as time allows.  We do take time to see Thomas and that is time I never regret.  Recently he turned 2 years old and we all celebrated that occasion with a trip to a petting farm near Tuscaloosa.  It was hot but we had a blast.  I'll close this long overdue post with few shots from that day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the meantime...

I know it has been a LONG TIME since I have posted. I am really working to get a post together about a little mini-journal I've been working on here and there. In the meantime, you should visit the jewelry workshop link(the new button on the side bar) and check out the amazing work by Deryn Mentock of Something Sublime Her work is amazing, often spiritual, and always beautiful!

She is also giving away 2 free workshop experiences. I would love to win one of these!

I am having so much trouble with blogger today that I want to scream!!! I can not see any of the stuff down the side of my blog that is supposed to be there, including the button that I mentioned above. When I go to "settings" everything shows up that is supposed to be there, but I can't see it once I go to my blog. I can't stay signed in and am having a LOT of trouble just posting or editing. I am trying to attach the button link here, but not having much luck with that.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monthly blog?

Seems to be what I'm down to posting, if that. Good intentions, but you know how that road goes! In looking back at my last one, it is so sadly ironic that I mentioned, Sammy, my other granddoggy and needing to give equal time to him. We spent this past week in Waco, Texas visiting Chris, Holly, and, of course, Sammy. I am so sad to say that last Wednesday evening, Sammy was killed by a hit and run driver when they had let him out before bedtime. Ended up being good that we were there to help with some things. Above is a shot of Holly and Sammy that Chris was kind enough to send to me. He was the sweetest, most well-behaved dog! Also, one I took last year when we went to see them. It left an empty spot for them and I know they are missing him!

Other than this, we had a wonderful visit. Holly wanted us to make some jewelry together while I was out there. She had some ideas in mind and I had brought some jewelry magazines also for inspiration. I am still a novice at wire-wrapping but started out doing most of it. Holly quickly caught on and ended up doing one necklace entirely by herself. When sewing was required, that was my job. We didn't capture the best pictures of the necklaces, especially the one made of tie-dyed fabric strips, cording, and felt balls. All the others are combinations of various metal chains, beads, and jewelry findings. We flew so I couldn't bring all my junk jewelry, so Holly had to purchase the different components. I had brought my tools and some fabric notions.

Holly made this one with the white glass beads by herself.

For the necklace above, Holly already had a vintage pin from my stash that she wanted to use as a focal point. She cut up an old white tshirt to make the fabric flowers.

This was the first one we made.

Holly made me work for my keep while we visited! We rearranged some furniture, hung pictures, etc. This is her new guest room decor below. Also, we did some fun things. I got my first professional pedicure ever. Probably won't be my last. It was very enjoyable! I would show you the picture we sent to Emily of that, but it makes my toes look fat :)

We visited Holly's classroom to see how she had redone it for this year. She has worked really hard and was rewarded by being honored with "Teacher of the Year" from her school during her first full year of teaching. We are very proud of her.

On Friday evening we drove down to Austin to eat at the Melting Pot and got to see a little of the city before we ate. It was a contrast of beautiful old buildings and modern architecture.

This week away flew by as they always seem to do. We got back into Birmingham on Saturday. Emily and Thomas picked us up along with our 2 dogs. So there were the 3 grownups, Thomas and his carseat, our 2 dogs, and all our luggage along with what Emily had to bring for she and Thomas to visit for Easter. This was a very comical sight I'm sure. I'll make another post about Easter and Thomas, since this one is long enough already.

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