Just a Busy Time of Year! Apologies.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I feel I must apologize for being gone so long. Life just came and swept me up in a frenzy of things that needed attention. I am sure you can all relate to that. Plus I had a touch of that nasty flu that is playing "tag" around this area.

  • My flowerbeds are now weeded and ready for composting, mulching and planting and I have been trimming shrubs, etc. Things here in coastal Texas grow quickly and if we don't keep up - OMG, you will have a jungle to fight back. Here are a couple of snapshots of a few of my beds as we getting ready to haul in more dirt, compost and plants...

  • Emma, our Great Pyr got her "Spa Day" and spring trim so she will be more comfortable for the hot weather. Emma before - Emma after :-)

  • Packing to go to the folks (Hot Springs, Arkansas) on Sat. and getting the car a once over for the trip (there is snow up there for goodness sake - can you believe that?)

  • Bible Study Fellowship and Lenten studies as well as getting ready to teach Sunday School (which in this day and age includes background checks and risk management classes - my how things have changed!)

  • Got my Apple IPhone (and you just have to stop and play with that little toy when you get it - it is so much fun! - and quite helpful too....kind of like having a Blackberry. At least that is what I am telling myself - it is going to help me simplify things and keep track of things better. As you can see, I love lists. I have lists everywhere; on every counter top. Well, my iphone actually has several places to take notes and give you reminders. I SOOOO need reminders!)

  • Squeaked in a quick visit with one son and his girl! Here are Jason and Alexa - how sweet are they?

These are just a few of the odds and ends that have taken me away from my beloved sewing. However, while I had the flu bug and was forced to sit and rest, I did play with waste canvas guided by Pam Kellogg's e-book of stitch designs and instructions. This method really does help with uniformity and placement. I have never done counted cross-stitch before so it did take me a few minutes to get the hang of it, but once I started, I found it quite easy. It is the setting it up that is the most time-consuming for me. I would recommend that you follow Pam's suggestions and start with a large design and a larger canvas hole size - being the "hard head" that I am, I started with a small project, small design, small canvas size. It is just a bit more tedious. This method of working stitches is perfect for getting "perfect" stitches or for a seam treatment you need to center or fit into an unusual sized area, etc. Here you can see by the size of the needle in the photo, I am working small stitches.

Now, I have to admit that one of the reasons I became a crazy quilter is because, I don't like to measure and count like those "sane" quilters do for the most part, but I do like to make things easy on myself. So.....I can't promise that I will use this method all the time, because sometimes, I just want to be, well, "crazy" and have that kind of "home made imperfect" look. But, this is a really nice method to use and I will be doing more and more of it I am sure. I have also seen people cut a piece of graph paper and slip it onto their seam, inbetween their stitching to help with uniformity of stitches - kind of like using tiger tape. If you are like me, there are certain stitches that just have a mind of their own when I work with them; like the herringbone for example. If I try to do it by eye, without any measurement tools, - my stitches tend to just get bigger and bigger as I go along the seam. This has taught me to take the time to use the tools I need for the stitch treatment I have chosen, so I will not frustrate myself - after all - this is strictly for enjoyment. It is not supposed to add to my already, self-imposed "stressful" existence :-)

You remember me telling you that I am a "class" junky? Well, I have just signed up for another online class from Sue Bleiweiss on Journal Making. It begins on March 31st and looks wonderful. I purchased one of Sue's journals recently and can't wait to learn how she does it! You can read about this class here "Journal Making with Sue" if you are interested - she is a wonderful teacher and artist.


With DH and I starting to teach Sunday School soon, I have really been contemplating what my goals are in teaching this class. In Matthew, I have studied recently about how special children are to God and how important it is not to be a stumbling block to them, so I began looking into my heart to hear what it had to say as I begin this journey. Besides wanting the children (and myself) to really feel a definite loving relationship with our living God, to KNOW He is real; I really want to provide them with the tools God has given us to make it through each and every day, each and every circumstance. After all, circumstances are not a barometer of God's goodness, the cross is. But it is easy as human beings to feel that God is forsaking us when we face bad times. That is so NOT true. God has given us the tools we need to overcome anything. He wants us to learn to exercise our faith using these tools - we are always being schooled as we grow in our spiritual maturity. Being able to recall the Word of God for situations of difficulty is so precious, healing, and encouraging; and can literally carry us through the worst of circumstances we face. I was fortunate to have grown up in a Christian family where we went to church every Sunday and we attended Sunday School; and I am extremely grateful for that. I remember the stories of the scriptures, but I wish I had had more actual scripture embedded in my very being! Now that I am studying the scriptures on a daily basis - God's word given to us; it is so comforting to have that in my heart! It is like having a soft, healing, calm place to fall, when the worries and torments of life begin to tear at you. Just imagine how wonderful that would be for our children, pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults to carry with them to face their days! Scripture which stands against peer pressure to do wrong things, scripture to give them strength of character to do right things, scripture to assure them they are loved - so, I have to say that the word "scripture" is really jumping out at me to be a major focus. With God's direction, I hope we will learn in this class (yes, we - all of us - that includes me!) how to apply scripture to our daily lives.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Eph 6:13-18



Ready Maid said...

Whew! Just reading your blog post gave me a quick sense of what an energetic person you are.

Yes, we're bracing for a bit of snow here in Hot Springs this weekend, but overall, it's a great place to live. One visit six years ago, and my DH and packed up and moved here two months later!

Recently geographer Warren Bland named Hot Springs, Ark. the No. 1 place in America to retire.

I gotta admit, Hot Springs is a pretty cool place to live, even for those of us who aren't yet retired.

To get a sneak preview, check out Spa Vlogger.

Rebecca McCormick,
Travel Journalist, Hot Springs Village Voice

Barbara said...

What a blessing and inspiration you are! I love reading your blog and getting a glimpse into your busy life.

Your blog is beautiful and I love the new look. Have a safe trip to Arkansas.


Allison Ann Aller said...

Well, you have been busy that is for sure. Your garden looks great...and I love the face you have on that tree! Very neat!
I'm like you, I don't always want or need perfect stitches, but so many of Pam's seam designs are complex enough that the grid really helps to accomplish them properly. Her patterns are so compelling, I think.
Have a safe trip...

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