Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"All is calm, all is bright." -- Joseph Mohr

Silent Night is probably my favorite Christmas hymn.  I'd like to say we're going to a Christmas Eve service at church tonight, but for some reason it doesn't t start until 10:30.  So we'll pass it up this year and hope next year they start it a little earlier ...

This has been a really good day.  Got some packing done this a.m.  Catching up on laundry.  Flipped some dust and ran the vacuum quickly.  Met Margo and Neil for lunch at Pepperoni Grill; always a good thing!  Home and taking it easy as we prepare for a quiet Christmas at home tomorrow.  Think tonight we'll watch The Christmas Story, Wendell's favorite ("You'll shoot your eye out kid!").  My fav is White Christmas and we've already watched that.  In fact we've watched almost all of our favorites the last couple weeks -- Prancer, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life.  What more could a girl ask for this time of year!!??

It's raining and supposed to turn to snow.  So tomorrow we just may wake up to a white Christmas.  We've had Christmas with all of our little family last Sunday at Jeff & Jane's home in Winchester.  That was fun!  The day was just not long enough, though.  We stayed in Richmond that night and enjoyed a slow, leisurely drive home through southern Indiana Monday.  Went through some towns we hadn't been through in forever!  My favorite was Brookville, where there are hand-painted 3' roosters in front of lots of the businesses.  I was told it's their way of celebrating their 200th birthday.

I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas and get to spend it with the person or persons you love the very most.  We were given a great gift this year and we feel blessed.  God is good.  All the time.


P.S. Here's the two latest hooked pieces I've finished recently.  The bird's nest is on the dining room table.  And the Santa is on my front hallway chair right now.  Looking forward to more fun hooking in 2015!

"Bird's Nest", a Maggie Bonanomi design.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fall is definitely here!

We had a quiet Thanksgiving.  For the first time ever (I believe) we went out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner; our little family enjoying their own celebrations at their own homes.  We went to the Hilltop north of Spencer and it was a set menu with the choice of four entrees.  I absolutely ate too much!  Wow!  But it was good good good, and the only meal I had that day, for sure.

However!  I did bake a pumpkin pie earlier in the week so we ate on that for several days ...  

This is why I say 'fall is definitely here' ... the farmer across the road, between us and the river, finally combined his beans.  It was just a couple weeks ago and this picture really shows how quickly the leaves have left the trees because in this pix there are still some leaves on, but now the trees are virtually bare!  I closed up the house that day because the wind was bring the dust up into our woods.  The dust looked like mist creeping up the hill through the woods!

Well, here's one of the fun things I tried recently -- making some Goodwill vases look like old mercury glass.  What a fun experiment!  I got the idea from Pintrest, of course.  Very few things I do are original ideas!  Here's a couple pictures of the finished product, one during the day and one taken at night with some little candles in them.  This whole project cost only about $10.  Now I want to try to find some hurricane lamps at Goodwill and use the same technique ...  I saw recently on Pintrest where someone painted little metal hot wheels cars like this and turned them into Christmas tree ornaments!  Cool!

Another project (not so fun) has been stripping the paint off this old teacher's chair I bought at an antique shop recently.  I've stripped the hardest part I think -- the bottom half.  Now I only have to do the seat and back.  I think it's going to look good; it's a pretty sound oak chair and Wendell's tightened it up for me before I started.  Now, if I ever find a day with the temp over 50 and NOT raining, I'll finish.  Then Neil can make it look like new again!  Yea!  (I'm still looking for just the right lamp to go on the desk that this chair is for!)

We decided not to decorate our big tree this year.  So I just put out some assorted Christmas decor, plus my little Charlie Brown tree on the desk, and it looks pretty good.  Used that garland Teresa Kinman gave me made from wool snippets from rug hooking (which I added onto btw) and it looks so cute!  Maybe I'll put a pix on here of it soon ...  Gotta start Christmas shopping this week!  For some reason I just haven't "felt like Christmas".  Whatever that is.  But yesterday I started feeling different after the first Sunday of Advent service at church.  Emma & Joe lite the first advent candle and gave a very moving presentation!  I went away feeling hopeful.  

Went to see mom last week and she's feeling somewhat better.  It has been a difficult year for her.  And for Wendell.  And we're praying for a better 2015!  But for now, I'm just living one day at a time. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Brrrrrrr" is coming !

I've battened down the hatches around here for winter.  At least my part of the hatches.  Think I'm done in the yard.  Finished the big lily transplant project!  TA-DA!  Wendell made a bottle tree for me at the corner of the old garden (which is no more).  And I saved one row as sort of a lily flower bed.  Dug and divided and dug and divided some more (lilies) and hopefully next summer they'll be lookin' good.  I know I like the bottle tree part of this new "bed" at least. 

Wendell carved the best jack-o-lantern this year ... had to share.  I trust everyone enjoyed a spooky Halloween.  I had one friend tell me that even though it was cold and rainy, they had over 180 kids at their door!  Wow!

Had some ladies of the church over for lunch recently and here's the lovely flowers they brought.  Just had to share with you.  We had such a good day!  I made wild rice soup and we had wrap sandwiches.  And my chocolate mint cake for dessert.  We planned the fall harvest dinner and talked about future plans for the "kitchen committee".  It happened to be a great day, weather wise, and it was nice to be able to look out at the beautiful leaves in sunshine as we were eating!  [Now it is just gloomy and rainy again.  I understand why some people get depressed in the fall ...]

It's really been a pretty quiet time around here for both of us lately.  We're getting ready for winter.  I spent one day just putting yard decor in the garden shed, emptying my potting bench, etc.  (Of course I had to sweep and clean out the shed before I could do that ... sigh!).  We put up the bird feeder and I guess we need to clean up the bird bath soon and turn it upside down.  Inside I've had time to hook on the Guild's raffle rug and weave another rug on the loom.  Also getting lots of pieces cut and prepared to take with me this winter to Texas; I'm going to take the Featherweight and try to finish a quilt top.  Working on a penny rug style tabletop mat, too. 

Couple weeks ago we went to Ferdinand to a corn shredding and here's some pictures from that day.  It was moved from a field on the outskirts of town into town (because of the wet ground) but it still was an interesting event.  While we were in town we visited an antique mall, and I took a quick run through the gift shop at the monastery.  I love southern Indiana in the fall!  Just the drive was worth the trip.  Here's some pix from the Ferdinand corn shredding ...
The steam engine in action!  They're just starting to throw bundles of wheat into the thrasher.  (Wagon of firewood in the foreground.)

Corn shocker.

Wendell's watching the corn sheller operated by one horse power.

The fellow obscured by the steam had this small sorghum operation going.  The squeezer is on the right; ran by a tractor with the belt.  That's the cane on the ground in front.  He's cooking the juice squeezed from the cane in the shallow pan.  His firewood for the cooker is behind him (and the photographer).  Then his wife was selling the finished product in the tent at left.  He had quite an audience.

Thrashing the wheat.

This is a belt-driven rock crusher.  Wendell said he'd never seen one in action before.

I just loved all the wheels on this shredder.  There's just something beautiful about it.

Well, that's my life recently.  Have a blessed November.   And remember, God is good.  All the time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Just another day ...

My quote for the day is a good one for me today.

So what's up in my life?  Been pretty busy.  Time to clean up in the yard so I spent three days last week and painted the garden shed.  It really needed it!  Actually a second coat was probably called for but I couldn't see doing that for another three days ... LOL!
Here's the shed after painting ... wish it were sunny & nice like this today.
Also am working off and on on a project of moving all of the day lilies from their various beds into one new one.  It would go quicker if it would stop raining.  I think they'll look better this way and most of them were way over-grown anyway.  I divided and tossed and just went crazy out there.  Still have a long way to go though ...

Finished a new hooked rug.  It's a Maggie Bonanomi design; I'm really taken with her designs just now.  Here's a picture and a close up.  I especially like the wavy border.  Now -- what next???

I've been dyeing wool also. Trying the Primitive Spirits' (Karen Kahle) Little Dusty Dye Book formulas.  This is where she uses only three colors of dye and gets all of these soft, dusty colors?  Anyway, I've dyed a dusty gold and a pale dusty rose-tan.  I really like both of them.  But this week I need to dye some reds and blues.  (So back to the basics!)  Here's a pix of the dusty rose-tan wool I dyed:

We took a day "off" last Thursday so we could both relax. (It seems like if we're here we work, especially Wendell, and he really needs some down time.) So we went back to Prairie Acres and had some forbidden chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes/gravy with (not so forbidden) tomato salad and fresh green beans.  I need to try making that tomato salad myself: it was just chopped fresh tomato, cucumber, onion, and colored bell peppers, all marinated in Italian dressing.  Very simple and yet very yummy.  They had JUST brought in a wagon load of pumpkins and just had to take a picture of them (below)!  Now, I'm one of those people who love autumn but I can understand those who dread it because things are ending and winter is coming on ... I get it.  But how can you not love pumpkins and Indian corn and colorful leaves!?

Well, I'll close with a few pictures I took at the Osage Farm Antiques Show near Charleston IL.  We went there on the 4th.  I'd never been and heard several of my friends talking about it, so had to see for myself what it was all about.  Just tons of beautiful primitive objects.  It was a wonderful day.  Lovely day weather-wise, too, and we had a beautiful drive through the country, too.  I was plum tuckered out and my eyes were tired when I got home!  (so much to see, so little time ... tell me about it ... it's a milestone birthday for me today ... ARGH!!!)  But it's my life.

Here's those pix ...
Well, first thing I did was head for the log cabin.  It was full of antiques, dried flowers, etc. The place was pretty crowded but I managed to shuffle through and oh and ah as I went ...
Here's what you first see when you arrive at the barn.  It was full of vendor booths with wonderful primitive antiques.  In the front portion you see here, there were artists set up with things such as pottery and jewelry.

This hooked rug was the very first thing that really caught my eye.  The little covered wagon was great, too!  I saw several old hooked rugs that day but none in very good shape ...

This wonderful blue table was sitting on the porch of the log cabin.  And there were LOTS of woven rag rugs.
Beautiful carved loon.  I saw loads of bittersweet and wondered where in the world people find it anymore.  We used to have it on our road but the power company sprayed a few years back and it's all gone ...
This old toy wood horse was great.  And it was very $$$$ !
We enjoyed the musicians who were set up just outside the back door of the barn.  While we were there they played and sang several songs from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?  Nice touch was the old truck just back of them that they supposedly arrived in (the instrument cases were in the bed) ...
Well, I'll end with this picture -- what an amazing old quilt!  Loverly!  What a day!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A real chill in the air ...

I think summer is over.  The calendar doesn't show it but it is.  My fear is that we'll rush right into winter and skip autumn (my favorite season)!  I love the colored leaves, the clear crisp air, mums, apples, and pumpkins!  I've already started to clean my flower beds, pulling weeds and cutting back some of the dying flowers; cutting off the heads of the cone flowers and black-eyed Susan's and throwing them into the prairie area where they'll spread next year.  It seems like everything I do now I'm thinking, am I doing this for the last time here?  We don't know if we'll stay here much longer with Wendell's change of health.  But, we'll see ...  I really don't want to leave this place.  I love it here and almost all my friends are here.  Plus, change is difficult!  LOL!

We've been out and about.  In late August we drove to the Ladoga area to visit Moody Meats, a butcher shop we like (took a cooler and brought home some free-range chickens and some other meats for the freezer).  While we were up in that area we had lunch in Crawfordsville at a neat little deli in the college area, then drove over almost to the IN-IL state line and tried to visit the Skinner Farm Museum.  So disappointed that they weren't open during the week ...  But we still looked around as much as we could.
The round barn at Skinner Farm Museum.

The animal barn at Skinner Farm Museum.  The sheep were very active the day we were there; I like the brown ones.  REALLY loved this old tin barn!

We also went to Monkey Hollow for the second time this summer.  We are enjoying one of their dry red wines so much that we wanted to get some more before they ran out.  While we were in the St. Meinrad area, we went back to the monastery and drove through the grounds.  Got out and walked around the ponds until W. was tired out!  It was hot that day, too ...

Last weekend of August we went to Connor Prairie near Noblesville for a Friday night concert.  Our investment management company puts on an annual dinner there in the pavilion and then you can stay for the concert.  This year it was the Beach Boys.  Well, they were surprisingly good, considering that they are all older than me and need to retire!! They started out with 10 songs back-to-back with no break and they were good ones!  Just right for people of a certain age ...  Only bad thing was it was a very hot night.  I was sweating just sitting there. The AC in the car felt good on the way home ...
I was surprised how many people were there!  It was the biggest crowd I'd ever seen there for a concert.  And like I said, it was HOT!

Here's a close-up; I think only two of the original band members are still with the group.  (White Hair!)

Last weekend we went to Elnora for a quick visit to the annual WRVAA steam & tractor show.  It was so very hot!  And humid!  We only stayed about 3 hours.  Got to see some tractors, visited the consignment area, flea markets and watched a couple demos.  The most fun was visiting with the people working in the sorghum shack where Wendell used to work (maybe next year?).  We had lunch there and enjoyed the home made ice cream, too. -- How can you beat it?  Homemade ice cream for a dollar?  Yum.  My favorite part.  You should go around back of the ice cream building and watch the big ice cream makers if you go next year!
Here's my favorite picture from Elnora.  A lot's going on here!
Before we went to the show at Elnora, we made a quick stop at a new event in our area.  It was the first annual Chandelier Barn Market on the Wilson Farm in Daviess County (right in the heart of Amish country).  It's a few miles north of Montgomery.  I hope they did good; there sure was a good crowd when we were there.  Ran into Neil & Margo as we walked in.  I only bought a bracelet; but I saw almost everyone with something it seemed.  Wendell enjoyed the entertainment and just walking around.  It hadn't gotten so hot yet that morning and I felt sorry for the people set up in those barns later in the day!  It had to have gotten hot in there!  Here's some pictures from the Barn Market ...
Well, like I said ... it was called the Chandelier Barn Market ...

This barn market was really a great idea and I look forward to going back next year (maybe with some women!).  There were lots of unique re-purposed items and it was a great place to get ideas, too.  I especially liked the yard art made from old metal scraps.  Someone is clever!  Wish it were me!

Well, that's what has been goin' on in my life.  Have a blessed weekend coming up. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm back ...

I'm back to a new normal.  Wendell is on the mend.  It is unbelievable what has happened in our lives these last two months.  I'll not bore you with all the details but just say that we received some unexpectedly good news last Monday and now I truly believe in miracles (especially considering where I was sitting two short months ago today -- in the CCU wondering if my other half was going to ever come home with me again).  God is good, all the time!

Well ......  what have I been doing these past few slower-paced days you might well ask?  Surprisingly, I've been able to get some sewing done.  I've sewn lots of previously ripped strips together for weaving and got them wound into balls.  And I've pieced a few more blocks on my red and brown quilt that's been in process for a few months now.  Unfortunately I have not hooked for several weeks.  I did teach a newbie how to hook couple weeks ago and that's a good thing.  I'll get back to hooking -- I'm in the beginnings of a rug that I'm not happy with and will have to make some changes there before I proceed.  But here's the one I finished this spring.  If I've already posted a picture of this one, sorry ...
"Mille-Blocks Sheep"
I really love this background and may use it again.  I entered it in the Greene County Open Class Fair and it got a blue ribbon with an honor ribbon attached.  To my chagrin, followed quickly by pride, two women I taught to hook got the grand and reserve grand champion ribbons with their rugs!  Yeah for Jan & Marilyn!!!  The judge didn't like the way I bound this rug, preferring the "whip it" method of finishing the edges. 

This is about half of the hats and scarves I crocheted while Wendell was in the hospital and McCormick's Creek rehab center.  I've donated them to Project Warmth in Spencer.  This crochet project truly saved my sanity.  Along with some Sudoku puzzles ...
Interior of one of the Hutson Cabins, south of Hutsonville IL.
We've gone for several drives since Wendell's been home.  We enjoy seeing how beautiful and green everything is this summer!  (And the farm kid in both of us wants to see how the crops are doing.)  We've had a nice, comfortable summer I think with not so many white hot humid days like is normal for the summers around here.  One day we went to Vincennes and got some fruit, checked out an antiques store, then crossed the river and drove to Hutsonville IL and walked around "the cabins".  There were two docents there that day and it was such a beautiful day!  I found it interesting that in the weaver's cabin there was an unusual tie up on one of their looms and I will have to find out from a woman I am acquainted with (who volunteers there) how to achieve this effect ...
How did the weaver get this "rowed" look ???
I've been enjoying lots of quiet time each morning now.  It's such a peaceful time to sit and read my daily devotion and drink coffee.  Since Wendell's had this health care experience, he sleeps later than he used to.  (He needs to get the rest or he wouldn't be sleeping is my theory.)  One of the things I've been seeing lately, just about every other morning, is this large flock of turkeys somewhere in the yard.  Often on the driveway as in the picture below.  There are three mothers and about a dozen poults of various sizes.  I think they especially like the driveway because it's warm there in the sun; they have spent as much as half an hour just messing around out there.  They'll lay down and rest, groom themselves, or just jump and play while the mothers watch.  Sorry about the quality of the picture -- it's taken through the screen.
Just part of the turkeys who live here with us and visit almost daily.
We had an exciting thing happen last week ... a crop duster sprayed the field below our house.  It was so loud!  At first I thought a plane was going to crash into or near the house.  Then nothing happened for a few seconds and here it came back!  Guess I'm pretty slow on the uptake; it took two rounds for me to catch on.  I took a picture but it doesn't do justice to how low and close he seemed to be to the house.  Wendell said he waved back to him!  Keep your hands on the stick, I say!!!  It was a beautiful yellow plane.  It sure would have been fun to have been up there with him!
Taken from our front porch on about the 10th trip around the house!
We've enjoyed family visits, dinners and lunches with friends, mowing and all that goes with that (yes, enjoyed), fix-up chores, feeding the hummers -- just all of the things that I was taking for granted before.  Never again!  

Well, that's just a little of what's been going on around here.  You get the idea -- we're getting back into a routine which we're so very thankful for.  But I want to add that from now on we're just living in the moment.  It's my life now.