Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Good bye April

With April in its last hours,  I am faced with the reality that my April TO DO list looks rather sad.  I will report on it this week, along with a revised list for May.  Hopefully things will slow down a bit and I can be more focused........but, there is the yard and garden, and I can't do it all.  Maybe I just need to be more realistic in what I think I can finish during these Spring months.

There was enough warp left on the Spring twill towels to weave off one more after I took the four for Easter off the loom.  This isn't a great photo, but here it is.  My next project is going to be a Rep Weave kitchen rug. I hope it turns out well.  Weaving a rug is something I have really wanted to try.


Today was the last day of Good News Club.  I can't say that I am sorry.  I am glad that I volunteered, but I am also glad to see it coming to an end.  The children really enjoyed their party and it was nice getting big hugs from them as they left this afternoon.  My prayer is that at least some of them benefitted from what we tried to share with them.

Christopher is playing his first year of T-ball and he is doing a great job.  He can hit the ball and understands running the bases.  He also goes on the field alone.  Good job, Christopher!!


The flowers are beautiful this time of the year.  Just hope we continue to get rain throughout the summer.



GRATITUDES:
The boundless energy of children.
Unexpected hugs.
The companionship of sweet daughters.

Take care,
Jennie

Monday, April 29, 2013

Unwelcome Visitor

A couple of days ago I filled the two hummingbird feeders with nice, fresh nectar for the three little fellows that have been frequenting our back deck.  The next morning, they were totally empty.  I knew that three tiny hummers couldn't possibly empty those two feeders........but I dutifully refilled them and returned them to their places.  And this morning..............


Yes.........totally empty, again.  We checked for leaks, but no.  However, on closer inspection we noticed these on our pollen covered deck.....


Looks as if Mr. Raccoon just might have a sweet tooth.  We will set up a humane trap for him tonight and see what happens.  He just might find himself relocated to a more wooded area if we are successful.

Today was Spring Cleaning at the chicken house and run.  It turned into pretty much an all day affair.  Thank goodness we had good helpers.   We also did a little chicken maintenance......Vet Rx on everyone's combs and their semi-annual spraying for mites.  In addition, Snowflake, who is a feathery cochin, got a much needed feather trim and bath and is no longer stinky, although she is still broody.
She was forced to spend quite awhile off the nest today, but as soon as her feathers dried she was back in nesting position.  Blake has dubbed her "Sitting Bull".


I have to say that I think the flock was less than impressed with the whole ordeal......and we probably won't get another egg all week long!  They did get some melon as a special treat afterwards, so maybe they will forgive me.

GRATITUDES:
A clean chicken house for our little flock.
Spaghetti cooking in the crockpot.
A nice, hot shower after a day's work.

Take care,
Jennie

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lost......

The rest of April.......just lost.  I don't know.  Running around to classes and events, working in the yard and garden.  Just stuff.

My April list is not looking so good.  I have bits and pieces of a lot of things in various stages of near finishes........and other things not even touched.  I will report in later on all of that.

Blake and John have been working feverishly in the garden and everything is coming up and looking great.......peas, beans, okra, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, peppers, you name it.  I would show you a photo, but it is raining buckets today.

The girls have been giving us 4-6 eggs daily.  Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will do Spring cleaning at the chicken house and yard.  I don't think that the girls will be particularly thrilled.....especially Snowflake, who has gone broody.  She is still getting off the nest to eat, and we are retrieving her eggs.  No chicks here!!


Yesterday I started working on a summer shawl (Azzu's Shawl, a free pattern on Ravelry) that I had bought the yarn for a couple of months ago.  The yarn is very organic looking, casual jeans accompanying type stuff.........It is Berroco Linsey (a pretty tan/white color), which is 64% cotton.  Very soft.  I am not a great knitter, and got off to a difficult start (I must have started offer 6 or 7 times)....but I have finally gotten it.  Today, instead of going down to the sewing room, I sat in my chair, listening to the rain, watching "Lincoln" and knitting.  I enjoyed the rain and the knitting.......the movie, not so much.  I don't know what I was expecting, but it was a little too political for me.......I wanted a more personal story.  Oh, well........



GRATITUDES:
Spring rain.
Lazy days.
Soft yarn moving across beautiful wooden knitting needles.

Take care,
Jennie

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Birthdays

April is THE birthday month for my family and friends.......and we enjoy celebrating.

On April 5th Dillon celebrated his 14th birthday with a trip to Six Flags.

Dillon and Christopher

Christopher turned 5 on April 6th and celebrated with a party at his home last Saturday.  His theme was Jake the Pirate, and we gifted him with a Jake sleeping bag and bed tent.



My dear friends from high school, Pete, Peggy and Carl all had birthdays within the same week as mine.  We got some friends together and had lunch at Sprayberry's to honor the occasion, as has been our tradition the past few years.  It is nice to be able to celebrate with pals from so many years ago.

Since I was out of town on my birthday, we had my family birthday celebration last Sunday at Christi's.
I chose my own menu and Matt and the girls prepared it.........along with an ice cream cake from Bruster's with yellow layers, caramel and chocolate turtle ice cream.......yummmmmm.  Being together as a family is always a special gift.


On the 17th, John was 33!  I baked a strawberry cake for him and, once again, we had lunch at Sprayberry's (his choice).




Macy celebrated her April 26th birthday (she will be seven) a bit early with a trip to American Girl with her best friend, Susan Grayton (whose birthday is the same as mine, the 8th).  She got money for her birthday and purchased this year's American Girl Doll of the Year, Saige......and, of course, some vital necessities for her wardrobe.



April 20th would have been my father's birthday........his 101st.  Hard to believe he only lived to be 59. I have already outlived him.  I think of him often........of things I would like to share with him and things I wish I had asked him and said to him.  I guess that is just the way it is when you lose a parent.

May will hold some special birthdays for us, too........but nothing like April!

GRATITUDES:
Birthdays.
Friends and families to celebrate birthdays with.
Old memories.......and making new ones.

Take care,
Jennie

Rhonda's Rughooking Retreat

I am behind on my posting, but will start with sharing all of the great rugs that were worked on at the hooking retreat I was fortunate enough to be invited to.  Rhonda has been sponsoring this retreat at the Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center in Newport, TN for several years, and this year, thanks to dear friend Kathie, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation.  We drove up, stopping by Roswell, to pick up Deste, on Friday, April 5th, and spent the next three days doing what hookers love best.......hooking, eating, laughing and shopping for more wool (thanks, Sheri) !!!  The accomodations were lovely and the weather was beautiful.  The fellowship was even better.  Rhonda does an exceptional job organizing this hookers' weekend.

Here are some of the great rugs the girls were working on:


Becky finished hooking this wonderful cabin with proddy flowers.  The strips are all hand cut at 1".  She started this large rug with Betsy, from Heavens to Betsy.


Georgeanna started this rug last year at Caraway with Anita White.  I just love the colors in it.  It is perfect!


And Nancy almost finished this gorgeous pineapple rug that she had started in a workshop with Eric Sandberg in January.  I love the way each pineapple is a tiny bit different.  And the striking red/orange 
fabric is actually paisley.  The pattern is by Sheri Bennett.






The talented Cathy worked on three projects.  The cat mask is a project for Teacher's Workshop this year........where Cathy is anticipating finishing up her McGowen's certification.  Way to go, Cathy.


Diana continues to work on her interesting Family rug, which can be viewed two different ways.

 Gail started this striking runner on Friday, hooking with a 3 cut, and was nearly done by Sunday night.

Kathie made great progress on her rug for her new bathroom.  It is a pattern by Eric Sandberg, started in his class in January.  Great rug!


Sheri drew her own pattern and pulled from her wormbag to make this visually appealing rug.  She dislikes how close the border is to the body of the rug and plans to rework that.  As always, Sheri's color choices are exceptional.
Katie drew her own pattern and started hooking these cheerful little birdhouses.  I love her color choices.


Mary worked on this adorable Lori Brechlin design.  She has the cutest bunny face, don't you think?


Robin was hard at work on these sweet little pictorials.  She is making fourteen of them for a friendship block exchange!!!!!!


Deste started this handsome creature recently at Barb Carroll's.....it is one of her new designs.  Deste really stuck with it and got lots of hooking done.  Everyone was in love with her background choice and the colors in her horse.

Rhonda got tapped to do this rug for Teacher's Workshop this year.  As you can see, it is 20" x 30".  She started it on Friday and got this much done......using a size three cut.  Her hooking is so perfect it looks like velvet.
I finally finished Semper Fi by Polly Minick.  I had ordered it several years ago, and started it a few months ago.  It is ready to bind!!!


I also got quite a bit done on Albany Sampler by Susan Quicksall.  I had started this one in a class with Susan at the 2007 ATHA Convention in New Orleans.  I got one bird and a blue flower finished at the time, then packed it away.  By the end of the weekend all of the motifs except the berries (because I ran out of wool on them) were done.  As usual, I really like it and don't know why I never went back to it.  It is nice to have this much done.

Georgeanna and I both celebrated birthdays over the workshop weekend and were pleasantly surprised with our own individual birthday cakes and a little impromptu party.  And, no, I am not sharing our ages :-))



As I am sure you can tell, it was a great weekend, and I am already looking forward to going back in the Fall.

GRATITUDES:
The beautiful Smoky Mountains.
Laughter.
Birthdays.
Wool.

Take care,
Jennie

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Wall

The Vietnam Wall has a very special meaning for us.  Blake served in the Vietnam War when it was so very unpopular.  It was a difficult time for America, and particularly for all of those young men and women who served there bravely, only to return to America and be so unappreciated.  Our generation.
So many losses.

Last week the Estes family visited Washington, DC, and made a trip to "The Wall".  I love this photo of Robert and Sara Ashley at The Wall.


GRATITUDES:
The United States of America
All of the brave young men and women who have, do and will so selflessly serve this country so that we can enjoy our freedom.
Blake, who was one of those men for many years.

Take care,
Jennie

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Theda's Rug

Several months ago one of the members of our hooking group unexpectedly lost her husband.  She had faced other losses in her family that had been devastating prior to losing Dan, but has been an inspiration to all of us.  Her faith has sustained her during these difficult times and she lives the word "Hope".

In memory of Dan, we decided to hook a very special rug for Theda.  One of our members designed it, including much symbolism.  The names of the children, Theda and Dan were hooked so that they showed on the back, but not the front.  The group members contributed financially and by hooking on the rug.

At this week's meeting we surprised Theda with "Love's Legacies".  There wasn't a dry eye in the room.




GRATITUDES:
Hope.
Friends.

Take care,
Jennie

Family Easter

This post is a few days late, but wanted to share our annual grandchildrens' Easter photo.  Easter is the holiday that we have our blended family all together to celebrate.  There are seventeen of us now, and with the seven grandchildren, it is all lots of fun.  Good food, Easter egg hunt, baskets and fellowship.  We thank God for our family and the opportunity to share this day with them.  Most of all, we thank God for the gift of Grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The grandchildren.
Bottom row (L to R):  Sara Ashley, Macy, Jackson, Colten, Christopher
Back row (L to R): Robert, Dillon

GRATITUDES:
Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Freedom to worship.
Family.

Take care,
Jennie

April.......Really?????

My goodness, where did the end of March go?  April is a really big month around our house.  My sister, three of the grandchildren, one of the children and numerous friends celebrate birthdays this month......in addition to me!!   I can't believe that I am now Medicare age.......how crazy is that?


Ten projects were finished in March......not bad.  Only one was a UFO, but on a positive note, all of the string blocks were made from stash.  This little bunny pillow was not on the list, but made up quickly and was a fun addition to my Easter decor.  The cutouts for the leaves and bunny were purchased, but the background, backing and buttons all came from stash.



The March Sally Post blocks were finished on schedule and I finally selected fabric for the setting triangles and sashings.  I broke down and bought the fabric because I just wasn't happy with what I had in stash. Most of the applique will continue to be from stash with a few pieces of the new fabrics thrown in to make it flow.



My Family Redwork BOM doesn't meet again until the end of April.  At that point we are to have all of the embroidery done and will work on setting the embroidery into blocks for the quilt.  My goal for March was to finish six of the eight square blocks, and that was accomplished (please forgive the photo, as I didn't get the blocks pressed).  This month I will finish the last two square blocks and the larger center block before class.  I am changing some of the blocks up a bit to suit my actual family, and it has been fun.


I hope to get Love Letters set and into flimsy stage in April.  The goal for Primitive Garden is to get five blocks prepped.  I didn't get anything done on Garden Baskets in March, so I will play catch up on that one this month......the blocks are tiny, so it should be easy.

I took the Scroll Runner off the list for awhile.  I was a bit burned out on it.  In addition, I am attending a Hooking Retreat in Tennessee this w/e, and I wanted to take something less intense and not so large to work on.  As you can see, I added the (UFO) Checkerboard Hooked Rug (Semper Fi series by Polly Minnick) and Albany Sampler (by Susan Quicksall) to the list.  The Polly Minnick rug is almost finished and I can definitely get all of the hooking done on it this w/e.  Albany Sampler, a UFO from Susan's class at the ATHA convention in New Orleans a number of years ago, is barely started but is something I want to finish and isn't too terribly large.  Seems like everything I have hooked recently has been huge and I really need a break from the biggies.  So........those were added to the list.

Another UFO (started at Lisa Bonjean's workshop last Fall), Primitive Gatherings' wool appliquĂ© runner "Patiently Waiting" is another addition to the April list.  I will also take this one with me to the retreat, but am not sure I will get to work on it there.  I do plan to finish it this month, however.

The woven scarf is about 3/4 finished and will easily come off the loom this month.

Eight of the Blackwork blocks are finished.  My goal is to finish all of the blocks, get them set and into flimsy status by the end of the month.

As you can see, I have ambitious plans.  I just hope that I can keep focused and make most of the anticipated progress.  The chalkboard list is definitely helping.  What will be a challenge is the temptation of gardening as the weather gets warmer.........that dark, moist soil will be calling my name.....and all of those weeds that need pulling :-))

GRATITUDES:
The first hummingbird of Spring at the back porch feeder.
Lots of fresh eggs.
Birthdays.

Take care,
Jennie