Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Good, Bad and Ugly

The Good


I think I've figured out which setting on the new camera is going to be best for bird pics (hi-def, thru glass, hi speed, low light, etc).  It's been a real trial and error kind of thing. 

The Bad
(wicked/sinful/decadent and loved every last bite!)

Click HERE for the recipe
Click HERE for a ton of other Italian epicurian delights from Lidia's kitchen

The Ugly

Oh yes - that IS what it looks like... my dryer... all over my laundry room.   Do you know my least favorite aroma to fill the house on Christmas Eve?  The smell of a small electrical fire inside my dryer.

Not to worry.  Hubby looks to have it figured out.   (???)

Okay - maybe we should worry just a little.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010: The Year of "Other Stuff"


Merry Christmas, friends! 

It's late on Christmas night and the season of hustle and bustle is officially over.

All gifts have been exchanged, meals shared, desserts savored, dishes (and more dishes) done, and blessings counted.   Only because I love a post with pictures as much as everyone else, I'm posting some (old) Christmas shots.  I barely had time to turn around this holiday season (let alone take many pictures), and hubby had stomach flu on the one day I had free to put up a tree - so, sad to say, we didn't have a tree this year...  BUT!  The house still felt festive with the rest of it:

The stockings were hung

The table was set

Mary, Joseph, Jesus and admirers were present and accounted for:

And Jolly 'Ol St. Nick made me smile every time I glimpsed him in the foyer:

Honestly, the past twelve months have been the most hectic on record, for a variety of reasons, and I'm really REALLY looking forward to having one more day of 'holiday' before heading back to work.  Just the thoughts of having a little down-time is thrilling.  I've noticed that my attitude has started to improve (a little) knowing that the worst of my two work nightmares are practically over and I might have an evening here or there to put needle and thread to fabric again.

I sooooo love needleworking and cherish the time I (used to) spend with it that I can definitely feel the difference in my otherwise "sunny disposition" when I'm too busy for a long stretch of time to enjoy it.  Such has been the case for the most part of the year.  However, Hubby gave me a subscription to my very favorite stitching mag (Stitch with the Embroiderers' Guild) for Christmas (what a guy!) and I'm super excited about it!  I can feel myself becoming re-energized about stitching and literally felt the mental shift today from "Go, Go, Go!!!" to "Ahhhh, I think I'll sit down for a minute". 

Blue Jay

Tomorrow, Sunday, Dec 26th, is going to be a wonderful, peaceful, restful day.  I'll quietly clean the kitchen; make cream scones for brunch and roast a chicken for dinner.  I'll feed and watch the birds and stitch.  I'll not go to the post office or the mall or Wal-Mart. 

I might even take a nap.  :-)

Peace, Love and Joy to you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Tis the Season..

Happy Holidays friends!  This message is coming to you from the other side of the chapter Christmas party, and smack dab in the middle of a host of holiday 'festas'.  I think I forgot how jack-wild crazy Dec 1-Jan 5 are.  It definitely has caught me off guard this year.  I feel like Tina Turner on the farewell tour - run out, do the thing, run back, wardrobe change, run out, do the thing, run back, wardrobe change...repeat.  I love it, but jeeeez...  I must be getting old because I'm already tired and it's only mid-December.

The normal festiveness of the chapter Christmas party was tempered by the sadness we all had in our hearts for a member who lost her husband unexpectedly last week.  There are no words to adequately describe how his unexpected passing so profoundly affected all of us.  He was our friend.  He was her best friend.  His passing (Our loss) will echo through our chapter for a long time to come.

As for the party, my many thanks again to the ladies (Annette & Marsha) who made my job as chairman easy peasy:

Annette, monkey (me) in the middle, and Marsha

White Christmas table centerpieces:

It was a beautiful day, filled with good food, fellowship, gift exchanges and door prizes. 

In other news, despite the artic weather, the birds have really been enjoying the repurposed pumpkin from Thanksgiving...

I've been using both halves as serving dishes and it seems that the wide rim, deep bowl and bright color is just the ticket!  Of course it's been cold enough to freeze the pistachios off a nutcracker, but ever since I've been using these 'bowls', the birds have been coming in droves.  Including about 300 grackles I spent an entire day trying to shoo away.


I know - we're all God's creatures - etc., etc...

I'm trying to be non-discriminatory.  Really.

As soon as the clock slows down a little, I have a million pics to edit, stories to tell, stitching, blogging and commenting to catch up. 

...Just as soon as those Christmas cards get addressed and in the mail...


In the meantime, I'm wishing you all the very best the season has to offer. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

It's been another highly successful Thanksgiving here at manor.  Family and friends gathered.  They came, we ate and some even napped.  The menu was traditional and made from scratch.   I was so busy in the kitchen, I failed to grab the camera for any braggin' shots but trust me, it was a sight to behold.  I'm thankful for my faith, family, friends, and feasts.  A good time was had by all.

No shopping for me this Black Friday -  just wasn't in the mood to fight crowds and hustle about in the pre-dawn hours.   Instead, I packed away the Thanksgiving tableware and brought out the Christmas-ware.  I do love to set the table.  I'm thankful for time off work.

In the process of swapping seasons, I was compelled to clean out a few storage cabinets and re-arrange part of the pantry.  That felt great!  It was long overdue.  I'm thankful for neat shelves.

Tomorrow, I'll be hard at work again on Christmas party favors. live.


Happy Stitching friends!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Johnny-Come-Lately and Grand Central Station

Other than brief glimpses, I hadn't seen a bluejay at the feeder all summer.  Today, he seemed very hesitant and cautious, but he came anyway and I was glad to see him.  Truly I was beginning to think something was happening to the bluejay population.  They used to be very common in the woods around my house.

check out the nosecone on this guy!

He wasn't alone though.  Every other variety of bird I've ever thought about feeding also swung by today.  It was like Black Friday at the Mall.

hog eaters -- trying not to envision pigeons when I see these doves

my goldfinches are sporting their fall colors

this little guy is very skittish and scurries off every time I make a move for the camera,
so this was the best shot I could get of him today.  His bigger 'red bellied' brother was hopping around too, but too far off for a good shot of him.

As you can see, it's been a very busy day at the feeder.  I had an action packed weekend myself.  Still looking forward to a "lazy" weekend sometime this year.  Maybe 2011?

Have a great week friends!


40 years ago... was November 14, 1970.  Mom and Dad were on a date, a year before they would marry, when their evening was cut short by the siren of the volunteer fire department.  Mom sat in the car while Dad helped the other rescue workers do what could be done to sort through the wreckage.  The DC9 carrying the Marshall football team, coaches, athletic staff, and local supporters back from Eastern Tennessee had crashed short of the runway. 

They said the crash was "unsurvivable". 

They were almost right. 

The entire community became survivors that night. 

A classmate and teammate of mine was just a peanut in her momma's belly (a cheerleader) in November 1970. 

She never got to meet her dad. 

Thinking of you Michelle...

I was on campus today and took the opportunity to visit the Memorial fountain.

It will be ceremonially turned off on Sunday, at the conclusion of another memorial service.  

The fountain is not just located in the geographic heart of the campus, it also represents the true heart of the University.  Every year when the waters are stopped, you feel it.  You feel the pain, the loss, the silence in your heart.

We are Marshall.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

An extra hour to play catch-up

Who likes losing an hour of daylight?  Not me, but...waking up at my normal time, I find myself with an extra hour before church.  Hummm....should I run the sweeper? start some laundry?  or enjoy a leisurely latte, snap a couple of quick pics and blog a little?  Yes.  Door #3 please.

If you've been keeping up with me here, you may realize I've been making favors for the annual Christmas party and therefore haven't been able to post many stitching pics lately.  I'd really like everyone to be surprised.   However...  I've put a few door prizes together to go with our White Christmas theme that I'm just dying to share!  So, since I'm really good at breaking my own rules making executive decisions, here are a few Christmas party door prizes (not favors) for your viewing pleasure:

I might have paid 25 cents for this milk glass compote at my local salvage store.  Not sure what I would do with it when I bought it, I started to scour my many Christmas publications and the internet for White Christmas ideas.  That was that a BIG mistake.  Now, I have seventy-eleven ideas running around in my head that I would love Love LOVE to put together before December 11.  Alas, I am still making the individual favors, so I must limit the time I spend on these door prizes.

The little blue bird was quick and fun.  Machine stitching made fast work of the construction, but as always, I left myself a too-small hole to turn the thing right side out and stuff.  Eventually, with the help of a chop stick and tweezers, I got it turned and stuffed. 

As much as I loved making the little bird, I think the best thing about this gift is the perforated rim on the dish.  Perfect to hold a pair (or three or ten) of your favorite embroidery scissors.

Different dish, same perforated rim:

This one just screamed PEPPERMINT CANDY BOWL to me, for some with a few cents worth of ribbon and peppermint, VOILA!

Even though the greenery is plastic, didn't this turn out pretty?  I really like the hobnail vase.......A LOT......hummm...

Moving right along..

I call this one "Bon-Bons in the Bathtub". 
Who couldn't use a little candle/teabag dish, candle, Moonlight Path gel, poof, and white chocolate truffles.  Sounds like a good way to spend an hour or two to me!

You can't tell from the photo but this one is made like a goblet.   I liked it as a potpourri/candle holder but it would also make a great server for pistachios, mints, cocktail sauce, veggie dip, olives, whatever. 

My challenge has been to spend as little as possible on door prizes since I shot the favor budget on, well, favors.  It has actually been fun to up-cycle, repurpose, and use what I had on hand to put together door prizes I wouldn't mind winning myself.  Wish I could show you the favors too.  :-(    Sorry Charlies.  You'll just have to be patient and see them in December.  :-)

I'm working on about four other door prizes that I may have time to share with you before the party.  One of them is my favorite thus far...  :-))

So, to say it local-like, "Y'all come!"

Hubby has been busy as a beaver lately too.   Several months back I showed him the bamboo DMC floss cabinet

that is being sold for $229 plus S and H.   And maybe I might have suggested that he should tell Santa about it.  Last week, he surprised me with not only a beautiful two-tone treasure chest (monogrammed, no less) but also a table to go with!

Not wanting the cabinet to get too much direct sunlight, the table will play host to my tea tray and elephant parade

while the chest will be situated close by, but not directly in the sun.

Check out the felt lining...

I love it very much.  :-)

I'm ashamed that I have yet to show you the work table he made for me, but every time I photograph it, I'm too embarrassed by my mess in, on and around it to post it.  As soon as I get a chance though, I promise I'll clear it off and share.

So, if you've made it this far, I really appreciate you taking time to catch up with me.   And, I am wishing you and yours a beautiful season of Thanksgiving...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Wrap-Up

First, let me say, I'm not old.  I refuse to be.  I'm just pre-maturely...mature.  With that said, Can you believe tomorrow is NOVEMBER 1!!!  Geez Louise!  October just evaporated.  With exception to the little road trip hubby and I took over Columbus Day, all the stitching has been for party favors, so I don't have much that I can show you.  But first...

These aren't the best photos in the world, but I love to see how beautiful the birds wings are in flight.  Reminds me of fractal art. 

And why I love their little bird feet is a total mystery to me, but I do.

I didn't intend to capture these guys in flight, but I was using the 'Running Man' setting on the camera (for fast action).  It takes a series of shots, rapid-fire style, when you press the button (a.k.a. the big button, the Go button, the picture takin' button, whatever..).  Are you impressed with all this technical jargon I've learned? 

The sun was illuminating these mums yesterday and they seemed to be glowing.  When we turn the clocks back later this week (boo-hiss!), I will feel sun-deprived almost immediately.  So, I really tried to enjoy as much sunshine as I could this weekend.

And what, pray tell, did I stitch on this month, other than party favors?

Meet VooDoo Bob
design exclusive by:  Haberdashery Designs

Yes - You guessed it - He's a pin cushion!  He tickled my funny bone from the minute I saw him.  He'll be finished as a stand-up doll.  I can't wait to finish him but I'm sure it will be January.  It might look strange for me to work on him during the holidays, with all the family visiting.  They might start getting ideas about me.  We might as well keep my crazy between us chickens.   Right?  



Friday, October 29, 2010

new at the feeder this week

Don't know where these guys have been eating all summer, but they just showed up in force at the feeding bowl this week.  I don't think I've ever seen them before.  At first glimpse, I thought they were grey cardinals.

This chap and his cronies are eating me out of house and home!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haunted Pumpkin Cottage

Gooseberry Patch Haunted Cottage

Nutty Bar Cottage features candy corn Rose Window

freshly dug graves with fig newton and nutter butter tombstones

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sponsor Dino

Are you a dog lover? 

You know I am.  I am also guilt ridden about not personally helping each and every stray I see trotting down the alleys, highways and biways.  That's why when I see and hear stories like the story of Dino, I gladly go for my wallet.  I might not be able to provide a warm, loving home and full belly to all the homeless animals I encounter, but I can certainly make modest but meaningful donations to causes like Dino.

click HERE for the Rescue Dino website

I warn you - don't read Dino's story if you aren't in a position to help.  It will break your heart. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Welcome... the Mouse Hotel

I hosted a week long Fall Festival for the folks at work this past week.  On Thursday, we decorated pumpkins.

complete with rubber mice and shredded paper 'rat's nest'

Courtesy of Martha Stewart. 

Gotta love Martha. 

Halloween Freakazoid.

My annual pumpkin carving co-worker is also a Halloween Freakazoid.  The instant I told her what I'd seen on Martha's website, it was settled.  We were making a Mouse Hotel for this year's pumpkin decorating contest.  It looks incredibly creepy in real life.  Perched on a black cake stand and nestled in a shredded paper rat's nest, it is totally Addams Family.  

And, oh yeah, we sooooooo won the contest.

We have a WINNER!

Thank you all for expressing interest in my little vampire stitching case!   

I'm sure Count Stitchalot will enjoy life in...

Australia!  with Anne!  from Feather Stitching!

Congrats Anne!

And thanks again to everyone who takes the time to pop in here and leave me a comment.  I do love them all!!!

Happy Weekend Friends

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All thru the house...

If my name was Rockefeller, I'm sure I would have a set of dishes to match every season, pre-season, post-season, holiday, moon phase, and mood.  Yes.  Dishes and salt shakers.  Gots to have the salt shakers.

Seeing how fall is my absolute favorite season, I don't know how I've scraped by for so many years with such a woeful lack of autumnal tableware.  Imagine my glee when I walked into Pier 1 (for a candle, mind you) and found the most perfectly perfect paprika hued luncheon plates and golden yellow leaf-shaped salad bowls:

fresh from their shipping crates.

I could not believe my luck!  On the very night I needed a $5 candle, Pier 1 was putting out all their new, gorgeous fall tableware!!!  Seriously!  That kind of thing never happens to me.  I am pretty sure my "Happy Dance" looked more like the "Not an Earthworm" dance that has only been seen once, years ago, when I found a baby snake in the basement.  O yes.  It was something to behold.

Did I mention that these dishes perfectly matched my (precious few) existing fall-ware pieces?

I would say I'm tickled pink, but maybe tickled paprika would be more appropriate.

But wait!  There's more!

At this year's WV Pumpkin Festival, guess what I found!

Blenko Glass pumpkin

Perfectly perfect little artisan glass pumpkins - which fit perfectly in the golden yellow leaf-shaped salad bowls.


I think I can die happy now.

Right after I change my name to Rockefeller...