Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fruit of the Jungle

All spring I have been looking out the window in front of me into the back yard...aka 'The Jungle'...and seeing a few berries that I suspected the birds would get.  Then, I noticed that the birds were having trouble finding something sturdy enough to land on....time to investigate.

The jungle gets absolutely no tending short of cutting it back before it starts to nibble at the back of the house...sad, but true.
The upside of this wanton neglect is that you sometimes find treasures in the jungle..like volunteer black raspberry plants (they have a special name, don't they?) growing and producing!  I could only see a few berries.  Evidently they like it a bit shady, because when I started moving leaves....oh, yeah!  Score.  I left lots of red ones for another day.

Enough for me and the wild creatures...at least today.

Now, is there anything I can do with about a cup of yummy, well, you know, besides sit here and eat them up???

ps...this is my 100th post on this blog.  Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ring Bearer Pillows - A Wedding Gift

Emily is getting married.  I have known her since she was born.  Her mom introduced my husband and I.  Her dad did the plans for my new house.  We have shared jobs and church.
Making this gift was a joy for me.  This is not to say it was stress free, because I wanted it to be special and perfect and all, but I was so happy they asked me to be a small part of the BIG day.  Anne asked in plenty of time and I have thought and searched and planned and rethought and bought supplies and drawn pictures for months.  Sometimes you just cannot rush the process.  I finally came up with a plan I liked and I had all the supplies I needed.

I took lots of pictures, OK?  Here we go....
I almost never draw first, but this one had to be special.

And, yes, I have to wear my glasses for this kind of work now.


Flowers tacked in place.

Buttons added with the navy blue accent color.  This is when I started to love it and be thrilled that what I saw in my mind's eye was becoming real.
Leaves.  Can't really see the gauzy bits under a few of the flowers, but they add a little extra whimsy, in my opinion.  Oh, wait I have a close up...

Both sides done-ish.  Notice the difference?  

Here they are with the ring pockets added and the stuffing done.
This side, with the most flowers;, the beautiful and blooming side, is the side that Emily's ring will go on to remind her to bring beauty and growth to the family.

This side, with the most leaves and vines, is the side that CJ's ring will go on to remind him to be all the support and strength that Emily needs to continue to bloom and grow.

One pocket says Love and the other has the date of the wedding.

SEe?  Each pocket has a ribbon to tie the rings on with and then tuck them down into the pocket.  This does not come without risks.  When I got married, someone tied the rings on so well that my husband, the Boy Scout - always prepared, had to take out his pocket knife and cut them off during the ceremony!

I really wish you could see them in real life.  I am so happy with the way the turned out.  The mother of the bride was happy and now I am hoping the bride is happy.

As a bonus, while I was sewing, I prayed for these two sweet young people and the new life they are beginning.

Ain't love grand?

PS...Emily just called and she loves them, too!  Oh, happy heart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Little Farm Visit

The raising of chickens for fresh eggs seems like a good idea right up until I think about how much work that would actually be and I remember that I have friends who evidently don't mind the hard work.
I get my eggs from them...brown and white...always in a pattern in the carton.  Fun.

Today, my friend, Stevie, and I went to the farm to get our eggs and to see the rest of the animals.  The chickens live at the house, but the rest of the animals live on 'the farm' about a mile away.  Nice chickens.  Crazy roosters that crow at all times of the day...what?????....and about 100 peeps waiting to join the flock!

After thanking the chickens for our eggs, we went on to visit with the BIG animals.
Fending off another BIG horsey animal 
(Rosie...red horse in picture above) with my left hand.
This is Nellie.  See how brave I am?  
Kristen, am I ready to ride now?
And this sweet little guy, Jack.  You can his nose sticking into the horsey picture where I am trying to fend off Rosie....he's just a little guy in there with all the BIGS.
These three are off the the state fair later this summer.
The big one is waiting for his new owner to pick him up and the little one is waiting to grow up enough to go and live in the field.  Did you know that all lambie pies are born black?  I didn't know that.  They are hoping this little guy stays black.

And a sure sign of summer for me - daisy flowers!

It was a very nice visit and I am again impressed with how hard farmers work.  Thanks a farmer next time you get the chance!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Progress...Slow and Sure

Finally some work is getting done at Shangri La Ti Da again.  We had to hire a contractor to do the high up parts over the lower tin roof because we just don't have the equipment to get up there without hurting the roof....contractors are a whole new kind of frustration, but it will be done soon...well, their part will be...maybe as soon as Monday!

Let's start here.

This is the first of nearly 325 of these that need painted.

I've done 25 and we are waiting for more.  These are the battens
for the board and batten finish on part of the house.

The upstairs door that will open onto an upstairs
screened in porch!  So looking forward 
to that....

Still have massive painting to do, but that can wait 
until they go away.  See the one piece that is all done?
Needing a LONG roller stick thingy.

SCALLOPS!  And we're not talking seafood.

And more scallops and there will be some on the
other end of the yellow part, too.

In an effort to make my mowing a little easier, I decided to mulch around things that were hard to mow around.  15 bags of mulch later, I am sure hoping that it does indeed make the mowing easier.
And here are these cute new gloves....that I didn't wear.
Fingernails won't be the same for some time. 
I just don't like to wear them, but I should.  Got one 
sliced finger from some tough grass I was 
trying to pull.  ouch.

The shed, aka, practice house, we built 3 
summers ago...with a lovely skirt of mulch.

The Orchard.
With mulch and a bottle of really stinky stuff
to keep the deer from eating the leaves...
which they did the first night we put the 
new tree (in the middle) out there.

And last, but not least, my new yard art!
An older gentleman on the way out to La Ti Da 
makes these and has them all over his yard.

I just needed one.  Bet my neighbors are glad!  

Everyone needs a little whimsy, right?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dance Like No One Is Watching

Last night, after a week of feeling like everyone was out to irritate me (and succeeding!), I went to the local dance company's Dance Recital.  A little history... Sally Ann grew up here and has taught dance here for many years.  Really it seems like forever we shared kids, but she just isn't that old.  I don't know how that works.  She loves what she does and does it well.  Kids love her.  A small testimony to the lives she has touched:  Last year she moved to a new building on Kingwood's little dying main street and she had the name of her business painted on the outside...BIG!  In a funky graphic design.  A few of the old guard got excited about this and went to the City Council, but only one parent had to put it on Facebook and it was all over....the event page was full and the Council meeting well attended.  The painting stayed.
So, anyway, I have not been to a recital since my nieces finished dancing in Maryland.  Sally Ann puts on a 2 evening event because she has so many dancers and each night is 3 - 4 hours long.  Our Civic Center is filled with beaming or bemused families and friends.  Girls in frills and sparkles and pretty hair are flitting all about -
and then it is show time.

Lights go down and the dances begin.  There were about 75 last night.  Everything from clogging to ballet in toe shoes.  Jazz and tap.  Tumbling and modern.

There were the littles who could really just stand up there and be adorable with all their eyes on Miss Sally who is guiding them through their moves from the front row.
There were the girls I have watched at school...quiet and shy and awkward...dancing and smiling and filled with joy.
There were the big girls who were choreographing their own dances and sharing their souls filled with joy or angst or pain....lots of angst!
There were girls of all sizes and shapes who put on the costumes and become suddenly more equal, suddenly on the same team.
And then there were my favorites -

~A little 3 year old girl with spina bifida who I have prayed for since before she was born.  She has big sisters who dance and a family who has always made her life about her abilities instead of her disability.  She danced wearing leg braces and leaning fully on her sweet sister who never once took her eyes or hands off of her.  She was probably captivated by that smile on her face, the same as the rest of us.

~A little old lady in the adult class (30 soemthings to 70 somethings) who came on stage for each of their 3 dances with a cane and moved as she could.  On the clogging dance she put down her cane and moved even a bit more.  There was always a hand reaching up to help her on and off of the stage.  Her back was bent, but when she lifted her face you could see her joy.

Really?  How could I be irritated by late deliveries at La Ti Da, wrong deliveries, a car almost hitting me as she texted, an old tree falling in my day lilies, bad eating choices, a very rare disagreement with my little husband over housekeeping of all things, a chaotic First Friday....you get the idea?!?!?!?

God put me there at that recital to show me joy and courage and trust and innocence and becoming and excellence.

And now, I want to dance like no one is watching!  And love like I'll never get hurt.  One of my favorite sayings for the week - Nothing is louder than love....God's Kingdom on earth....LOVE.

I wish you each could have been there.  I wish we could talk about it together.

Oh, and I am now a certified youth archery instructor for a program called Centershot...aiming to make God the center of your world.  I passed the written test with flying colors and all my arrows hit the target every time!  Yippee.