Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gathering tales

It seems that Thanksgiving gatherings are traditional for most families but not for mine. Even though our Thanksgiving Day is spent with family, which is tradition, our holiday plan differs from one year to the next. My parents, brother, and I have always lived a distance from the rest of the family and being married hasn’t changed circumstances bc dh’s family lives in Canada (not to mention their Thanksgiving is in October-anyhoo). My FIL, however, does live nearby.

As a young child we always spent TG with my mom’s side of the family and those holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving, are some of my first. They are my favorite keepsakes of the heart. The family was bustling with laughter and joy, bad jokes, with a little drama mixed in. Kids running around. Cookies and decorations on the tables and name tags labeling plates. Those were some of the best times of my life and a yearly occurrence.

Since those times every year our TG gatherings changed. Last year we had the addition of our family-friend join us. The year prior my BIL and his (now) fiancé and FIL joined my family (or was that Christmas?), or was that just my FIL? See how jumbled up our holidays can get. The year prior to that one was our last TG spent with my late-MIL, Barbara, who passed away the year after of cancer. My family and in-laws spent TG at their house. It was a memorable Thanksgiving because it was our last with her – a cherished treasure for me.

[Grandma and Grandpa meeting Cameron for the first time. Cameron was 3-4 months old.]

And again, this TG will be different. My parents and I haven’t traveled to be with family in quite sometime and this year we’re leaving home to spend it with my Grandparents and Uncle Jimmy in Arkansas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the visit, but at the same time it will be a bit sad. My Grandmother has recently been diagnosed with dementia. Physically her health has been declining for quite sometime, but now her mind is failing her. The boys and I want to visit with her while she still knows us and can enjoy us and we can enjoy her. Her birthday also happens to be the same week as TG so it’s an extra special treat for her to have us all there. My dad told me that he asked Grandma what she wanted for her birthday and she said “All of you!” Well, she’s going to get her wish and I’m happy to be apart of that gift. It’s been awhile since we’ve all filled her home.

[Play video – 10 seconds] Grandma used to do this little ditty to us when we were kids. I think it’s a southern thing but what I do know for sure is that it’s a tradition for her tickle a baby this way. ;-)

My mother has organized a TG dinner by having a local store cook an entire turkey feast with all the fixins’ and we’ll pick it up when we arrive. The easy part is no one has to cook or clean up which makes for more family time. The way I see it is none of us are wasting time. This could very well be her last birthday and her last Thanksgiving. I want to savor that memory forever and I want Grandma to carry it in her heart forever as well. This will be one gathering tale I’ll never forget…Thanks for listening to the tales. Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to all! We're off on our Thanksgiving travels. Talk soon!

PS. I do like Blogger’s scheduled post option, don’t you? :-)

before thanksgiving

It has been a really, really rough week and a half. In 7 days Cameron and I have been to see the doctor 4 times - three times for Cameron and once for myself. Luckily for us both we’re clearing up but we have lingering effects. Cameron was nearing a series of shots to cure his infection, but thankfully his round of oral meds finally kicked in and knocked down the infection tremendously.

After his 2-day vomit fest and 3-4 days of 103-104 temperature he developed a head-to-toe rash. At first I thought maybe he had an allergy to the antibiotic but he saw the doctor (3rd visit) and found that he had the Roseola virus and his ear infection was at its ultimate worst. Now he’s over ALL that and becoming his spunky, kicky-self again. He still has a runny nose and a slight cough, still on meds, but definitely on the mend.

Cameron sporting his dashing smile again and the new Christmas jammies his Nana gave him. They have doggies on them.

Since Cameron has been so sick and one of our daily, minute-by-minute challenges has been wiping a snotty nose he’s been influenced some into helping Blue Bear with his supposed snotty nose too. Only Cameron used some of mommy’s batting instead of tissue or toilet paper. Speaking of which...

I am doing better, but I too have a lingering cough. Sinuses are still a bother and my voice isn’t quite mine. I asked Cameron to get me “some” tissue and he brought back the remaining toilet paper unraveled. Isn’t he adorable?! I just had to capture this. Luckily I had the camera on the table where I was sitting. Cameron’s so funny – LOL.

I have been productive…I think. If that’s what you call it. I have done stuff. For starters I went to Moonlight Stitching at the LNS on Saturday and I had a fabulous time – one of the best times actually. I know it’s partly because of my mood but also bc of the company I kept. It would have been even better if mom were there. I sure did miss her and so did everyone else.

My friend, Sally, gave me a couple of her finished projects to finish-finish. This is one of them by LK. We’ll be finishing it into a hanging ornament which I’ve started, but I’m not posting pics until it’s complete. The orange fabric is for backing the ornament and it’s really cute. The DMC is for twisted cord.

I finished stitching primitivebettys Thankful freebie and I’ve started to finish-finish it into a hanging ornament, but no pictures of that one yet either. I’m bummed I have nothing to show on that front bc I was hoping I would before Thanksgiving but it doesn’t look that way. I've had my hands terribly full with an ill child and a sick self. I'm surprised I've gotten as much started as I have all things considering.

I joined my first SAL a week ago - The Prairie Schooler ABC Bee. I asked the LNS if they would order the first ABC chart (and they did!) and they got it in next day. Way cool! I had a piece of linen (28 ct. Natural) and the DMC in my stash so off on my start I went. I’ll post a progress photo after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Today I experimented with dyeing fabric with cinnamon ground for the first time as well as the usual dyeing process with Rit and coffee. I used scrap pieces for the job. The darker pieces are with Rit and the lighter pieces are with cinnamon and coffee. The grey/blue is with Rit. Just having some experimental dyeing fun that’s all.

Cameron and I went by the LNS today to pick up a piece of 36 ct. linen; Antique White to be exact. That wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but that’s what I ended up getting. I had a $20.00 punch card so I used that for linen, a JBW design, and a skein of WDW. My total came to $19.39. Not bad, ugh? Anyhoo, I plan on dyeing the fabric – it’s for a specific project that I started this evening.

Well, that’s it for me. It’s seriously late. Past midnight. Tomorrow I have to pack. The boys and I are riding along with my parents to Arkansas for Thanksgiving to visit with Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Jimmy. I’ve scheduled a blog post while I’m away so that’s checked off my to-do list. ;-)

I hope you all have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Hugs! Talk soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

sick & rotten don't mix

Cameron has been ill since last weekend. Thursday was the first full day he didn't have a fever. So far, we're in our second day of no fever. Thursday was also the turning point for keeping food down, thankfully. He is perking up more and more, but still not fully himself. However, bc of the endless cycle of sickness in this house and the duration of its effects we are overdue of vacation and time away from each other. I'll prove that to you now. Go ahead and play this wonderful video I managed to catch.

Cameron had five, count 'em, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 temper tantrums just like this one in one day. Each lasting around 45 minutes. Think about this for one minute, or how about 5 hours bc that's about what this equates to. Five hours of ear piercing, blood curdling, I'm-going-to-call-the-Catholic-church-and-request-an-exorcism (and we're not even Catholic), two-year old hissy fit this little boy throws when he's been sick for a week. Next time this happens dh can stay home with him and I'll go off to some island with my mom and friends and sit and stitch until this little bugger is well enough to come home to. Thank God tomorrow evening is moonlight stitching! Thank God for 6 hours of time away from Cameron, away from Jose, away from dh, away from this prison house! I am looking forward to just getting away no matter where I end up. At this point, I just don't give a flying-flip!

Are you wondering what calmed Cameron down finally? I showed him video of himself portraying Linda Blair. He didn't like what he saw. He watched the 30 second video, turned his head away from me and 1-minute later this...

That's right sweet baby of get your rest after all that beautiful screaming you did while mama cradles herself in the corner, knees to her chest, rocking back and forth, crying for her own mommy to come make all the clouds go away. LOL Btw, I am feeling better. Not 100% but improving. Thanks to everyone for your well wishes! Talk soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

first time SAL-ing

I joined my first SAL today so as soon as I purchase the first chart, ABC by The Prairie Schooler, I'll be on my way. I'm really excited. Vonna put this together and it's a loose SAL - Vonna is so cool for it too!

If you wanna join click on the photo (also on my sidebar).

If you would like to see where people began drooling, therefore, asking Vonna if she were going to set up a blog for the SAL check out THIS LINK. (Need a Kleenex?)

I'm going to stitch mine as this model which was done on 28 ct over 1. I cannot wait to get started. Talk soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

off our game

Cameron and I are completely off our game. We’re both sick as dogs. Cameron’s fever is proving difficult to control and it’s nearly impossible for him to keep anything down. He isn’t eating much so basically fluids are all we’re attempting at this point. I took Cameron to the doctor yesterday. He has a viral infection. He’s tired. I’m tired.

I’m sick too but with something much different. I have no fever. Saw the doctor this morning. I have a sinus infection and a cough - the pain is terrible. I have a swollen throat and glands. Dh came home while I went to the doctor bc Cameron is too busy up-chucking (pardon me). I was thankful for that. (Not the up-chucking. Dh coming home and sitting with Cameron.)

Because of being off our game and having my hands incredibly full with illness the only thing I’ve managed to stitch on and get right is Rudolph by The Stitcherhood. It was a freebie last year. It took all but one evening to stitch and one evening to put together. My Aunt Pam and I stitched while on the phone together last night and this is what I finished. She finished her project too.

I’m sad. Well, sad news for me rather. Due to difficult circumstances here on the homestead we have to shut off our cable, Internet, and telephone. Sad?? Entirely. What does this mean? It means I can’t blog. Can’t blog regularly or visit all of you on a regular basis. According to dh this takes effect Wednesday. The phone I’m not too worried about bc I have my cell, however, when Jose gets home and I’m not there he usually calls me to say he made it home safe and sound. He won’t be able to do that now. The TV isn’t a huge deal bc I’m more a movie person and I have tons of them. However, I do watch certain shows through the week so maybe mom will T-Vo those for me.

I’ll stitch and work my projects as I always do. I can update my blog and visit others when I visit my mom. I usually go to her house one day a week so not all is lost completely. I can still receive email but will only get to check it when I’m at mom’s house. The only real critical problem here is that this puts a HUGE wedge in my efforts to find work. Ninety-nine percent of my search is done via the Internet and job search engines so I’m extremely concerned about this. I can’t look for a job one afternoon a week and the paper is of no source these days. One strategy I do have left is to contact a recruiter and have them on the search for me. But then, who these days doesn’t have email??? I feel like a cave woman (anyone want to pull me by my hair?).

Anyhoo, moonlight stitching is Saturday at the LNS so at least I have something to look forward to. I have many, many friends there especially my dear heart Sally. She always lifts my spirits. Unfortunately, mom won’t be there. No, she’ll be returning from Key West, Florida that evening – lucky tanned-girl.

I’m getting off-line now. Cameron needs his nap and I might even take one. I feel like crap-ola. I need to rest. We had a dreadful time last night and today isn’t fairing much better. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. Seriously, all, I need a vacation. Talk soon!

Friday, November 13, 2009

winter-y, pumpkin-y

I’m so happy! Pat who is the shop-owner of the LNS finished knitting my Midsome Mitts and I’m truly appreciative and so pleased by how they turned out. Aren’t they pretty? She did such a fantastic job. She was fast too. Go to Staci’s blog for the free pattern.

I started on Winter Row by Bent Creek. I don’t have a progress pic to share, but I started the first snowman. I’m using different color linen but the same count and I am using the recommended threads though.

This afternoon while the boys were attending school and dh was at work I decided to do some baking. I don’t get to bake very often but I’ve had this recipe for awhile now. I borrowed it from my mother and she borrowed it from her friend Judy. I believe she’s the source of the Pumpkin Coffee Cake. It is really good, however, next time I’m leaving out the chopped nuts. I can do without them. Nonetheless, it is good. I can’t wait until morning time. Coffee brewed, piping hot, and warm up that coffee cake. Yum-yum!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake Recipe

½ c butter
¾ c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c sour cream
1 can pumpkin (16 oz)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Streusel Topping:
1 c packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c butter
1 c nuts, chopped

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Add 3 beaten eggs, beat well. Combine flour, baking powder and soda. Add to butter mixture, alternating with sour cream. Set aside. Combine pumpkin, 1 beaten egg, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. Prepare topping by combining dry ingredients and cutting in the butter. Pour half of the batter into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Spread to cover the pan. Sprinkle half the topping mixture onto batter. Spread pumpkin mixture over the top. Spread remaining batter over pumpkin mixture. Spread the rest of the topping o the top over that. Spread remaining batter over pumpkin mixture. Spread the rest of the topping on top of batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

As I type I’m falling asleep. I guess that’s a sign I must retire for the night and call it quits. Talk soon….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

aside from stitching...a history lesson?

Thursday a friend and I went to Carnton Plantation in Historic Downtown Franklin where the Battle of Franklin took place during the height of the Civil War. It was one of the most intense, yet shortest (lasting only 5 hours) and bloodiest wars fought during the Civil War taking place the evening of November 30, 1864. Carnton Plantation was owned by a wealthy and well-known family named McGavock. There are roads named after the family and 3-4 other plantation homes surrounding Nashville. President Andrew Jackson was a very close friend of the McGavock family and even stayed at their home many times during his travels. [The Hermitage (located east of Nashville) is another town/plantation, tourist spot which is the home of Andrew Jackson.]

This entire area is one giant battlefield. It’s quite extraordinary really. Historical societies and private organizations are still excavating the grounds and finding Civil War relics. The history that Nashville and the surrounding area has to offer is amazing. A lot of people don’t know, and I didn’t either until now, is that Nashville was one of the more important cities back then for supplying the Union army with whatever they needed which was a pretty big army. Everything was sent through Nashville for the entire south – pretty amazing stuff.

Photos are not allowed taken inside the home, but we are free to take ones outside. I only took a few. This photo is actually of the back of the house. Funny how the door is off center. In the main living room I noticed a ball of yarn and sheets of paper on a table. Naturally, I had to check it out. It was counted cross stitch from the 1850s. The tabletop had a removable lid and inside was more sheets of cross stitch. I guess these girls drew cross stitch patterns for themselves. It was so neat!

A view from the back porch. It’s a breathtaking view looking out into open fields with trees here and there. I can just imagine no trees at all during the 1800s. Seeing as far as the eye can see and poor Carrie McGavock (pictured above at her engagement) coming onto her porch the morning of November 30 and witnessing two giant armies, each 20,000 strong lining themselves for battle, one in the south and one to the north, on their property. Can you imagine? This family had nothing to do with what was about to take place. It just so happened that their house was right in the middle of this battle and it served as a hospital for the wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. Four generals died on this back porch.

The 2-story brick house with 2 doors was the slave quarters. One side was for sleeping and cooking. The other was for wool making and textiles. I wished I had photographed in there and am slapping myself for not. The McGavock family owned a total of 39 slaves. Some field slaves and some house slaves. Interestingly, there was a slave named Mariah (I think). She had been with the family for decades. After the war and after the Emancipation Proclamation she made the decision to stay with the family instead of being a free woman. In fact, she stayed with the family until her death. Even though slaves were not taken well care of, the slaves of the McGavock family, especially Mariah, had it better than most in the south. The small white brick house on the right was the family’s smoke house. We all know what a smoke house is, but they also made candles and other supplies in there as well. This is where they stored meat and other goods through the winter.

Here is inside the smoke house and this is just one of two giant dug out logs the family used to house meat and other goods. What’s amazing about the inside is that it still, after all these years, smells like smoke and a hint of meat. The roof is blackened and ash still remains on the walls and on the floor.

In the end, neither side won this battle in Franklin. The battle at Carnton Plantation was completely unnecessary and it was never about or for the Village of Franklin. It was about taking Nashville (about 20 miles north of Franklin) which the Union finally did win. The Confederate suffered more loss than the Union at Carnton but no one won. Each suffered great loss. The McGavock family literally went through hell this evening on the 30th of November 1964 doing all they could to sooth, mend, “put down,” house, and give peace to wounded and dying Confederate solders, and forever changing their own lives.

They continued to live at Carnton until the early 1900s. The entire McGavock family, cousins and extended, are buried just steps away from their home in their private cemetery along with the thousands of known and unknown Confederate solders that died in and around their home. I can’t imagine this battle being fought in their front yard. They owned the 600 acres surrounding their house which was the battleground and the land that encroaches downtown Franklin. Forty-thousand plus men on foot and horse, along with cannons and wagons and other supplies traipsing across the landscape at 4:00 pm. Amazing!

For those wondering what “Carnton” means it is derived from a Gaelic word cairn that means “a pile of stones”. A cairn is sometimes a pile of stones marking a grave. It’s fitting for a place like the Carnton Plantation.

Well, that’s all for the agonizing history lesson - LOL. I had a fabulous time there and always do and even though this was my third tour in 16 years I learn something new each time I go. I’ll probably go again sometime in the future and really study the graves next time around. Thanks for listening to how my Thursday went. Our dinner tonight was roasted lemon chicken, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese – Kraft style. ;-) Dessert? Pumpkin Coffee Cake! (More on that later.) Talk soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

it IS a sickness after all

Okay! Well! My needles are either on fire or I’m extremely nuts…maybe a little of both. LOL I meant to post this last night, but actually began falling asleep on the keyboard (no kidding) and had to shut it and myself down. This proves I am nuts (in a good way), and tired. I finish-finished two projects after I made my post yesterday which proves that my needles are indeed on fire including my embroidery needle and sewing machine.

28 ct. Natural linen
Recommended GAST

I finished November flip-it into a needle cushion. I filled it with crushed corn. How suitable, don’t you think? It’s so dainty and cute. Feels like a little bean bag. I like it and Jose likes it too. He thinks it’s cute. I'm really glad he likes one of my handmade pieces, but he's NOT getting it!

28 ct. Lambswool linen
Over-dyed threads

Better late than never I suppose. I stitched Hallow’s Eve a year ago. I even machine quilted the framework of fabric around the stitched piece, but I never finish-finished it. So disappointing b/c I wanted it done so badly. Oh well. At least I got it done and I was able to use my black ric rack. I do love my ric-rack.

We finally settled on pizza for dinner last night. And my third tour of the Carnton Plantation was cancelled today but we’re going Thursday instead. I’m home alone right now, can you believe it? It’s so quiet, except for my teeny taps on the keys. I’m going to get off and see what I can get into while the boys are away. Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments. I adore each and every one of you! Talk soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

november & dashing

As of late, I am literally on fire. I just started the November flip-it Sunday night and finished it last night. I’ve had so many finishes lately. I’m not sure what my craze is. I think it’ll become a needle cushion or it can just sit in a basket or atop a shelf through November. I also started something new while at mom’s yesterday. Stacy Nash’s Dashing Through the Snow. It’s a cute primitive piece.

I love that squirrel charm. Squirrels remind me of my Grandparents b/c they used to feed them from their dining room window, and Grandpa used to feed them outside on the porch. Some squirrels would sit on his lap and eat from his hand. There have been a few bites to the hands, but that never stopped Grandma and Grandpa from feeding the squirrels peanuts. Squirrels ran through the house a few times as well. LOL Wonderful memories!

I’m stitching this on 32 ct linen hand-dyed by me. I like it so far. It’ll help with the overall primitive feel. I’m using the recommended threads - can’t go wrong sticking with the SN recommendations.

That’s all I have for now. The sun is starting to lose its appeal. Going bye-bye! The days are so short now, but the weather has been fantastic! Tomorrow I’m taking my third tour of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN with a friend of mine. It’s an awesome place with tremendous history. The Battle of Franklin during the Civil War was fought there. Well, Jose will be home from school shortly, Cameron is still napping, and I have no clue what's for dinner. WOW! Talk soon!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

a busy bee

I felt like a queen bee today tending to my hive. In this case the “hive” stands for all my activities not home. First I went for my routine walk. It was g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s! Our high was in the mid-70's - can’t beat that. Afterwards, I went to the FedEx office store (used to be Kinko's) to make copies and print off my Jane Austen sampler for an upcoming project. Here are the ingredients:

Not too long ago, Alma and Barb’s blog had the best tutorial on how to cover a paper mache box, which I’ve done before, but they added one small clever detail to their box that I have not yet tried. They copied a favorite Quaker sampler and inserted it inside the entire box. It is so, so adorable. I just had to make one so I began the process today. The two pieces of reproduction fabric above are of original color. I adopted Blackbird’s way of removing color.

I experimented with removing color from two pieces of fabric with Rit dye color remover as they did. Blackbird was right. You have to remove that fabric quick or else. Thankfully I read their instructions twice over and was ready to take the fabric out as fast as I was at putting them in. I let the pieces air dry in the sun for a couple of hours. Here they are color removed, after drying, and before ironing. I’ve ironed them since and they look so soft and old. I love how they turned out. I’ll work on the sizing and slicing of fabric as soon as possible. I’m in no rush.

Jo March says…

I finished stitching Little Women Saturday night. I started it Friday afternoon so a fairly quick stitch indeed. I picked these two pieces of fabric a year ago for this design and they look better now than they did before. I’m glad I picked them. =)

I’m shocked I had bells in my finishing drawer, but they work, don’t they? They add a nice “ring” to the piece – LOL. Tanya was right. Christmas doesn’t always have to be in red and green. PINK will work just as well. The pink and green stripes remind me of candy canes so it definitely works for this piece. The pink with green stripes is the backing fabric while the just pink stripes are for the bottom panel.

Here it is all made up. It’s done on 28 ct linen that I hand-dyed with a pomegranate and that was a year ago. Surprisingly its managed to keep its color nicely. I used the recommended DMC thread – only three colors. I used a ribbon that had polka dots on it which compliments the berries, wouldn’t you agree? :o) Anyhoo, can’t wait to get this out for Christmas and jingle those bells!

While I was in the spirit of finishing projects and starting others I decided to get threads together for the November flip-it by Lizzie*Kate. This needs to get stitched b/c it is November – can’t waste anymore time. Aren’t the colors pretty with this one? I think so. I love those rich colors. I’m going to turn this one into a little needle cushion.

Last, but never ever, ever least is Cameron being ever so sweet and cute. I cut his hair Saturday night and as mothers we know how much older our toddlers look once we make those snips. I leave you with him playing outside today in the yard and the car.

Enjoy your Monday! We’re spending ours at Nana’s house – Yay!!! Talk soon!