Thursday, January 31, 2013

Needlework Tuesday . . . on Thursday

It's been ages since I posted a Needlework Tuesday post (sponsored by Heather at Books and Quilts) and, yes, I know it's Thursday but there was work and books and snow and that darn Ruzzle game my daughter got me hooked on . . . Time just got away from me.  However, just because I haven't been linking up doesn't mean I haven't been stitching.  As a matter of fact, I have too many projects going at once, which contributes to nothing getting done.  So the focus for awhile ("awhile" being defined as "until some new brainstorm distracts me") is to take care of UFO's (Heather's term for UnFinished Objects).

Carpal tunnel and aging eyes have kept me from cross-stitching for the last few years.  Now that the hand pain is gone and I have new bi-focals, I'm giving it another shot.  Just to be sure I was ready to return to a former addiction, I picked up this kit at Wal-Mart as a quick, easy test run.  Obviously didn't get finished by Christmas.  The problem wasn't hand pain or tired eyes - it was project overload.  But I'm still stitching - determined to be done before Spring thaw.

My Christmas quilt, a lap-sized quilt to use up all the large-scale Christmas prints I had left over from various projects, is finally assembled and ready for binding.  I'm still madly in love with that flannel print on the back.  Since this quilt is just intended for me to snuggle with on chilly evenings, I tied it rather than struggling to quilt on my small machine.  

One project did make it from start to finish in only two days.  My niece, Kristi, requested a table runner to match the kitchen in her first home.  I've made several of these before and they go together quickly. 

1.  Assemble the squares in strips:

2.  Sew strips together through batting and backing - creating a "quilt-as-you-go" panel.
3.  Trim edges.
4.  Add binding and you have a quilted, reversible table runner.  

Now that it's finished, I'm wishing I had swapped the fabrics in the two center rows to show less purple and more of the pretty paisley print she chose.  But too late now. :)

As happens so often, I have made several of these for gifts, but never one for myself, so I decided to rectify that.  Mine is still in the "strips" stage while I debate swapping the dark brown and tan rows.  Opinions?
Come back next Tuesday - or whatever day of the week I get around to posting Needlework Tuesday - and see if any or all of these projects are finished.

What projects are you working on?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where in the World . . .

Where in the World Are You Reading? is a monthly themed meme co-hosted by Trish, Kelly and Lisa.  The theme for January is "unusual reading places", in which participants share the out-of-the-ordinary places where they read.  So far, readers have confessed that they read in their cars, at the dog park, on the treadmill, in the laundry room, and in the office, among other quirky spots. 

I had two reading spots this month that were w-a-y outside my norm.
I read on an airplane - actually, four airplanes.  I'm not exactly a frequent flyer so, while I have read on an airplane before, it is certainly outside my "norm".
I read on the beach - a little bit.  I got a lot more read on the plane because, traveling on overcast days, the view wasn't nearly this distracting.  This is definitely a new favorite reading spot that will be repeated as frequently as possible.

Where in the world are YOU reading?

Monday, January 28, 2013

She Said "Yes"!

Our son, Mitch, got down on one knee to ask his love, Mackenzie, to be his wife.  We are so excited that she said "yes".  Although we've suspected this would happen at some point, and never really doubted her answer, we were so excited to get the text while we were in Florida.   Probably more excited than the total strangers I forced to look at the picture and listen to me babble on.

As soon as wedding plans began flying (date is set for August 2014, but nothing wrong with some advance prep), I browsed through Mackenzie's Pinterest wedding board and came across a pin about the perfect proposal.  It required these six items: 
1) Ask for my parents blessing. 
2) Make it a complete surprise. 
3) Use my full name
4) Get down on one knee.
5) Have somebody catch it on camera.
6) Make sure my nails are done!
Although he denies ever seeing this pin, Mitch got all six correct.  (Pretty sure he lucked out on #6.  I'm sure he never considered her nails, but in the close-up shot of the ring, they are beautifully painted.)  It's possible that his formal proposal had something to do with how many times he's heard me tease his father about his "non-proposal" thirty-one years ago.  Whatever the reason, I'm so proud!

We were amazed that our introverted, non-public-speaking son chose to pop the question in front of a crowd.  As a high school project, Mackenzie, founded Heartland Heroes.  This is an awsome organization that is, naturally, very dear to her heart - so totally appropriate that the sponsors and volunteers of that group got to witness her surprise at their annual banquet.  

Congratulations Mitch and Mackenzie!  We love you!
You can find out more about Heartland Heroes on their website - but here's the basics:
The first Heartland Heroes hunt was created by Mackenzie Nix as her senior “Buff” project at Garden City High School.  She was inspired by her step-father, Tim Telinde’s desire to find a way to bring combat veterans to Western Kansas for a weekend of pheasant hunting. Through their combined efforts and the support of their community, they made the project a reality.  In December 2008, 22 soldiers and their families from Fort Riley Kansas took part in the inaugural Heartland Heroes Hunt. They were able to take wounded soldiers pheasant hunting for two days, and give their families fun and relaxing activities.
Participant’s lodging and meals were donated. Funds were donated to give each soldier numerous gifts as a token of appreciation. The families were also treated to a craft workshop by Home Depot, cookie decorating by the American Legion, and spouses were treated to free massages, manicures and shopping with donated gift cards. 
As the event grew in size and support, it became evident that an organization needed to be formalized to coordinate and expand.  Heartland Heroes, Inc. was formed in 2010 and is committed to continuing Mackenzie's vision. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Picture Show . . .

You may find this hard to believe, but I have actually had some requests to see more of our vacation pictures.   I know!  Go figure.  The problem is that I was so overwhelmed by the ocean, that it's pretty much all I took pictures of.  So after minutes of trying to come up with some clever way to work 175 pictures of water into a clever post, I gave up.  Here's some pictures from Florida:

Did you notice the rainbow in that last shot?

It's difficult to read with this view distracting you.
And just to prove that I actually saw something other than the ocean,
here's us - surrounded by the beautiful flora of Florida.
                                    And these are dolphin fingers.  Yes, folks - we ate Flipper!

*Don't panic - I'm assuming the "Dolfin Fingers" were actually Dolfin Fish - also known as Mahi Mahi.   Delish!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's On . . .

. . . the big game, that is.  If your team, like our Broncos*, didn't make it to the Super Bowl, there's another reason to celebrate - The Big Game's On Read-a-thon!

Sponsored by Jenn @Jenn's Bookshelves, this is a laid-back, do-your-own-thing kind of readathon.  

  • No rules, no guidelines, just read
  • No start/end times, just read at your leisure.
  • Mini-challenges will be created to break up your reading time. Participating in these challenges is not mandatory, but you will be eligible for a number of great prizes!
Go here to sign up and be ready to kick off Superbowl Sunday with some super reads.

* We still love you, Payton!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Tickets to Paradise . . .

I never thought I would be one of those "snow birds" that headed south for the winter.  I have always loved winter, snow, soft sweaters and cozy nights in.  But the past few years I haven't handled the cold as well.  Maybe my circulation isn't what it was 30 years ago.  Enter the "Bucket List".  Several items on my list involved getting to a coast - a northern coast.  As a life-long mid-westerner, I had never seen an ocean, and I definitely wanted to rectify that, but I wanted to go to Maine, or Cape Hatteras - - no tropical beaches for me!

Ummm..... Can I revise that list?  We got the opportunity to go to Florida last week.  Dave had training for work so I tagged along - and neither of us wanted to come back.  Not that Hutchinson Island, Florida is "tropical" in January - but sitting on the beach with a book when it's 75 degrees is close enough to paradise for me.

I was hooked from the first glimpse:
We walked down this path and the ocean spread before us - the most amazing shade of turquoise - and I was awe-struck!  I've seen God's creation displayed in may ways, but this was . . . was . . . beyond words!  If you could wake up to that view and fall asleep to the sound of the lapping waves, life would be good.  So a plan to retire to the beach is my new obsession - not to mention visiting as frequently as possible between now and then.  It only makes sense that we should visit a variety of beaches before making our retirement decision, right?

I took hundreds - seriously, hundreds - of pictures of the ocean.  I culled them down to the top 175, but that's still a bit much to post, so here are a few of my favorite memories of our FIRST trip to the beach. 

And the funniest moment:

The thing that makes this so funny - other than watching Dave get soaked - was that he knew the water as going to shoot up there (although he may not have expected quite as MUCH water as he got) and when I missed the shot, he stood there and got sprayed again to give me a second chance. What a guy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We Shall Return . . .

We interrupt this gloomy, wet, cold month in Nebraska to bring you this...
We will return next week with tons of pictures, awesome memories and a fresh attitude.  If you're near West Palm Beach, FL, look us up.  Otherwise, bundle up, hunker down and imagine yourself joining me here - sarong, sandles, fruity drink with umbrella and a book.

Monday, January 14, 2013

You Say You Want an Evolution . . .

We are sisters — a sisterhood of farmgirls.  We’re country, we’re city, and every texture and stripe in between. It’s not at all about where we live, but how we live.* 
I recently subscribed to Mary Jane's Farm magazine, and through the magazine, discovered the Farmgirl Sisterhood.  
Farmgirls are multi-talented, resourceful, creative, strong, down-to-earth, and generous by nature. We enjoy creating things, whether it is in the kitchen, our studios, or the wood shop. We may not live in the country, but friendship, fun, community, and creativity bloom wherever we happen to be “planted.” In other words, farmgirls can do anything they set their minds to, sorta’ like the Little Red Hen in the famous children’s story. We enjoy the fun of getting together to create, to help others in our communities, or to share ideas. We believe in the power of the Farmgirl Sisterhood to change the world for the better!*
Along with the friendships and sharing, sisterhood members can earn merit badges.  Mary Janes says "Think Girl Scouts for grown-ups".  The badges cover a wide variety of talents and subjects - sewing, crafting, conservation, gardening, geneology . . .  The group embodies the "new focus" I keep talking about on here but haven't been able to put into words. 

2012 was my Revolution Year.  Revolution:  a sudden, complete or marked change in something.  After a year of focusing on changing my diet and exercise routine, I'm ready to move on.  But, the world is getting too fast, too complex, and to negative for me, so 2013 will be my Evolution Year.  Evolution: a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development.  I want to focus on simplicity, kindness, and creativity - the foundations of the Farmgirl Sisterhood.  I want those characteristics to become evident in my life and on my blog.  Hang around for 2013 and watch the Evolution - or join me.  Members or not - welcome, sisters!


Farmgirls are encouraged to display their earned badges on a jacket or bag.  I purchased a tote-bag through the Farmgirl store and - after a few customizations - here's the finished product.  The hexagon shown is the membership badge.  Future badges will be sewn on the reverse side.


Friday, January 11, 2013

The Best Laid Plans . . .

OK - so I had this big post planned, with a theme for the new year, and a lot of deep thoughts about my plans and hopes and goals.  I was sure you would be fascinated by my incredible wisdom; that you would want your life to be organized and focused and awesome, like mine.  This plan had everything - cute puns and classic television references and matching graphics.  But then I got the flu - and for a week my head was full of green mucus, which left little room for brilliance.  Now that my head has cleared enough to allow rational thought, I find that what I took for genius was, in fact, the ramblings of a high fever.  So in place of my grand thesis on the coming year, I return this blog to it's usual drivel and leave you with the immortal words of Gilda Radner as Miss Emily Litella:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Farm Girl Lessons . . .

I promised a post this week explaining the new blog design, the 1961 New Year's greeting, and the comments about a shift in focus.  Unfortunately, I've had the flu since New Year's Day and I have been unable to focus on much of anything except Alka-Seltzer Plus, blankets and bad day-time tv.  However, I'm the road to recovery so that post will be up soon(ish).  In the mean time, I did have a short story I wanted to share.

I recently joined Mary Jane's Farm Girl Sisterhood.  I discovered Mary Janes Farm Magazine through Grit Magazine which I found through a friend of a friend of a friend on Twitter . . .  Whatever the path, I subscribed to the magazine and discovered the sisterhood - which is part of the upcoming post - but today I may have failed the first rite of initiation.

An old pickup is a staple at some point in most farm girls' lives (even if it's just for towing the boat, like ours.)  I rarely drive it except when the roads are impassable without 4-wheel-drive or I need to dispose of a dead coyote (have I shared that story?)  But, today Dave went out of town for a funeral and I stayed behind to starve my cold and feed my fever . . . or vice versa . . . and after four days in the house, I needed to get outside.  So I decided to make a quick run to town for a few groceries.  At this point, three things conspired against me: 1) The weather - melting snow has left our gravel roads messy so Dave's been driving the old pickup which means that  2) rather than being parked out by the shed as usual, it was parked in the driveway behind my car so that Dave could get his car out when he left. And 3) the dog!  I felt bad that I hadn't been able to take her on a walk recently and Dave hadn't been home to play with her, so I decided to let her ride along for at least some mental stimulation, if not physical.  So I drove the pick-up to town.

The pick-up no longer has a functioning gas gauge, which isn't a big deal - certainly not worth the money it would cost to replace.  We simply fill the tank, reset the trip odometer and monitor how many miles we've driven.  Piece of cake!  So, somewhere between the driveway and the grocery store, I dutifully glanced at the odometer and saw 265 miles.  "Hmmmm...." thought I, "I wonder how many miles this pickup can go on a tank."  I got an inkling when the odometer flipped to 267 and began to chug.  But I was only a mile or so from town.  Surely I could coax it into carrying me to a gas station.  

I coasted down the last hill to save fuel, rolled into town and turned down a side street - just in case I didn't make it, I wouldn't be in the middle of the highway.  That's when the odometer flipped to 268 and I knew EXACTLY how far that pickup will go on a tank of gas. Two hundred, sixty eight miles on the dot!  At that point you must coast into the handy parking lot of a Lutheran church, which just happens to be having some sort of activity on a Saturday afternoon.  Oh please, let it not be a funeral!  

Let me tell you ladies, no matter how many romance novels you read about knights in shining armor aboard faithful steeds, they can't compare to a man in a pickup with a 3-gallon gas can!  A friend answered my distress call and I was back on my way after only about 20 minutes of smiling weakly at well-dressed church-goers walking around the lady and her drooling dog, in the pickup blocking the sidewalk.

Farm girl grade card:  Self-sufficiency - F; Advance preparation - F; Problem solving - C; Friendships - A+