Monday, April 14, 2014

First and Fifth

Three of our family members just participated in the BP MS150 Ride from Houston to Austin this past weekend.  Three family members participating meant the rest of us had to attend to cheer them on.  Which meant some flew in and others drove, all ate out many times and 3 hotel rooms were booked in Austin.  Six to eight adults and one 13 month old. The baby actually complained less than all of the adults.

We waited on the side of the road in LaGrange on Saturday then headed to Austin on Sunday but all of those pictures on are my cell phone....which is now lost and assumed stolen and a whole other story.  So these are from my real camera which I haven't gotten out in months.


It was the first time for Chuck and our son-in-law, Chris, to ride in the event but the fifth time for our daughter Cameron.  Last year, I spent the 2 or 3 hours of our "wait time" taking pictures of everything.  By the time Cameron crossed the finish line, my camera battery was dead.  So this year I was warned to not let that happen again.  The result is I have just a few pictures of everything else, but got Cameron coming around the corner after the Finish! 

Chuck rode the 76 miles from Houston to LaGrange the first day but decided to opt out of the second day because of his knee pain and pure exhaustion from the head winds and hills...predominately the up part of those hills.  I am extremely proud of him for those 76 miles as, I know, I couldn't even get on those skinny wheeled bikes, much less start pedaling and stay upright. 

Our son-in-law, Chris, with Liam.
  While I'm sure Liam was proud of his daddy,
 he really just wanted to hold the cell phone.

Chris and Cameron and Liam.

The blonde haired, blue eyed, bug bitten baby boy.

Aunt Catha and Uncle Kim showed up just in time to see Cameron come across the Finish Line.  They were on the other side of the barrier than us and Liam saw them first!  No need to get his eyes checked.

Chuck on the far left and the Arizonians.

The best part of the weekend was being all together...even when the moods swung up and back down...because Liam was here!  He is just the best, most flexible tag-a-long.  Everybody got in lots of holding and hugging and loving on him.  Even Craig held Liam...after he told me, "I don't hold babies.." and I said "yes, you do....NOW."

And now, just for Cameron...

Not yet...

There she is!  Her hand on the handlebar is where the letter t is in Austin.

She is second from the left...10029.

I'm getting a "yes, you are getting me on camera" smile.

There she goes...just finished her fifth MS150 Ride from Houston to Austin. 
 All for the cure.

And just a little bit of everything else...

Sunday was an overcast day with a little breeze now and then. 
 Perfect for waiting on the side lines.
And for little blonde headed boys who love to be outside.

All 3 of the riders say they're going to do it again next year. 
 I have one year to find this outfit for Chuck.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Copy Cat

Preface:  This blog is still here....just had to wipe some cobwebs off of it.  I last posted in December, before Christmas.  Then Christmas happened...
after eleven days of my kids, my grandbaby and lots and lots of eating and piles of torn gift wrapping paper later, we headed in to a new year.  We have since celebrated Cameron turning 26, Liam turning 1 and are now getting ready for 3 of our family members to ride in the MS150 this upcoming weekend.  And of course, there was that Monday through Friday stuff that flies by leaving us exhausted on Saturday and Sunday.  Life is now measured by how long until we see Liam again.  I am thankful for facetime and fb and instagram so I can keep up with my kids but I also see how much time it seems to capture...waste.  If you're here, wasting a little time, I thank you.
And today, as I sit here, still in my pajamas at 1:00 pm and almost finished with the laundry, I started cleaning out a basket full of cards...years of birthday, thank you and sympathy cards with a few scattered photos thrown in.  I decided to finally organize them...using a idea I copied from my friend Debbie, who received one as a gift. Which made me think that some of you out there might want to copy this idea. 
It's a ring of cards and photos.  (Excuse the photos to follow, I'm not even going to take the time to edit these for better quality.) Debbie's ring was a little different and was called a "blessing ring" and included a sweet card with a poem and pretty ribbon.  But the purpose is the same...a place to keep your cards, photos, notes...blessings and memories.
  I found my ring in the sewing department at Hobby Lobby and
it's original use is to put all your quilting measuring devices on it. 
But basically, you just need a ring with an opening and hanger on it.
My ring is much like a belt holder.
 Go through your cards, read each one (very important and time consuming part of this project), choose which ones just can't be parted with and hole punch a top corner.  Put through the ring and you're done.  Now mine will hang on a door knob or in my closet on a hook.  Someplace Harry can't get to it.  Debbie's hangs off the back of a chair in the sitting area of her master bedroom. 
 I enjoyed going through all the cards, rereading the sentiments
 and having a little visit (in my head) with the person who sent it.
Jordan has been so good about sending postcards this year
with pictures of her little family...this is the perfect place to keep them.
I added a little ribbon for flair and I'm done.
Copy Cat Project 1...with my own take on it. 
And now for the second thing I have copied lately....putting some flair on a store-bought, on sale, pearl snap button western shirt. 
I got the idea from a customer who came in the store....whose mom copied it from a store-bought one they had seen....selling for a lot of $$.  I've since been to the annual Roundtop Antiques Show 2014 and saw lots and lots of western shirts that had been altered but none had this hem on them...which is what I think makes it so much cuter. 
The customer's shirt was plaid with a solid turquoise pleated hem....but I already had this black shirt with a screened pattern on it...bought last year on sale and never worn (like many other hanging things in my closet.) So I headed to the quilt store (yes, their fabric choices are a thousand times better than the craft stores) and found a bright floral print for my hem.
 Basically, a 4 - 6 inch pleated hem is added to the shirt and then the pockets/or in my case the screen printed design is embellished with fabric and embroidery stitching.
I googled Embroidery Stitches for ideas...but only used the simplest ones.  And tried to make it look like a child did it.  (Did you fall for that?)
I used the bonded backing on this fabric to embellish the pocket.  (The kind you iron on and it permanently adheres to the other fabric.) Then I top stitched with embroidery thread. 
I left the hem raw/cut with pinking shears because that's part of the look...very junk gypsy, I guess.  Again, I copied how the customer's shirt was made. (The customer was kind enough to let me study hers...and study, I did.)  They had copied how the very expensive store bought one was made. With a raw hem, each time I wash it, there will be a little trimming of the threads when I press it. 
And just because we are friends, I will show you the back side.  I am straight stitch challenged. But I wanted you to see that I wrapped the ends around and stitched them down inside the shirt. I made my hem 4" in finished length and about 1 1/2 to 2 times the width around the bottom.  I made the pleated piece first, then sewed it on to the shirt.  I did this before any of the embellishment, because if I ruined the shirt....and that was always a likely possibility... I didn't want to waste the time embroidering. But it turned out fine, so then I spent the next few evenings doing a little embroidering by the light of the fire the television.  It all felt very "Little House on the Prairie." 
No, really...I thought a lot about women of earlier days who had no television to watch, no Ipad to play Solitaire on, no wine in the refrigerator....they just sat and stitched by candlelight.
And you know what I think? 
 I think they had it just as easy in some ways
 and just as hard in other ways as we do today. 
Embrace your decades here on Earth.
And because it's almost Easter and Liam is coming to town this weekend...I put a little Easter out. 

 I bought this Easter card (along with a few other holiday ones) and the wooden holder in Warrenton.
The guy who makes these said he leaves a little room on the front for a few "littles" to create a vignette.  (His words...I copied.)  The holder is just a piece of molding with a groove cut in to it to hold the card...or a plate. (Get out there and copy this!)  I love creative people. 
I found this orange painted old desk drawer at Roundtop last fall.  It's the perfect prop to lift up things to a higher level...away from Harry's reach. (I'm not kidding, Harry is 6ft tall if he's standing on his back legs!)  The books and bunny are waiting for Liam.  The teacup and saucers are all the way from England via Cameron.


My very small collection of very small Easter Bunnies.
This precious gift of life turned one in March!   It may have been the fastest year of my life.  many, Many, many nights of this last year were spent facetiming with this boy...watching him eat, watching him crawl, watching him take a bath... and I loved every second of it. 
Life is full and fast and can be very, very hard.  We can look back and see God's work in our lives.  We must stay in the present as God works through us in the present.
 If something makes you happy, copy it.
And how about a little Harry?


Monday, December 16, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas....

...emphasis on the "little."

(I played around with Sharpies and fabric)

Empty nest.  Too pooped to really decorate for Christmas like I used to.  The big, pre-lit Christmas tree of yesteryear died and got thrown out at the end of December last year.   I've got years of holiday decorations from the primitive felt ornaments to the shiny glass, the traditional red and green to the more modern purples and lime greens. Rubbermaid tubs full of 30 years of memories that send me in to a slump rather than greet me with "hello there!"  I went through the tubs and pulled a little from each one and scattered them around the house.

 I found a little lit tree at Big Lots (yes, I love that place). It's about 71/2 feet tall, including the urn that it came in.  The urn was a badly fauxed gold color so I spray painted it with a hammered black (old spray paint can found in the garage because I couldn't wait until the next day to go buy Oil Rubbed Bronze). It's not much, but it's decorated. 

A few of the little Santas made their way out of the Rubbermaid tub.
I know it's really not about the decorating.  The older I get, the more I realize that. 
I guess we decorate to really engage in the holiday.  To remind us every time we walk in a room, a store, an office that it's Christmas time. 
While what we should immediately be reminded of is that little baby who was born...
who was sent to us from God to save us.  The fulfillment of God's promise. 
I've worked in retail the last 3 Christmas' and from what I gather, most people aren't really focused on that little detail about this time of year.  Actually, that HUGE detail.  Oh, I'm not pointing fingers... I'm guilty, too,  of the list making, the gift buying, the accumulating of wrapping paper and pretty ribbon, the frenzy that comes from all of that.
But it's about that baby. 
That little baby.
I'm working on that focus myself. 
Heading in to this next week, I am grateful for another December in my life. 
And I'm grateful ...
that all of my children will be home for at least 5 days together...
I will make the most of that little bit of time together...
that I was given the gift of a grandchild this year...this little boy has stolen my heart...
that Chuck and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this little fete at all...
that it really is the little things that make us the happiest...
that God sent a savior in an unexpected way, in a little baby...
The greatest gift of all...HUGE. 
But in a little package.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Stay in the moment.  Remember the reason.
Now breathe.