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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Treasures On Thursday - Drew and Josh

What more precious treasures can you have than grandchildren. They are the delight of my life. We celebrated the birthday of Drew and Josh on Saturday. I really can't believe they are four!! Very cliche, but it does seem like only yesterday that they were born!

We started right in with the presents. They had been waiting and waiting for present time to come!!
Both boys are really in to trains!! They love anything and everything to do with trains. So, it was natural that they want a Thomas The Tank Engine cake. I thought the cake, made from cupcakes, was really cute.

Blowing out the candles! The last candle was very stubborn!

Josh loves anything sweet so he dived right into his cupcake!

But, Drew doesn't like sweets. So this birthday "cupcake" was pudding, chocolate pudding.

Then came play time.  A new Thomas train set was the big hit!!

Randy built Aaron a track on the table to run his train! I think he likes to play by himself instead of with the very active boys!

Jake on the other hand would rather play checkers with Aunt Aimee!
What a great day!! What fun!!
What a treasured memory!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trip To The Zoo

I'm late posting about the wonderful weekend we had. All four grandsons were here, with their Mommy's of course, and we just had the best time! We decided to take the kids to the zoo. We woke up on Friday morning and the temp. was only in the 40's!! We decided to go anyway and almost froze the first hour or so, then it did  begin to warm up!

You'll never know how hard it is to get a shot of wiggly, giggly little boys. There's always someone who doesn't want his picture taken.  You finally get them all to sit down, and no one wants to look at the camera, except Landon. He was listening when we were yelling to look at the camera! So this is what you get. A great shot of boys have a great time!!

(L to R)  Josh, Landon (Aaron's cousin), Jake holding Aaron, and Drew

We decided to visit the new Penguin exhibit first before it became too crowded.  Right before the exhibit there is a painted scene for a photo op. I can't tell you how long we tried to get this shot. Every time one head would be in place...another would be gone! But, we finally made it! All three looking through the holes, just not at the camera!

It was much easier to get Aaron's picture.

Jake was our official wagon puller. I think everyone took a turn riding in the wagon.

Aaron liked feeding the fish the best!

Drew like the train the best!

I think Jake really liked pulling everyone in the wagon the best. But, the flamingos were fascinating to watch as they stood so still on one leg.

Josh liked the snakes, lizards and frogs the best, but it was too dark and crowded in that building to take a picture of him. So, since he also really liked the carousel, I took his picture there! He's patiently waiting for the ride to start.
The  best part of my day, other than being with my family, was riding on the carousel.  The carousel we rode on was the Arkansas Carousel, a one-of-a-kind Over-the-Jumps antique carousel. It is the only fully operational carousel of its kind in the world.

The Over-the-Jumps Carousel was constructed as a traveling carousel during the heyday of carousels in the U.S. (1887-1935). It first appeared in Arkansas at the 1924 Arkansas State Fair. It is the last known “over-the-jumps” carousel known to exist, one of only four built in the world. The undulating track moves up and down with the horses attached to the track. Standard carousels feature horses attached to poles that move up and down to create motion. I remember riding on this carousel when I was young. It was exciting to be able to ride it again.

This is the end of the day!  We're watching the monkeys play and looking very worn out. All except Josh and Drew, they were still going strong. And, they're not choking each other, they are laughing!!
Such a good day! Such great times together!
Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you about the great times we had the next day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Treasures On Thursday - recycling the worn

I'm going to continue the quilting theme for today's treasure. Even old quilts that are worn and frayed with big holes in them can be salvaged for something beautiful. You may remember the story of my Christmas ornament made out of a scrap of Nannie's quilt that was horribly worn. (If you want to see it, click on the green words words above.)   I'll retell it because I have another wonderful treasure made from the same quilt. When my Grandfather was moving from his home to be near my aunt and uncle, he began to go through his "stuff" and clean it out. He ran across a really old dilapidated quilt that Nannie, my grandmother, had made and used and used. It was literally falling apart. He was going to throw it away, but I just couldn't let him. I told him I wanted the quilt, after all it was Nannie's handwork. He refused, saying he didn't want to give me something that was raggedy. Back and forth we went, please, no, please, no. Then I asked him if he would give it to me if I made something out of the good parts of the quilt. He agreed to that and that's what I did I made Christmas mittens for myself, my Mom, and my children. And then I made this bear. Her name is Tennie. Tennie was my grandmother's middle name. When I showed the finished bear to Papaw, I could tell that he was pleased that I'd created something pretty out of something he was just going to throw away.
I used the light solid blue that was the sashing and border on the quilt for the paw pads. The buttons that I used to join the arms and legs are also some of my grandmothers.

You'll notice in the photo below that I had to use some frayed areas to get all the pieces cut out.
Another project I did from a salvaged quilt, are these two pillows. This quilt I found at a flea market. I was just drawn to it. It was truly a quilt made from scraps, any available scrap. Some of the fabrics were not pretty, probably from old work clothes. Even though the fabrics weren't all pretty, she still made a beautiful quilt with them. I brought it home and made these two pillows for what I call my "nostalgia" room. It's my spare bedroom that contains so many of my treasures and looks kind of 50's.
I haven't seen any good guilts in flea markets lately. I guess they're dwindling. I wonder if any of our bedding will be treasured by generations to come! Somehow, I doubt it. We'll just wear them out and thow them away. Not handmade quilts though!! Those will always be treasures!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

National Quilt Day

Saturday was National Quilt Day. I was so busy working on my quilts that I didn't take the time to post. I pieced two small blocks for my newest $5 quilt. It's in tan, neutrals, and light browns.

And then I sewed the binding on my snowman quilt and began hand stitching the back of the binding down.

To celebrate this holiday I thought I'd share a a few quilts that are special to me. I'll start with some of the oldest. These were made by my Grandmother "Nannie."  Nannie quilted out of necessity. The quilts she made weren't hung on the wall or put on a bed just for show. They were used and used well! She used whatever fabrics she could find, scraps from sewing projects or  pieces of worn garments. Mom says she can remember Nannie picking out which sack of flour she wanted by the print on the fabric bag.

This is where I keep my Grandmother's quilts.

The one on the top is a Log Cabin. It is in really poor condition. It was definitely a quilt that was well used. Scrappy quilts are my  favorite. You can sit and study the fabrics forever. You wonder where all the fabrics came from.

Here's a couple of close ups for a good look at the fabrics.


 The next quilt is a Lone Star. This took more planing and possibly some of the fabrics had to be purchased instead of using scraps.

 The last quilt is a Maple Leaf. This is one of my favorite quilt patterns. I love the green fabric she chose for the sashing.

 I really like the fabric in the upper left corner. It's quite different and very bright.

 Love the roses on the blue on this one!
And one last quilt. When my Grandfather passed away the grand kids were able to get a few keepsakes of theirs. There were a few of Nannie's quilts and of course we all had picked out our favorite. So, to be fair, they placed them in black trash bags and we drew numbers. I drew #1 and got to first pick of the bags. This is the quilt I received. My Mom and Nannie called it Drunkard's Path, but I have seen it by other names.

I was going to post all of my quilts today, but that would have been a very long post. I chose instead to show only my Grandmother's and show some closeups of the fabrics. Maybe I'll celebrate this whole week with quilts!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We will miss you, Uncle Harry

In Memory of
Harry Lee Culps
January 13, 1927 ~ March 15, 2011
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles...
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Don't Read As Much As I Used To

I've just finished reading my last book in my fiscal year of books.
"What are you talking about??" you say. It all started  several years ago after I had two back surgeries in one year. I was pretty much bed fast for a year, therefore I read and read and read!! I read so many books that I kept a list because I kept forgetting which books I had read and would check it out of the library again. Then out of curiosity in 2005 I decided to count how many books I had read that year. I've been doing that ever since. Here's my totals. The first years are really kind of shocking!! There are only 365 days in a year you know!! I read all the time! Just know, they weren't all long books, I read a lot of Inspirational Fiction books that you could easily read in a day.
2005 - 290
2006 - 313
2007 - 247
2008 - 202
2009 - 144
2010 - 138
2011 - 44
Now you say "what happened to this year's count??" Ssh, don't tell Mr. H but it was the computer. Yep, I got my computer over a year ago and the book reading slowed way down! I can't convince Mr. H that's it's better to read on the computer than fiction books. I'm still reading, but only in a different  medium. And, instead of reading books that I promptly forgot about, I'm reading and learning so much. I visit blogs about quilting, photography, and scrap booking. I have a file on the computer of things I've read or seen that inspire me. Reading off the computer is a much better thing. Right??

If I hadn't read blogs on photography, I would never have thought to take a photo like this. Not bragging too much, but I still can't believe I took this photo!! I always just took shots straight on dead center. I look at things different now, and try different shots that I've seen by others.  I'm so excited about photography. I really didn't know I had such a passion for it until I started finding new and exciting ways to see the world through the camera lens.


If I hadn't read blogs on quilting, I don't know when I would have finished my snowman quilt. Thanks to the PhD Challenge, I'm working on it. I'm still lovin' that quilting I did yesterday!!!

If I hadn't read blogs on scrap booking, I would never have seen so many new techniques to try on my pages or gotten my Project Life album. Which I love by the way!! It's where I keep my 365 photos.

I wouldn't have Facebook where I can keep up with the everyday moments of my grandsons and close family and friends. See that third post down. You can't read it, but it's about one of my grandsons. He just wrote his name upside down and backwards. That's pretty hard, since he's only four! I love keep up with the small moments in all my grandsons lives and FB makes it easy.

And I wouldn't have started this blog to help with my journaling on my scrapbook pages. Now, I get to share a little of my life and my photography with you. I do love my little computer! It brings a big world so much closer. The groups I belong to and the blogs I followed are from all over the world! The statistics on my blog show where the visits are from.
United States 3,886
Canada 41
Russia 25
Estonia 15 - I have never heard of Estonia, it's in Northern Europe.
Slovenia 15
Brazil 14
Ukraine 13
United Kingdom 11
Poland 11
Australia 10
Now, that is hard to believe, people from all these countries have read my little blog or at least opened it and saw they didn't want to read it. Either way, that's pretty fantastic to me!!

Yes, I still read for pleasure, but not as much as I used to!!



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Longarm Quilting On My Snowman Quilt

Inside this lovely house is one of my favorite places to visit! It's my local fabric store Pinwheel Fabrics! Love to go in here. She has the most wonderful fabric, lots of notions, quilting classes and everyone there is so kind and helpful. Charlotte has a $5 quilt club that meets once a month. The pieced blocks on my red/white snowman quilt were from the club. I then hand embroidered the remaining squares. I've said all that to bring you up to the reason I'm posting about her store today. I spent several hours there quilting my snowman quilt top on her Gammill Longarm Quilting machine. This was my first time to use it and to be honest, I was a nervous wreck!! I was so afraid I couldn't do it, but the girls told me I could and I did!! It was fun! So much fun!!

 
You begin by pinning the quilt on and then rolling it up. It was fascinating how it works. The quilt top is on one roller and the backing and batting are on another. This keeps pressure on each piece and it feeds together smoothly. If you look under the quilt top you can see the rollers.


A little picture of me quilting. I used a stippling or meandering pattern. There is a template just above my hand and you follow it with a laser dot. You just guide the machine with your hand to follow the dot. This probably doesn't make sense, but I don't know how else to describe it. I was so afraid to look up that I didn't see the quilting until I was finished with the first row!!

 
I was worried about stitching over the embroidery, but it worked just fine and I like the way it looks.

My next worry was whether I would like the white thread on top of the red. I could have quilted it with another pattern and changed the thread to red, but I just wasn't ready for that my first time. And, the white thread is just fine with me.

I'm really excited about quilting it and very pleased with the way it looks. Now, all I have left is the binding and I'll be through with one of my PhD projects.
Ahhhhh!! What a relief that this is done!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CAPTURE THE SKY

I've been following Kat Sloma's photography blog called The Kat Eye View Of The World. She posts the most awesome pictures, many near her home in Italy. That is one thing I have enjoyed so much about the photo groups I participate in, I  get to see the world through their beautiful photography. I get to visit places I will never see in person.  Kat has a series that is meant to inspire us to see the world around us in a different way while using our cameras. It's called "Come Exploring With A Camera."  Her last topic is Capture The Sky. I've only recently found her blog. This is the first time I've tried some of her suggestions.

#1 - When I think of sky, I think of clouds. These trees look like they have caps of cotton.

#2 - The sun was trying to peek out from this cloud. I'm like my Dad, I like to watch the jetstreams or more correctly the contrails left by the jets. This day they were everywhere. The atmosphere must have been just right because they stayed in the air for a long time. One trail just seems to be a large ray of sunshine.

#3 - Another view, another contrail.

#4 - She suggested that adding a touch of the scenery gives depth to the sky. I've enjoyed getting a few sun flares, also.

#5 - The middle of the day with the moon still up.

#6 - This sky has a little bit of it all...beautiful clouds,
sun flare, contrail and tree branches.

#7 - Just trying a different angle with my
flowering plum tree and caught this beautiful sky.


#8 - One of our prompts on Facebook was "Fine Feathered Friends." With my camera I can't get a close-up shot of a bird. They just fly away!! I was determined to try and get a real live bird, so, when I saw a large group of blackbirds on the ground, I thought I could at least get a group of birds. But, alas, they flew away also. But, I did get a pretty sky!

#9 - Here's one I just took today. She suggested in another post to take pictures from under flowers looking up at the sky. I like the way this turned out.
I had fun trying out some of her suggestions.
Which do you like the best???