Monday, June 27, 2011

catching up

It's been a long, long week.  One of those weeks where you can crash at 7:30 pm and sleep soundly until the alarm goes off at 6 am.  I didn't know that was possible for an established night owl like me.  Anyway, I'm hoping that this week will be a little more restful.

Aside from keeping track of two very energetic and sometimes unruly children (not an easy task!), I have been trying to keep my hands busy.  I finished my quilt.

Although it's not big enough to use as my only cover, it looks quite nice draped across the edge of the bed.  It keeps my legs warm at night. :)

Over the weekend, I was commissioned by my aunt to crochet an afghan for her couch.  The only instructions I was given was that it must be a deep red and it must be big enough to cuddle with on the couch.  This gave me an excuse to visit Hobby Lobby.  I just love those excuses!  I don't do very well crocheting without a pattern.  So, I found one that looked simple and met my aunt's specifications, bought yarn of the correct color and set to work.  Unfortunately, the pattern was more difficult that I realized.  I'm still trying to figure it out.  Once I get a substantial amount done (correctly) I'm going to post a picture.  If I can just figure it out!  I can only handle so much failure...  After several tries inside several hours, not even Mr. Sinatra can un-frustrate me.  Anyway, I think I'm getting close.


This past Saturday, my family participated in a community yard sale.  Mama and I spent several evenings cleaning out the kitchen.  I couldn't believe all of the stuff that she didn't want!  I stole some of it for my hope chest.

You can't really see everything in this picture, but let me tell you, it's a lot of stuff!  It's been sitting on my hope chest for days now waiting for me to find boxes or something to pack it all in.  I'm not even sure it's all going to fit.  I've been acquiring china and other things since my 14th birthday and my chest is already half full.


My good friend Leah let me borrow a couple of books that I have been itching to read for ages.  I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Do Hard Things.  I started the first today.  I can't wait to finish it!  I'll give a review when I'm finished with them. :)


Anyway, that's what I've been up to.  Happy Monday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

lazy days...

One of the disadvantages to the summer heat is that when you are feeling a little groggy, the heat increases the uncomfortable-ness (Yes, that is a word! I just made it up!).  At 6 am this morning I decided that I really didn't feel like lugging my sewing machine, etc. to work with me.  I had a feeling that it would probably just sit in my car anyway.  This is one of those days when I wish it were chilly and raining so that I could cuddle up on the couch with some Starbucks and chocolate and not feel guilty.  Unfortunately, the sun is shining, the humidity is fogging up the windows, and I have two energetic kids to keep an eye on.  So, I compromised.  I settled for herbal tea instead of Starbucks and cough drops instead of chocolate (Not a fair trade.)  And instead of just lounging on the couch dozing, I brought along my Thimbleberries quilt to work on WHILE I lounge on the couch.  It makes me look a little less lazy ;).

 I've been working on this quilt for about 6 years now.  My grandmother bought the kit for me.  I was really enthusiastic about it at first, but it soon became a lazy day project.  I started putting the edging on it this morning.  I'll be finished with it by this evening.  That's a great sense of accomplishment that I'm looking forward to.  Of course, I have another kit that still needs to be cut out.  I suppose I'll start that one soon.  I can't go without my lazy day project!

My helper.  I think she is under the impression that I'm making her a new bed to stretch out on...

The kids came trooped into the living room with their friends earlier and asked if they could wash my car.  Who am I to stand in the way of a request like that?  Of course, later I found out that they organized a neighborhood car wash while they were working on my car and that I now owe them $4.  We are still discussing that matter.  So while they have a water fight in the front yard waiting for unsuspecting customers, I'm cuddled on the couch with my quilt.  At least I have the cat and Errol Flynn to keep me company.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

my daddy

 I am so blessed to have such a wonderful daddy! 

This picture is about 2 years old, but it's the only one I could find with all us kids in it.
The baby is my brother's little girl, Mollie Grace.

Faith of Our Fathers

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

By Frederick W. Faber


Hope you all had a blessed Father's Day!!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

odds and ends

So here's what I've been working on in my spare time.  Isn't it adorable????  My older sister, Kim, asked me to make this for her youngest daughter.  I'm looking forward to seeing a picture of her wearing it.  It certainly fits Lexi's personality!  Total girly girl! ;)  I must admit that working with polka-dots and big bows was a lot of fun.  I don't usually work with such bold fabrics so this was a fun adventure for me.

Below is the pattern I used.  Kim actually picked it out (with Lexi's help of course!).  I haven't followed a pattern in a long time.  Over the years I've learned how to draft my own, so I had to relearn how to read manufactured instructions.  I'd forgotten how confusing they can be.  Why does everything have to be so complicated?

Here's another project.  For SONP, I realized I needed a skirt to work in that I wouldn't have to worry about getting stained or snagged.  I dug this old pair of work jeans out of my closet.  They were worn out and had holes in the legs.  I'd seen where people had turned jeans into skirts, and quite honestly, I wasn't impressed by most of them.  Occasionally, I would run across one that I liked, but I was still afraid that I would try it and not like the result.  I'm glad I changed my mind.  Not only is this skirt functional, it's extremely comfortable. 

It was suprisingly easy to make.  You simply cut the legs off at the length you want the skirt, slit the inseams, and fill in the gaps with the removed portion of the pants leg.  You can see that the back of the skirt hangs down a bit lower than the front.  This concerned me a bit at first, but when I tried it on I found that I really liked the effect.  Besides, it's just a work skirt, right?  That's also why I decided not to hem it.  That, and I'm lazy...haha!
I absolutely love it.  It's nice to go out into the garden and not worry about getting dirt all over a skirt that I really like.  It's also a great painting skirt.  I make a huge mess!


Here's some pictures I thought I'd share.  Some of these are from earlier this year.

 Mama's roses.

 Homegrown salads are the best.

 Small beginnings.

 I just had to throw this one in here.  This is Gabriel, a.k.a. "Sheriff John".  Isn't he adorable?

Chick chick!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

46 questions

I've always had this weird obsession with answering random questions.  I don't know why, but I find it very entertaining!  So, here we go - 47 random questions!  Brace yourself! ;)
1. High heels or boots?  Depends on the outfit.  I am a sucker for cute heels but the cowgirl in me loves boots!
2. What time did you get up this morning? 6:30

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4 with my friend Jen a few weeks ago.  I really enjoyed it.  The soundtrack is amazing!!!!
 4. What is your name? Amanda.  And FYI, I refuse to answer to "Mandy".

5. What is your favorite TV show? We don't really watch modern TV at our house.  Mostly, just reruns from the 50's and 60's.  That being said, I think that the Dick van Dyke Show is probably my favorite.

6. What do you usually have for breakfast? Eggs and an English muffin.  Or if I'm in a hurry I just grab some granola.

7. What is your middle name?  Faith.

8. What food do you dislike? Beets, sushi, and grilled fish are just about the only things that I absolutely refuse to eat.

9. What is your favorite CD at the moment? The Pride and Prejudice soundtrack.

10. What characteristic do you despise? Arrogance and prejudice.  And, I must admit that I despise them because I have been struggling with both my whole life.

11. Favorite clothing?  Long, fluttery skirts and colorful scarves!

12. Anywhere in the world on vacation? I would LOVE to go out west!

13. Are you an organized person? Only when I'm in the mood.
14. Where would you retire to?  I like home just fine.

15. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My 17th.  I had several friends over and we gave ourselves numerous bruises going down our homemade slip-n-slide.
16. What are you going to do when you finish this?   Probably start thinking about lunch and go pick up the kids that I nanny from day camp.

17. What is your Birthstone? Ruby.

18. Person you expect to publish this first? I have no idea...

19. When is your birthday? The middle of July.
20. Are you a morning person or a night person? It takes wild horses to drag me from my bed in the morning, if that gives you any indication...

21. What is your shoe size? Depends on the shoe.  I can be anywhere from a 6 1/2 to a 7 1/2.

22. Do you own any animals? At this point we have 3 dogs, a cat, and 12 chickens.  We used to have rabbits, several cows, and a horse.
23. Any news you'd like to share? Well, not really. It's been a pretty quiet week so far.

24. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Let's see horse trainer, famous stage actress, concert pianist, film historian, fashion designer (who lived in Paris of course!), master chef, ballerina, to go back in time and be a Vaudeville performer, and to be Prince William's girlfriend (these were the days before Ms. Middleton took over).

25. What is your favorite flower? Roses and lilies

26. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Well, the only special date that's drawing near is my 20th birthday.

27. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Oh no! Not a color question!  I love so many different colors.  Yellow, orange, brown, teal, fuchsia, lime green, pale pink, crimson...take your pick!
28. How is the weather right now? Overcast and surprisingly cool for June in Tennessee.

29. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Mama.

30. Favorite drink? Sweet tea, of course!  Second would have to be any form of coffee.
31. Favorite restaurant? Cafe Roma in downtown Cleveland.
32. Hair color? My hairstylist calls it "ashy brown with a hint of red".  And yes, it is natural.
33. What was your favorite toy as a child? My ollie baby.

34. Summer or winter? Considering that it is summer right now, I will have to say winter.

35. Chocolate or vanilla? CHOCOLATE!!!!!

36. Coffee or tea? Gimme both!

37. Wish you were still young?  Define "young". lol!

38. Do you want your friends to publish this? If they want to.
39. When was the last time you cried? Last night, actually.  I can cry at the drop of a hat for no reason which can be rather embarrassing when we have company.

40. What is under your bed? I don't have a bookshelf in my room so they get stored under the bed.

41 . What did you do last night? Cleaned the bathroom, washed dishes, laundry, worked on a dress for one of my nieces, and watched a movie with Mama and Sarah.

42. What are you afraid of? Heights.

43. Salty or sweet?  Salty.  Unless we're talking about chocolate of course!
44. Best quality you have? I'm not the best person to ask...haha!

45. How many years at your current job? Let's see...I've been a nanny for 2 weeks, a piano teacher for 4 years, a live-in maid and a "hey, you don't look busy so come here and help me with this" person at home for nearly 20 years now!  (Disclaimer: That last part is all in fun.  I really do enjoy helping my family at home!)

46. Favorite day of the week? Tuesday.  My day off!!!!
Well, there you have it folks - 46 questions.  Random questions that you probably would never have asked me, but I gave you the answers anyway! 
Anyway, I'm hoping to be able to post pictures of one of my finished projects tomorrow. The reason it has taken so long is that every time I start sewing, something comes up and I have to stop short and take care of it.  Either that, or I come home and collapse in bed before I can make it to the sewing room!  I'm hoping to put on the finishing touches this evening, so keep on the look out tomorrow!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

forgotten projects

Things have been a little crazy around here lately.  My sister has been gone to camp all week which meant more work around the house for Mama and I.  And then there was a last minute trip to Birmingham, among other things.  This morning I unashamedly indulged in one of my biggest weaknesses - sleep.   I awoke and was pleased to discover that I was slowly beginning to regain my normal level of sanity.  So, I decided to turn my attention to my neglected sewing table.  Since I have been carrying my machine, projects, and other sewing paraphernalia to and from my nanny job every day, the sewing room has turned into a scattered mess.  I had to spend most of the morning getting things back in order before I could get any work done. 

As I sifted through the piles of fabric and paper I discovered forgotten projects that were started several weeks ago and never finished.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people who has an extremely short attention span.  My mother tells me that I inherited this trait from my dad's family.  Some people call this ADD, but I prefer to call it "creativity overload".  Because of this, I have never been able to work on just one project at a time.  I hop around from one project to the next and then back again.  This means it takes twice as long for me to complete a project.  That is, if it doesn't end up in the box with all of my other unfinished projects first.

I felt a twinge of guilt as I saw all of those partially sewn projects just sitting there on the table.  So, I picked out a few of them to finish next week.  Here's a sneak peek at what I'm working on!

Intrigued?  I'll post pictures of each one as I finish them.  Until then, you'll just have to wonder!  And don't worry, I solemnly promise NOT to start another project until I finish these!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

seven weeks ago today...

After a long and scary night filled with heavy winds, strange noises, and no power, many people awoke to scenes like this:

Many people lost their homes, their possessions, and some even lost their lives.  The record breaking tornado storm that ripped through the southern states showed very little mercy to those who stood in it's path. 

The storm that passed through our area came under cover of darkness.  That made it all the more scary.  No one really knew what had happened until the morning came.  Our family was very blessed.  The tornado passed just barely a mile from us.  It passed less than a mile from my brother's house.  My dad was at work at the time, the storm broke the doors and sucked all of the ceiling tiles through the gaping holes.  They thought that the roof was going to be ripped off as well, but it managed to to hang on as the storm passed over.  Thankfully, no one there was hurt.
No one seemed to know where this tree came from.

This one made me cry...

 Governor Haslam was flown in by the National Guard.  They landed by one of the ramps off the bypass.

 He gave a press conference.  The police wouldn't let me get any closer, but I heard that he declared our county a disaster area.

    What was left of the gas station just down the road from our house.  Today it is just a slab of concrete.

 All of the refrigerators in Walmart were empty.  Most of the county was out of power for about 4 days.  Some people went about and week and a half.  My family turned it into an opportunity to learn how to cook over a turkey fryer.

Roads like this became a common sight.

      Everywhere there were trees that had been snapped in two with no signs of the top half anywhere.

These last few pictures are from just across the Tennessee/Georgia state line.

Please continue to keep the tornado victims in your prayers.  Many people in our area are still living in tents as they try to get their homes back in living condition.  With the heat and humidity being what it is at this time of year it can be dangerous to be directly exposed to it all day long. 

All of the area churches have been a huge help in getting the community back on it's feet.  Flocks of volunteers armed with chainsaws, food, and loving hearts have been reaching out to the storm victims ever since day one.  The way a community pulls together in the wake of disaster is such o wonderful thing to see.  Neighbors who never really visited one another are now working together and complete strangers become dear friends. 

Even though it has been 7 weeks since the storm, for many people, it seems like just last week.  Where there were once homes there are now bare lots swept clean.  Ditches are still littered with debris, there are still huge holes where there were once beautiful trees, and lovely woods have been replaced by ghostly looking sticks poking up towards the sky.  It will take many months to repair what was lost in the storm and longer still for the victims to forget that horrible night that claimed so many homes and lives.

Monday, June 6, 2011

SONP 2011

I've been exploring the blogging world lately.  Discovering new friends and being inspired by other people's ideas can be addicting.  I really have to limit my time otherwise I will be scrolling through blogs when I should be doing dishes or some other more productive activity. 

During one of my searches for kindred spirits on the World Wide Web, I ran across Marigold over at .   She is hosting Summer of No Pants 2011.  Summer officially starts June 21st.  In the meantime, the challenge is to create skirts and dresses to wear throughout the summer.  Since I'm coming in so late I'm not sure how much I'll get done before the 21st, but I can keep sewing up new things as summer goes on.

I already wear skirts 95% of the time anyway, but this sounds like a fun challenge to participate in.  It gives me a good excuse to add to my wardrobe and projects to fill my spare time as I work as a nanny.  I will be posting pictures as I finish each skirt (I prefer skirts to dresses). 

And so, let the count down begin!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

peaceful sabbaths

They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount of with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

~Isaiah 40:31~

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the Will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

~Romans 12:1-2~

Have a wonderful Sabbath!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

confessions of a paint brush-aholic

Never ever ever EVER go with me to an art supply store unless you are fully prepared to stay for an infinitely indefinite length of time.  If there could possibly be a heaven on earth, it comes in the form of Hobby Lobby and Joann's.  As the automatic doors slide open, you enter a new world.  A world of new possibilities, new ideas, and lots of really cool stuff.

Fabric of every color, texture, and price tag jumps out and grabs me by the eyes crying, "Look at me!!! I'm GORGEOUS!!!!  I'd make a perfect bag or I could even be used for that skirt pattern you've had stashed away for a year now.  I'd even look good just sitting on the sewing room fabric shelf waiting for you to make up your mind!"  Let me tell you, it takes a lot of willpower to resist reasoning like that.

Yarn.  I like the dull colors the best.  I have no idea why.  Typically bold colors catch my attention, but when it comes to yarn, the more drab it is the more likely I am to fall in love with it.  Big fluffy skeins also captivate me.  They call out to me to take them off the cold, hard shelves and lovingly squeeze them and rub them against my cheek.  Unfortunately, I already have baskets and drawers full of yarn of varying colors and sizes that I can't seem to find the time to sit down and put to any use.

The scrap booking paper aisle has always fascinated me.   Not that I'm a scrapbooker - I haven't the patience for it, I just love paper.  Designs, themes, textures, colors...I never get tired of looking at them.  You can mix and match, add cute stickers, stamps, etc.  Endless possibilities.

Graphite pencils, charcoal, erasers (I love erasers!), oil pastels, calligraphy pens, ink, blank painting canvases, sketch pads - I love them all.  However, all of these pale in comparison to the occupants of my very favorite aisle in every art store.  And that would be...wait for it....


Those wonderful little creations made of wood - sometimes plastic - and varying kinds of bristles.  Little skinny ones, medium sized ones, big papa bear fluffy ones that remind you of your mother's makeup brushes.  Script liners, filberts, squares, rounds, fans...I could just stand there and stare at them all day. 

There is a certain excitement about having just the right brush for the job that needs to be done.  The task is finding it.  And then you have to decide if you REALLY need the size 4 filbert or should you get the size 3 square instead since you only have enough money left for one and you need both.  You decide that in a pinch you could use either one to get the job done, but filberts are you favorite.  However, the filbert also happens to be more expensive.  Of course, you could put back one of the tubes of paint you were planning to purchase and get both brushes.  Then comes the process of deciding which color you could do without until you can scrounge up some more money.  You then try to remember which tubes you have at home and how depleted their contents are.  You draw a blank and are afraid to choose and get home only to find that you made the wrong choice.  Turning from your basket again to the lovely brushes on the shelf, you sigh and decide to get the cheaper square.  Your hand reaches out to take it, but your eyes are still on the filbert that you really want.  You put the square back and take the filbert from the shelf.  Turning it over and over in your hand you try to objectively decide which brush would work better...

You get the point...I love brushes.  If I had the money I buy one, maybe two, of each.  Filberts, I would probably buy three or four in each size.  They just have such a delightful way of pushing the thick oil paint around on a canvas.  They're so sleek and soft and pretty...okay, I'll stop now.

So there you have it.  I've made my confession.  I love my paint brushes.  I love to shop for paint brushes.  I love just standing in the store LOOKING at paint brushes.  There is only one thing that would make the whole experience even better - shopping with someone who gets just as excited over paint brushes as I do!!!!