Monday, December 29, 2014

Last Chance


There are only a few days left in 2014. It's a time for reflection and planning. How was your year? Did you get to everything you wanted to do? What's on your agenda for 2015? 
 
You still have time to fit in a few things before the end of the year. Go out and make them happen. If not, then move them over to your 2015 list or toss them altogether. 

After all, it's your list. And your life...so live it your way.


“If you have a dream, 
give it a chance to happen.” 
-Richard M. DeVos

I don't want to miss out on the chance of having a good time.” 
-Victor Webster

If you don't take the chance to live life, 
what can you say at the end of it?” 
-Naveen Andrews


Monday, December 22, 2014

No Idle Hands Here

My fingers are flying! 

I'm making a small dent into my yarn stash with several crochet projects. I finished up the cardigan/shrug, made from Bernat Violet Twilight. It will be nice to snuggle up in it this winter while I'm reading.  



The scarves are made with new yarn and bits from long ago projects. My favorite is the large stitch teal tweed cowl using Caron Simply Soft Hawaiian Sky and I Love This Yarn Arctic Ice. It took no time at all to whip up these Christmas gifts.

I heard Santa is bringing me a pair of grey jeans, so I just finished my present to myself, a grey and off-white large stitch cowl pullover vest.  This one made up quickly and Caron Simply Soft Light yarn is fabulous. 

Now I'll rest my fingers and begin Christmas baking.   







Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Stars

I've been a busy little seamstress! Here's the new snuggle quilt I made for my mama, called Christmas Stars. It looks so festive draped over her bed.  A patchwork Christmas stocking made a nice door decoration.   
 
Sewing isn't the only needlework I enjoy. My crochet hook has been flying through a couple of scarves, a vest, and now I'm working on a cardigan. I learned a couple of new stitches, too.  Did I mention there was a yarn sale last weekend?
 
 
The only problem is with all that crochet and online Christmas shopping, my right index finger is getting a workout!  I need some Aleve for the joint pain...or some spiked eggnog could do the trick. 

 
Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. ~Peg Bracken

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Season Challenge

Let's face it, December can be hectic. We're just coming off Thanksgiving, which has evolved into a pre-Christmas shopping frenzy. The pressure is on to find the perfect gift, decorate the perfect house, and be the perfect hostess.

I have an idea. Forget the nonsense and enjoy the Christmas season. 
 
What if, each day, we did something nice for someone else AND something nice for ourselves? 
 
That's right. Be generous and selfish every day. Embrace the joy with no guilt. As you buy presents, get little gift for you. Bake your own favorite dish and share it with others. Pay it forward to the next person in line as you indulge in your favorite beverage. 
 
It doesn't matter what religion you are or what you believe. Just be nice.
It's the season for giving. Treat yourself as you give to others, and see how much better you feel about the holidays.


One of the secrets to a happy life is continuous small treats. ~ Iris Murdoch




Monday, November 24, 2014

Life's Little Moments

Last Thursday I wrote down another bit of wisdom from the writers 
of The Big Bang Theory:

      “...find meaning in the little moments that make up life.”
          --Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki)

The characters were discussing a deceased colleague, who apparently didn't accomplish great things. Leonard might just have the right idea. We all can't go into space, be as smart as Einstein, cure cancer or save the planet. Life's not solely about the spectacular stuff, even though those dreams and goals are important to us.

The key to a satisfying existence may be recognizing and enjoying little moments, chance encounters, and daily activities.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my awareness of life's little moments. 

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Good Grief, It's Monday!

I'm going for another cup of coffee...
here's a collection of Monday quotes. 


Monday, Monday.  Can’t trust that day.  
~The Mamas & The Papas


Just once, I would like to wake up, turn on the news, and hear… ‘Monday has been canceled, go back to sleep.’ ~Unknown


Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. ~The Carpenters


Why is Monday so far from Friday but Friday so close to Monday? ~Unknown


Monday morning you look so fine. ~Fleetwood Mac


If each day is a gift, I would like to know where I can return Monday. ~Unknown


Just another manic Monday. ~The Bangles


Too much Monday, not ENOUGH coffee. ~Unknown






Monday, November 10, 2014

Disconnecting For Today

It's beautiful outside, so I'm disconnecting from technology for a while.  I plan to spend this gorgeous fall day in the fresh air, before winter temperatures blow in later this week. 

It's good to get away from technology every now and then. 

Recharge your brain's battery.  
Go.  Outside.  NOW.  


"I'm not LAZY.   I'm just in ENERGY SAVING mode."  --Anonymous
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Falling Leaves

November is here! I see a rake and a leaf blower in my immediate future. Nothing like rain and wind to strip the trees of their leaves. That's ok, I like being outdoors in crisp fall air. But I could just wait for another windy day to blow them on down the road. 
 
I've put away our summer clothes and pulled out fall sweaters, hoodies and boots. Hot chocolate, flavored coffees and teas are ready for sipping. Chili and homemade soup are on our menu. 
 
It's definitely fall, y'all...take time to enjoy each and every day.

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” --Shira Tamir


Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

October Color



It's been a rainy October, so take some time this week to enjoy those pretty leaves before they blow off the trees.


"Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
-- Humbert Wolfe


Monday, October 6, 2014

Sweet Dreams Chevrons

My most recent creation is a soft pink and gray quilt for a cute redheaded newborn baby girl named Ella Kate. 
 
I sewed three inch wide strips of pink prints to white and gray solids, then cut them into 5 1/2” squares. Set on point, they form a quick chevron pattern. Pink fabric with white polka dots was perfect for the back and binding, and cotton flannel made a light weight batting. Machine quilting with pink thread, a quarter inch from the seams, repeated the zig zag pattern. 
 
I washed, then fluffed the finished quilt in the dryer to give it that vintage soft crinkled look, just right for cuddling. 

 Sweet Dreams for a little sweetheart. 




 




Monday, September 29, 2014

Coffee, Anyone?

It's National Coffee Day!


Number of daily USA coffee drinkers - 100 million

54% drink coffee daily 

35% like their coffee black

Average coffee cup size 9 ounces

Average price for cup of brewed coffee $1.38

source: Statistic Brain


“Coffee first. Schemes later.”
        ― Leanna Renee Hieber, Darker Still 


“To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions.
        ― Hugh Jackman     







Monday, September 22, 2014

Believe In Magic

Magic exists, we only have to pay attention in order to experience it. We need to use all our senses to detect it. It may come as a touch, a taste, a sight, a sound, a scent, a feeling, or all of these at once. Love is magical. So is music, art, a good book, people, laughter, changing seasons, silence, joy, a cozy quilt, solitude, a kiss in the dark, and a cup of coffee. A simple meal can be as magical as a gourmet feast. 
 
There is magic in our universe. 
Look up at the evening sky full of glittering stars, watch a colorful sunrise, witness the power of a thunderstorm, wonder at the beauty and smell of flowers, hear lapping waves on the beach: nature is magical. 
 
We miss a great deal of magic because we're busy, preoccupied, or multi-tasking. Some people simply don't expect to find any.  It could be that we need to slow down, become more aware, and open the door to a magical life.


We have to believe in magic, 
because life without it is dull indeed.” – Anonymous

The world is full of magic things, 
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – W.B. Yeats


Monday, September 15, 2014

Eight Campground Observations

Spending a couple of weeks at a Tennessee campground is definitely an experience. It is mostly enjoyable, with lazy days spent taking walks, reading, grilling, and exploring the surrounding area. You can learn a lot about yourself and others by people watching.  After camping at least 10 weeks a year for the past four years, I offer the following observations:
  1. Campgrounds are really dog parks with humans along merely to serve as caretakers for the animals. This past weekend I counted more dogs than people. Hasn't anyone heard of boarding or pet sitters? I've seen one cat and one pig, but I'm expecting any time to encounter a pet monkey. 
     
  2. There are a LOT of inconsiderate people out there. They ignore rules like quiet hours and checkout times. They don't keep track of their kids. They tromp across others' campsites. They burn plastic in their campfires. Some blatantly let their dogs run loose even though they are required to be on leash at all times. 
     
  3. Fortunately there are many more fun, friendly and interesting folks. They share travel stories, tell fish tales, respect privacy, and are a genuine pleasure to be around. 
     
  4. There are three styles of campsites. The junky ones bring everything they own and scatter it all over the site like a city dump full of toys, appliances, gear, pet cages, trash, shoes, towels, seasonal decorations, extra vehicles, you name it. Minimalists bring things out as they need them, then immediately stow them away. Average sites have a rug, chairs, grill, lights, bikes, and a few bits of neatly arranged gear. 
     
  5. On a row of campsites, odds are the one right next to yours will be occupied even if the others are empty. 
     
  6. Watching kids fishing, laughing, playing, and roasting marshmallows brings a smile to nearly everyone. That being said, why bring squalling babies along on a camping trip? They don't get anything out of it, they annoy the people nearby, and it can't be much fun for mom.
     
  7. There is always at least one person with questionable attire showing some body part in a way that could potentially strike you blind (or make you wish you were). 
     
  8. It's Tennessee: the weather will change and the forecast may be inaccurate. It will probably rain at least one day.
I still love being here, though...it beats working by a long shot!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Contentment

 

con·tent·ment


 : the state of being mentally and physically satisfied with things just as they are
: peace of mind; satisfaction
: a happy or pleased feeling with one's circumstances

It is comforting to be at place in life where you know you can handle whatever comes along. You've cleared unnecessary things and exasperating people out of your path so that you can go your own way. That's contentment. 
 
Some people always strive to be somewhere else or someone else; they will never be truly content. You have to be comfortable with who you are before you can find your way to where you want to be. 
 
Happiness and satisfaction in life come from knowing you are where you belong. That doesn't mean you're stuck in one place, but that you trust yourself to go forward confidently and enjoy the journey.





When you can think of yesterday without regret 
and tomorrow without fear, 
you are near contentment.” 
– unknown


At some point you gotta let go, sit still, 
and let contentment come to you.” 
– Elizabeth Gilbert







Monday, August 25, 2014

I Don't Have To...

follow the herd.

impress people.

fix everything.

tolerate fools.

get frustrated.

feel obligated. 
 
explain myself.

listen to lies.

keep everything.

pretend to like someone.

seek approval.

always say yes.

wait for the perfect time. 
 
agree with everyone.

offer excuses.

be perfect. 
 
act my age.

    ...if I don't want to.

I'm just trying to be me. I didn't ask for anyone's opinion.


Don't put the key to your happiness 
in someone else's pocket.” - Unknown





Monday, August 11, 2014

Creative Bliss

Batik Sea Glass - queen size quilt for our bedroom

Gorgeous new batik fabric. 
 
Remnants from extensive stash. 
 
Ideas flashing through head.

Many creative hours in sewing room over the past three weeks.




 


Rolled Roses - makeup organizer
 
Framed - lap quilt from scrap strips
 
Deco Style - remnant strip tote bag
 
^^^^^


“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.” 
- Cecil B. DeMille

“Bliss and pure joy are often found 
in the simplest of everyday things.” 
– Unknown


Monday, August 4, 2014

Perception

per·cep·tion

: immediate or intuitive recognition; 
 
: the state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses;

: understanding; comprehension.

How we see and what we feel about the world around us is not always black and white. It can be colored by our personal experiences, by what others want us to feel, or by how something is presented to us. 
 
It's up to us to become aware, to look deeper, and to use our senses in a way that helps us experience life.


The world is full of magic things, 
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 
– W.B. Yeats

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” 
– John Lubbock

One person's craziness is another person's reality.”  
― Tim Burton

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Clean Slate

It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! I've been meaning to paint our living area and my little office (Earnhardt shrine) for a while now. I kept putting it off because I didn't want to deal with moving furniture and taking everything off the walls. Well, I finally got around to it last week. The soft grey is a perfect neutral background. I love the results, all clean and fresh and neat. Baseboards, floors, and shelves are shining. 
 
The best part is that I edited what went back into each space. Fewer knick-knacks and pictures give both rooms a peaceful feeling. No clutter. Believe it or not, I didn't rearrange the furniture, at least not until I get a new rug. I have a few boxes of Dale 3 collectibles stashed in the closet, and a load of other stuff headed for donation. 
 
It's energizing, creative, and satisfying to freshen up our home. A little paint doesn't cost much, but it does make a huge difference in appearance, attitude, and outlook.

Useful Notion: Fresh paint is like a brand new notebook, an empty shelf, or a new day. You get a new perspective and a choice of what you want to change. 


"You have a clean slate every day you wake up.  You have a chance every single morning to make that change and be the person you want to be.  You just have to decide to do it.  Decide today's the day.  Say it: This is going to be my day." --Brendan Burchard


Monday, July 14, 2014

Potential

po·ten·tial

: capable of becoming real 
 
: a chance or possibility that something will happen or exist in the future

: a quality that something has that can be developed to make it better

: an ability that someone has that can be developed to help that person become successful



Everyone has potential for something: Achievements, personal satisfaction, talent, success. Have you looked for yours? 
 
Clues are all around you. Discover what you do best by seeing what comes naturally. Look within to find who you want to be. Develop your talents and achieve your potential.



Useful Notion: You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.


Potential is a priceless treasure, like gold. We all have gold hidden within, but we have to dig to get it out.” Joyce Meyer






Monday, July 7, 2014

Outdoor Living, Porch Style

Just in time for July, I finished sewing spiffy new covers for all the cushions and pillows on our screened porch. My yard sale rocking chair got an upgrade to match. I love that they can be easily removed for cleaning.  I added new rugs to complete the look. 
 
Spending hours on the porch reading, talking, and grilling was a wonderful way to enjoy a summer week in our fresh new space. The weather fully cooperated, with low humidity and temperatures ranging from 60's in the morning to only low 80's in the afternoons. Not all down time for us, since we caught up on some yard work as well.

Can you believe we even opened windows to bring that cool air into the house – in July? AMAZING! 

My mama joined us on the 4th for grilled burgers, chocolate pie and family time. What a pleasant, quiet holiday for the three of us, relaxing on our porch.


Useful Notion: Sometime you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are, and who you want to be. 

 



Monday, June 30, 2014

Halfway Point

Butterfly plants--especially pretty this year
Half the year is gone already! That got me to thinking. I've accomplished quite a lot so far. Tried new things, enjoyed being with old friends, and relished spending time with my mama. Took care of lots of paperwork and cut through some red tape. Relaxed with and worked alongside my sweet husband. Spruced up our home, put things in order, and tossed clutter. Pushed negative thoughts and unnecessary crazy people out of my life. Carved out time for myself in the sewing room, read dozens of books, and got a sassy new haircut. The first six months of 2014 have been satisfying and happy.

Looking ahead, I have plenty of goals and ideas for the second half of this year. I'll continue my quest to simplify life and to focus on what's important. There's more home improvement on tap, and certainly a few adventures along the way. I've got people to see, places to go, and things to do. With days inbetween to reflect, dream, relax, create, and enjoy living. Who could ask for more?

Useful Notion: Whether you dive right in to your day or dip in one toe at a time, be sure to savor every little experience.


"I don't have everything, but I love everything I have!" ~Anonymous


Monday, June 23, 2014

Stuck In A Rut?

Then make a few changes to break out! Overthinking can complicate matters, so use these simple statements for a quick kick-start.  

If you're too busy, let something go.
When you're bored, try something new.
If you're stuck, take a detour.
When you're tired, take a nap.
If you need a change, make it today.
When you're confused, stop and refocus.
If you're upset, feel it, then move on.
When you're just coasting, shift gears.
If you're bogged down, lighten your load. 

Get off the hamster wheel and follow your own path. Remember, it's your life!

If you do what you've always done,
you'll get what you've always gotten. ~ Tony Robbins

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summertime...

and the livin' is easy. 

Quiet mornings sipping coffee on the porch.

Lazy days to reflect, renew, relax.  

The scent of freshly mowed grass.

Long walks, yard sales, road trips.
 
Steak grilled to perfection with roasted potatoes and onions.

Hummingbirds and butterflies flitting around bright blooms.

Tall frosty glasses of lemonade, sweet tea, and cold beer.

Afternoons in a cool spot reading an interesting book.

Comfy, light and casual clothing.

Ice cream, watermelon, juicy red tomatoes.

Magical nights filled with starry skies and warm breezes.

Happily enjoying every moment.


it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime!” --Kenny Chesney


Monday, June 9, 2014

Odds, Ends, and Junior

First and foremost, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won yesterday at Pocono! Although I'm not as wildly passionate about him as I was his Dad, he is my favorite active NASCAR driver. Second win of the year gives him a shot at the championship in this new format. Go Junior!

88 - 88 - 88

While we were camping last week, the deer apparently knew we weren't home and planned a raid on the smorgasbord of flowers in our yard. Massive hosta are reduced to stalks; my favorite roses were nibbled down to nubs. Of course they didn't bother the wild ginger or poison ivy. They have the whole woods, why do they need to graze up next to our house? 

Wittle do dey know dat I have my Elmer Fudd hunting hat and shotgun all weddy to twack dem wascally critters down...Wevenge will be mine!

** - ** - **

You never know what you'll see at the campground. People watching is one of our favorite activities. Some sights and sounds are indescribable and cannot be revealed. This trip included rednecks, unruly dogs, and questionable wardrobe choices. I'll leave you with this one. Picture a medium height, slightly chunky man with a beer belly, sporting a straw cowboy hat, wearing a form fitting green tee shirt with bright blue and white Hawaiian print knee length swim trunks, clomping down the path in a pair of cowboy boots, guzzling a beverage from a pink can coozie.  

No, he wasn't my guy, and yes, I was afraid to snap a photo.  



Monday, June 2, 2014

FOCUS

:a point of convergence 
 
:a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding 
 
:a center of activity, attraction, or attention

Occasionally it's hard to focus.  Distractions keep you from the things you want in life. Stress, confusion, and negative people make you lose concentration and momentum.

Staying focused on where you want to go helps you stay on track. Take a moment every now and then to reflect on what's important and where you want to focus your attention. You'll gain perspective, peace, and energy to move forward.


Focus on the things you can change and let go of the things you can't. 
 
When life gets blurry, adjust your focus.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Stars

My Memorial Day quilt is a patriotic table topper that could also be used as a wall hanging. Designed in Electric Quilt 7, it features eight inch Road to Oklahoma blocks arranged in four by four rows. These red, cream and blue stars and stripes fabrics have been in my stash for a while, just waiting for the right project.

Enjoy Memorial Day...I'll be in the sewing room cutting up fabric and stitching it back together.  

Memorial Stars - KatieScarlett Designs

And please don't forget what today is really all about: 

Memorial Day is an occasion for remembering those who died while serving their country in the United States armed forces. It’s not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, an annual holiday in November that honors everyone who served in the U.S. military.  Memorial Day was first observed in 1868, when it was called Decoration Day, a day set aside to honor the 600,000 U.S. citizens who died in the Civil War. 



We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.  ~Francis A. Walker