Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This weeks random dozen

I’m participating once again in this weeks random dozen over at

What a fun bunch of questions this week.

1. How do you feel about the marshmallow Easter Peeps?
I don’t eat them anymore since I’ve cut out a lot of sugars but used to love them. They were my favorite Easter candy and were best when they were either frozen or the package left open so they were tough.

2. Chickens are notoriously nervous creatures. When you are nervous, what is the best way to calm down?

3. People say, "April showers bring May flowers." Do you enjoy Spring rains?
As long as I don’t have to be out in it, I love a good rainy day once in a while. Note I said once in awhile not a weeks worth of them.

4. When I was randomly flipping through TV channels this week, I saw a show in which tattoo parlor employees received tattoos of a co-worker's face on their bodies. I can't imagine having a portrait of a colleague tattooed on me. But if someone forced you to receive a portrait tattoo (face only) of anyone, who would it be? Why?
If I was absolutely forced, it would have to be a picture of Jesus Christ.

5. Would you rather have a tattoo (any kind) or a nose ring?
Honestly I wouldn’t want either. I think we’re going to be a strange looking bunch in the nursing home someday with tattoos with stretch marks and wrinkles in the middle and piercing scars.

6. Do you have any special plans for Easter?
I’m helping with all of our Easter services at church. We have typically have 4 but they’ve added one for Easter. We are doing spontaneous baptisms and that’s the piece I am helping to facilitate. We did this last year as well. What an incredible moving event!

7. Cadbury Eggs or Reese Eggs?

8. What was the last thing/person you took a picture of?
My grandbabies on Sunday. Isn’t that what all grandmas are supposed to do? We have one that cooperates and one that sees me with the camera and turns away. What a stinker!

9. What book are you reading now, or what was the last one?
Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury

10. What do you think is the most difficult task when it comes to Spring cleaning?
Washing windows! Probably not the most difficult but a job I absolutely detest. No matter how hard I try there seems to always be a streak or two and by the next morning, they’re dirty again.

11. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
2 pairs and I really don’t wear them much other than to slip on quick. Unfortunately, I’m getting older and need more support than what they offer me.

12. Which color makes you happiest?
Orange! Some day I’m going to have either a vehicle or motorcycle in that great metallic burnt orange color, doggone it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday question of the day...

Wow, I just realized when I went to post this that I haven't posted anything since last week's question. 
I've had a post rolling around in my head but so far haven't been able to formulate it into words and then whether to even post it.  Life has been a series of bad news for a couple weeks now and not sure quite how much to share or to share it at all.  So I'm still thinking on that one.

On to happier thoughts and Mondays question. 

What "screams" Spring to you? 

Is it just one thing or are there many?

Is it when you see the first robin?  We had our first one in the yard on Saturday.

Is the first daffodils?  I've never had great luck in growing them so I wait until they come up here on campus to pick a bouquet with permission of the groundskeeper of course. ;)

What about that first thunderstorm of the season?  I'm not a huge fan of storms but I do like to hear that first one of the year.

I don't think I can pinpoint one thing. 

A few of my favorite signs are...
  • the first morning I can hang laundry on the clothesline when my fingers are practically froze.  Oddly enough, I love that!  I even love it better when I take it down and it smells so wonderful.
  • or that first day I can open all the windows and air winter air and germs out of the house. 
  • or when I drag the porch and deck furniture out of storage and put it in place.
  • or when the crabapple trees are blooming.
  • and last but certainly not least -- that first motorcycle ride!
 Gosh, there are so many things I enjoy about this season, it's hard to pick just one.  How about you?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday question of the day…

I’m a gadget girl. 

Phew, there, I finally said it.  (relief) 
Confession sure is good for the soul.  :)

There isn’t much I like better than finding a new, fun gadget or tool, especially for the kitchen (see yesterday’s post).  My new butter bell is the bomb!

Do you like gadgets? 

Do you have a favorite? 

Maybe a new gadget discovery?

Please share, pretty please?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The two best things since sliced bread

Who knew?   I must live in the dark ages that I never knew about these two little inventions before. 

Well, I finally crawled out from under my rock and am in heaven!  Heaven, I tell ya!

My two new favorite things…

A butter bell.  Weird concept but it works!  You take this little crock and


fill it a third of the way with cold water and fill the bell portion with butter. 

Yes, I said butter, real honest to goodness butter. I still stand behind the thought that a little bit of real butter is way better for you than the junk that most margarines are made out of of.   IMG_3335  Place the bell portion upside down into the crock and leave it sit on your counter. Don’t put it in your refrigerator.  Yup, you heard me right, no refrigeration needed.  Strange huh? 

We’ve been using it this way for two weeks now and not gotten sick yet.  I was brought up that most everything goes in the refrigerator so this is really thinking outside the box for me.

  The result – soft spreadable butter every time.  No more microwaving the butter to soften it only to have it turn to liquid and run all over.

I suspect these have been around for years.  I’ve probably just been under my rock but am loving this “new” invention now.

The second new discovery of mine which I know has been around for  a long time although I never “got it” is the 1/4” foot for a sewing machine.  Wow!  What a difference!


I’ve sewn for years but this little baby takes the headache and stress out of sewing that’s for sure, especially quilting.  On the right side of this lil ol’ sewing presser foot is a metal guide to butt your fabric up against as you sew and wallah you have a nice, even, straight 1/4” stitch! 

I’ve always went by the mark on the plate of the sewing machine and would get crooked semi-straight 1/4” seams.  Problem solved now.  I use to dread topstitching because it always looked messy.  No more with this handy, dandy gadget!

The result – beautiful 1/4” seams!

If you don’t have either one or both of these items, they are a must have for sure!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A few more vacation pictures

I’ll feel compelled to share just a few more of my favorite vacation pictures, then I’ll stop, I promise.  IMG_3121  
One of the overlooks on the Cherohala Skyway – a must drive if you’re in the area.  It’s absolutely worth every mile.

I love the town of Tellico Plains, Tennessee.  It seems so untarnished yet compared to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  I’m sure the tourism is on it’s way there eventually but for now, it’s still quaint and unspoiled. 

The Tellico Grains bakery is wonderful.  Everything is baked in a wood-fired oven.  The bread is just the right…crusty on the outside and tender on the inside.

IMG_3273  We were there mid-afternoon so there wasn’t much left.IMG_3271

This ceiling in an antique shop across from the bakery is made from old newspaper tin types.  What a fun idea! IMG_3274

Isn’t it fun to laugh with your spouse?  Total uncontrolled laughter that you can think about hours later and it still brings a smile to your face?


We were even able to find Popeye along the route in Chester, Illinois where he stands watch over the Mississippi River bridge.  He wasn’t near as much fun as I thought he’d be.  He was a little stiff and boring.  A man of no few words. :)IMG_3281

IMG_0982 and to top it all off…great friends to hang with!

Spring is near

The fields may still be brown but Spring is most definitely on it’s way to Northwest Illinois.


The signs are everywhere…

The pussywillow bush is budding

The lilies are sprouting

and the creek has thawed and is flowing wildly.

Never mind that we’re supposed to have snow again this weekend.  :(  
I am choosing to believe that the weatherman is full of crap.  Yup, that’s my belief and I’m sticking to it!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Mountainfest Quilt Show

While we were in the Smokies, we spent Wednesday morning at the Mountainfest Quilt Show in Pigeon Forge.  This was the first actual quilt & vendor show I’ve ever attended.  I lead such a sheltered life.  ;) 

Dan and Gary were such good sports to wander around a woman filled convention center all morning plus they did it with very little complaining to boot!    The best part was when we walked in the door, they gave us a plastic glove (in case we wanted to touch the quilts).  The look on Dan’s face was priceless!  He was a tad confused by it. 

However, he was enthralled with a long arm quilting machine being demonstrated, so that kept him (& I) occupied for a good part of the time.  His wheels were definitely turning so who am I to stop that motion?  He’s thinking custom quilting could be a good supplementary income when we relocate some day.  I told him to keep thinking those good thoughts!

Most of the quilts we saw were way out of my league as far as patience skill goes but were fun to gaze at just the same. 

This one was Dan’s favorite.  It was in shades of brown and cream and had 3700 pieces to it.  I can’t even imagine piecing that much together.  I have trouble finishing a quilt with 8” squares.
Love the colors on this one.  The turquoise and royal blue against the black was wonderful. IMG_3182
There were a number of what I would call “scenery” quilts.   Just look at the colors of the sky they pieced behind the branches.IMG_3183
I’m most definitely not into tigers nor would I want this on my bed but I can certainly still appreciate the skill and work it took to piece this tiger quilt.  The entire thing was made up of 1” squares and looked to be about a queen size quilt.  That’s a lot of squares! IMG_3184
This quilt won best of show.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  The oranges and purples were way more vibrant than the picture shows. IMG_3186
I liked the simplicity of this one, especially the leaf border. IMG_3187
I still really like red and black together.  Maybe it goes back to my high school days and our school colors. IMG_3189
This was my favorite.  I love the whimsy of it.  It’s just plain fun!  Notice the patchwork field behind the house and the tornado coming across it. IMG_3191
Hope you enjoyed coming along with me to the show.  :)

Waterfalls everywhere

We saw all kinds of waterfalls during our time in the mountains last week.  There were running waterfalls, frozen waterfalls and rushing creeks and rivers. 

I could have sat by any of them all day long and just gotten lost in thought.  I’m not sure if it’s the sound or sight but there is definitely something that draws me to them.

IMG_3257 IMG_0944 IMG_0956 IMG_3136 IMG_3151 IMG_3169 IMG_3204 IMG_3234  IMG_3244

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last week’s home away from home

Most of you have already guessed it but yes, we spent last week in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. 

We rented a cabin in Laurel Valley, near Townsend.


 IMG_3071 IMG_3109 IMG_3111 IMG_3112 The pictures aren’t the best or setup well.  I took most of them as an afterthought before we went to bed the first night so they didn’t have too much of that lived in look.

Tuesday morning was the only morning we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise.  The rest of our time it was overcast but thankfully not much rain.


The mountains have a beauty all their own in the winter months.  Without all the greenery, we could really see the lay of the land and appreciate all the rock formations so much more.

I’ll post a few more pictures in the next few days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Have you figured it out yet?

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve already guessed where we are but I think I’ll withhold the final answer until we get back this weekend.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the last couple of days.

IMG_3037 IMG_0917 IMG_0938IMG_1002

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Unofficial poll…

IMG_3056 Maybe this is just a flatlander thing to do but we don’t have any many tunnels in the Midwest, so as we drive through a tunnel, I always ask DH to honk the horn and if he won’t, as every good wife would, I lean over and honk it for him. 

It’s just one of those things I’ve always enjoyed.  I’m so predictable about it that he says before I even ask, as we approach one, “I am not honking the horn.”  What a killjoy! 

DH thinks it’s quite possibly one of the most redneck, hick things to do.   Our dear friends, Gary & Judy who are traveling with us, are with me on this one though and even rolled down their windows and hollered just to hear the echo.


Here’s my poll…

When you drive through a tunnel, do you honk your horn just to hear the echo?

You can tell me if it makes me a total redneck, I can take it.  After all, I is what I is!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday question of the day…

We’re off for a little R&R this week to what has come to feel like our second home.  In fact, by the time you’re reading this we should be almost to our destination.  Gotta love the publish scheduler tool! 

We’re supposed to have internet access where we’re staying.  If we do and if I get time in between all the R&R activities, I may post a bit.

Today’s question…

Do you take an annual vacation?  or weekend trips?  Is it always to the same place?  or do you prefer to just hang out at home?

Here’s a picture hint as to where we’re headed…

Smokies Vacation 2007 065

I doubt it looks quite this green yet though.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

As promised

I promised a couple of weeks ago, after our ladies small group sleepover/craft weekend, to post my completed projects in a “few” days.  “Few” is relative, right?  I finished the last of them tonight.

Shelly was our instructor for the day.  Check out her blog, she is one creative lady!

Everyone could choose between doing the projects Shelly was leading or bring something of their own.  Most of the ladies made Shelly’s projects.

The middle board is an artist canvas that we mod-podged scrapbook paper onto and then painted on whatever saying we wanted.  Some used bible verse, others favorite quotes and I chose the word “Create”.  I wanted something for the blank wall in my sewing/craft room and thought that “Create” was fitting.  Then I got the idea to cover more canvas frames with fabric and embellish them.   I think I’ll add a few more over time but this is what I have so far.


IMG_3020  I used the same trim on all of the boards to tie them together but embellished them all differently.


This one I added knitting needles and a big fabric yo-yo flower.   I haven’t knit in a while but do enjoy it occasionally.

The one below I think I’ll still add an old photograph to but for now it has old sewing machine bobbins attached.  This was my favorite fabric by far of what I used.IMG_3019 

At first I thought this board needed something else but the more I look at it, I think I’ll leave it as is.  The fabric is busy enough without adding more to look at.IMG_3021 

We also made these fun metal stamped necklaces.  Again, we could stamp whatever we wanted to on them.  The best part of these was I learned how to use DH’s drill press.  How fun is that? 


It was an incredibly fun weekend and we’ve all decided to do it again in the not so distant future.