Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pine Cone Pillow +

Even though it has only been a few short days since my last post, I am feeling odd about posting as if the silence has been too long and it's all so awkward. That and I was "hyper" last time so perhaps I need to find a larger divider between topics since one thing is certain, I'll be hopping around.

Blogging twice a week means that I am combining everything I want to share in two posts instead of dividing it up and presenting topics in a daily, unified, semi-coherent package. I'll work on presentation and I hope that this will be the last discussion about being absent, at least, on my part. After all, I dispatched myself. ; }

And, before I forget it, thank you for all the supportive comments and emails about my weight-loss efforts. I know that I can do this having done it many times before. It's the keeping-it-off bit where I fail each and every time.


Another surprise in the mailbox this morning. Beautiful coasters from Suzanne (At Home With the Farmer's Wife). Don't they look like summer? I've used them already and they work great. She tells me not to use them on any priceless antiques because they are not waterproof. Good thing I don't have any such animal. Thank you, Suzanne, I love them!

Coasters


I have decided, after making my very first envelope pillow ever, that the Irish linen just isn't going to hold up for making a State Flower Quilt. As Vicki at Turkey Feathers suggested, it's too wimpy. So even though I'm working on Mountain Laurel for Connecticut, I'm going to turn it into a pillow just as I did for the Pine Cone. I am probably the last person on the planet to make a pillow in this way; in case I'm the next to the last person, I used the wonderful tutorial from Cottage Magpie *here.* For this pillow I had to stabilize the linen on another piece of fabric in order to sew the back pieces on.

Envelope Pillow


Work continues slowly and steadily on the house. We are shopping for a new kitchen window this evening. Hopefully, something like this: 


Instead of this:


Gosh I do like that apron sink, too. Guess I just can't justify the cost of it. The window, on the other hand, has been a thorn in my side since the day it went in. I'm so done with it. I want a window I can open in the rain...the one above winds out into the rain. Not so good.




Wave Petunias

Still enjoying the new fence even if I am startled sometimes to see it there. I keep expecting to see the old chippy white one.

A wonderful day to you...

Love Vee

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Candles and Cream, Et Cetera

My absence around here — hate it! Apparently, my addiction to Blogdom is every bit as bad as I suspected so being away is even tougher than I thought. I cheer myself by saying blizzard weather is coming. ☺

Have I exercised? Only if one counts partially cleaning two houses, mine and his. His is now ready for a new tenant; mine still needs a sewing room straightened and several trips to Goodwill. Today and tomorrow I'll be walking, though. Really. Would I lie? *Gwen, don't answer that. Speaking of Gwen, if you haven't seen her post about our meeting just one week ago today, *here's the link.* My suggestion is that if you have any illusions about me at all that you'll not visit.  Do.not.go. No, no, it's okay, please go and see why I need to push myself away from this computer screen and do something.

Did I start the new diet?  Yes. Monday. John, too.  We're starving. Please send M&Ms. STOP.

***

Seems as if I have unfinished business...let me check my file...oh, yes, *Becky* sent John and me two wonderful candles. Wait, I think they're just for John because the card says, "In my humble opinon John puts up with so much blog craziness that he deserves his own candles." He puts up with blog craziness? Are you kidding me? Look at'im! He loves every minute of it.


***

Aunt Ess and Uncle B were over the other day bringing along Aunt Em and her dear high school friend with whom Aunt Em had reconnected about twenty years ago way before Facebook. Pretty cool. Anyway, they came bearing gifts.
 

Two per cent milk and cream in glass bottles with a special cap there. I'm so happy. (I have a wee bit of cream in my one cup of coffee a day.) I was a little concerned about the 2% until I learned that it's only twenty extra calories a cup. (We usually use our milk allowance on yogurt.) My Aunt Ess purchases these bottles so that she never has to use plastic for lemonade or ice tea or any beverage that she stores in the fridge. I love that idea and see that nice grip on the side of the bottle? It's going to be so easy!

*** 

In other news, because I don't have enough unfinished projects going, I'm starting a new afghan. I think it'll be the Pretty Flower pattern from Free Granny Square Patterns from Tip Nut. It's pretty and  it's for beginners. I might stand a chance.

***

My Patch of Blue

 Have always meant to show you who holds the patio door. It's not the cat; it's the bear!

***


And now for the best part, and it's not the lantana: I can bring this ridiculous post to an end and skip off merrily to  read blogs. Wait, I've got to walk first, but I'll be back and I'll be visiting you!






*Gwen and I had a little discussion about poetic license. Do you use that technique? Someday, I'll explain a few times when I have.

 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding the Sea


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
~Joyce Kilmer

Right. You may remember what I really think.

After meeting with Gwen and Mike, we had errands to run in Portland at Borders and at The Christmas Tree Shop. Completing those, I asked John if he minded finding the ocean. This is not as easy as it sounds even in our corner. We knew that we could go to nearby parks, though I had already taken pictures of them many times over. Off we set.

I tell you what. There are so many trees in Maine blocking the best views. Trees. I love them. They are lovely. But they are a dime a flippin' dozen and I want to see things in addition to trees.

With many false starts and stops, we managed to find Ferry Beach. Would you believe that we had to walk through the forest to get to the beach even there? Oh my!


Over the river and through the woods and under the road we go...


until we glimpse the sea...




video

Ordinarily, I would be linking to Mary at Little Red House and participating in Mosaic Monday. Though I am linking, I am not participating as I have a new blogging policy in effect until I get myself under control. This means that I will neither be posting nor visiting in Blogdom as often as I would like. Things are a bit lot out of control with computer time and I must behave myself.

Thank you for reading. You are so appreciated. This is not goodbye. It's a one, two, skip a few, three, four skip some more...

Until next time...

Love Vee

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Salt of the Earth Folks


Friends are friends forever, if the Lord is the Lord of them
~Michael W. Smith


Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?

~ C.S. Lewis


Some weeks ago, my blogging friend Gwen of Gwendolyn's Guests contacted me saying that she and her husband would be traveling across country from Washington state to the Northeast and the Maritime Provinces. Was there any chance of a meeting? Oh boy howdy! Yes! Of course!


Mike and Gwen

So we, John and I, met Gwen and her husband Mike earlier this week, though it was plenty warm without a good fire. I first found Gwen via her sister Trish who also writes blogs and who was one of the original members of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook team.

Back then, Gwen was writing Esther's Insights, a blog based on the notes and papers she found among her mother's things after her mother died. Her mother, a pastor's wife, had had many opportunities for teaching and ministry. It's difficult to describe how I felt when I first found Esther's Insights. It was a library of amazing lessons and often stretched my thinking in new ways. Perhaps, in light of my own mother's extended illness, I was thinking about the wisdom and value of mothers. Whatever the reason, it had a strong tug on my heart.

Now Gwen has mostly moved on from Esther's Insights though it remains a wonderful resource on the WWW. She is wondering about her place in Blogdom and what she should be writing. My advice, for what it's worth, to any blogger or any writer is to write from one's own heart and interests. I do not say this flippantly or with a lack of regard for another faith or experience. For me, this is part of the Great Commission referred to sometimes as "going into every person's world." If you are interested in what you are writing, someone of like-mind will be as well. In my own experience, I have waffled back and forth between treating my blog as a journal for myself and my family and a means of reaching out to friends I haven't yet met. Sometimes, I'm every bit as confused as any gal who's ever wondered where her blog is headed so take this advice from whence it comes.

Gwen and her husband served for many years in missions and now serve in a place of leadership in missions. That's why I knew that an apron would be a perfect gift for a gal who hosts so often. Ha! The last laugh was on me. (Gwen denies this and says that an apron is just what she's needed. This is how sweet she is.)

And I received gifts as did John. Wonderful treats and treasures: candy from Washington, a book—In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham, a video, a gadget for keeping my purse off the floor when eating out, fishing flies, and the gift of genuine interest.

 Our Gifts

It was a special time chatting away. Two hours passed like nothing. Gwen and Mike are warm, kind, and open people and we felt no awkwardness at all. John describes Mike as a "genuinely nice guy." True. They are salt of the earth folks. Gosh, I wish that Washington were just around the corner...

Taking photos was an afterthought. None of us were particularly thrilled with our photos most especially me. I do believe that the Lord is giving me a word about exercise, getting off the computer, and being more involved elsewhere. So this is to say that you're going to be seeing less of me. It is time.

Have a great day! I hope that you'll visit Gwen and tell her that I sent you along. Thanks!

Love Vee

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One of These is Not Like the Other


One is fresh from the laundry, pressed, and ready to be gift-wrapped. I'm so excited! Okay, catch you later.

Have a wonderful day...

Edited to Add (8/12/11): Yes, it's the one in the center delivered yesterday to a dear blogger from the West Coast touring on the East Coast. I asked her if she liked to cook because I know that she is very involved in hospitality. Her response, "Not so much." (Would have been my answer, too.) We had a lovely visit and I have more to share. It's being Friday and a nonni day, however, I am fresh out of time. Will share tomorrow Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Love Vee

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fences and Friends


In the end, it's not about the fence after all. I had said that I couldn't have guests over because the chippy white fence was too disgraceful. So John has been building a fence and it has come out so nicely. Do you see how he made a plate rail for me? Guess that he isn't too fond of my nailing into fences or something.


So where was I? Oh, yes, it's not all about fences, the food, the clothes, the hairdo or new sandals. It's all about the friends who arrive and dine at our table. I hope that I remember this lesson for the next time.

I took no pictures of our friends while they dined and laughed and told fun stories. Sometimes a camera just gets in the way. The umbrella taking off and sailing just inches over their faces is an image in my memory alone.  = |

One cute story was about our friend's traveling with a Gospel Quartet through Nova Scotia where he and the others were served ham and potato salad every evening. The only difference was the color of the potato salad. One night it was yellow, the next blue, the next green, the next pink. Apparently, food coloring was added to the potato salads to make them look pretty. Ever heard of that?

It's raining again today. I can't allow it to slow me down, though, because we're still in busy, busy, busy mode here. Hopefully, by Saturday, I can relax.


Don't know what's causing all that steam...we'll call it mists on a rainy day.

Take care now...

Love Vee

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I've Been Getting Around

Yes, I certainly have. I know that I've been absent here...terribly busy days...but just so you'll know, I do get around. See What Matters Most, Hospitality Lane, and Creekside Cottage for proof. Each blogger has a little different take. Personally, I think Becky and Deanna are loony and Lovella's right behind. (Poor Anneliese)  = D  All good fun and the most wonderful thing of all is that Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbooks sold out at the Berean. It's a good thing and a God thing!


Love you gals! Thanks a million...


Love Vee

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Textures~Mosaic Monday

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain
beat upon your head with
silver liquid drops. Let the
rain sing you a lullaby.
~Langston Hughes



A rainy day here in my corner. I had hoped to share my new fence, but there's nothing spectacular about a new fence in the rain, though it did mean getting kissed by silver liquid. There is something interesting, if not spectacular, about textures in the rain. So I give you a simple mosaic on a simple rainy day.

Top photo: rain splatter in the ferns
Left to right: ferns (I wanted it to be a moth; It's only a bit of a brown leaf.), deck spindles, iron plant holder handle, new growth on Eastern Spruce

A cooler week, if that's what you need; a wetter week, if that's what you need; a wonderful week either way...

Love Vee
Connecting to Mary's Mosaic Monday at Little Red House. Please visit and check out whatever interests you most. You won't be disappointed!

Perfect Heart


Morning sun light of creation
Grassy fields, a velvet floor
Silver clouds a shimmering curtain
He's designed a perfect world 
I'm amazed at His talents
I stand in awe of one so great
Now my soul begins to sing out
To the source from which it came

Bless the Lord who reigns with beauty 
Bless the Lord who reigns with wisdom and with power
Bless the Lord who reigns my life with so much love
He can make *a perfect heart

~Reba Rambo

Since I can no longer embed a video, I'll just add the link *here.*

Gloria Gaither's comments at the beginning of this selection are the reason for this video's being chosen.  Lynda Randle's voice is a blessing, too. (Please forgive the mess while this post was under construction.)

A blessed Sunday and a wonderful week to you.

(for further consideration * A Perfect Heart is... by David Wilkerson)

Love Vee
Comments, as always, are closed on Sunday morning.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crisp White Sheets

Not just anyone is allowed to visit the bedroom, but for you...

A few months ago I read an article about insomnia. The author contended that something as simple as bedding and sheets could be the problem. Right then and there I decided to invest in some quality sheets, which I interpreted to be something with a higher than 400 thread count.

Big mistake. I wish the lesson hadn't been so expensive. I purchased something from ).(. P*enney's C*indy C*rawford line — awful things. Seems that those high count number sheets can be some of the most uncomfortable bedding one'll ever sleep on. It certainly has been our experience. If you're a fan of limp, overly soft sheets, the high count numbers are for you.

Then I began to hear echoes in Blogdom about crisp, white, cotton sheets available through the Vermont Country Store. Despite the fact that there's no free shipping, the sheets turned out to be about the same price as the ones I first purchased. They arrived yesterday and were washed and dryed (with a lavender sachet) and that bed was made up so fast... and easily, too. No wrestling with the fitted sheet because it was large enough to accomodate the high mattress. The packaging says it will fit a mattress up to 17 inches deep. (The C.C. fitted sheet was advertised for deep-pockets, but comes woefully short of its claim.)



The pillow cases (not part of the set) were embroidered this week. Apparently, the blog that offered the pattern has left Blogdom. Sigh. You can see the version I first saw *here* (source no longer exists) where the embroidery threads match. I chose yellow (my favorite color) and green (John's) because I have tons of embroidery floss that must be used. I refuse to buy any new colors. It's an idea that could easily be amended to your own handwriting or your own phrasing. I placed my embroidery further down the pillow so that it wouldn't be at cheek level.

***

Having just wakened from a good night's rest, I am giving these sheets an "A." I think with a few more washings they'll be an "A+." I'm off to sip my morning coffee, eat a cookie or two, and read the nice catalog the company sent me. Don't you love a good catalog? And just to be clear, Vermont Country Store has/had no clue that I was going to say all these nice things. ☺


A happy weekend to you...

Love Vee

Friday, August 5, 2011

RamSign Winner

And the winner of a beautiful baked enamel house number sign from RamSign is...

She says she likes the Lighthouse Style. Let's see what that one is...


Oh lovely!

Okay then, this gal lives on Hospitality Lane.


Congrats, Becky! Just as soon as I have your permission to forward your email addy to RamSign, it'll be a done deal.

Thanks to everyone who participated and most especially a big thank you to RamSign for the kind offer.

(It's a Nonni day so I have no idea when I'll pop up again. Have a wonderful day.)

Love Vee

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Turkey Feathers State Quilt



My goal for the Irish Linen is to create a State Flowers Quilt as seen at Vicki Haninger's blog Turkey Feathers. I've been gathering my free patterns and have done two of my own state flower. Let us not discuss what the Maine fathers were drinking thinking when they decided upon a white pine cone and tassel as the state flower. My first attempt was on muslin. I can't find it. Anywhere. So the second attempt is on a scrap of the Irish linen turning out as you see below—unironed and unwashed to remove the embroidery pencil lines. It's destined to become a pillow.


I've already whipped up a quilt on my Photoscape program alternating between my embroidery and a piece of brown transferware for contrast. I am planning to embroider two five by five panels with each of the 50 state flowers featured. I'm unsure about actual size of each panel...perhaps 8x8 inches.


This will be my evening work through autumn and winter. To see what it really should look like, visit Turkey Feathers.

Just a reminder that the Ramsign contest closes tonight at seven. The winner will be revealed tomorrow!


Love Vee
ETA: Cleaning out some email when I discovered that my mother had sent me this Jacquie Lawson card called An American Sketchbook.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Delicate Enjoyment~A Tea Party with Friends


Welcome! It is three-o'clock on a lovely summer afternoon and I'm so glad that you have joined me for our tea-party.
















Ladies, may I just say that you've never looked more lovely!

Hopefully, I've got my tea cups all in a row... You know how these short notice tea parties can be.


Please select your favorite and come sit down for a good while...


The garden is particularly delightful today. If you'd prefer sitting on a comfy quilt, you'll find several on the cool grass.




Oh, my dear, we have so many delicious things to eat and drink. (Thank you all for bringing your favorites.) We have butterhorns, summer pudding, plum platz, and *my favorite tea sandwiches* not to mention that there's champagne with strawberries being served somewhere nearby.

Now, tell me, what delicious topics shall we discuss?

Love Vee
Graphics sources include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Feathered Nest
The Graphics Fairy
Vintage Catnip
Country Living