Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fishing with Grandpa

Boys, worms, and water...That spells fun any way you slice it.

Grandpa took a couple of the guys fishing yesterday at a friend's lake which is always satisfyingly stocked with lots of fish. (Please overlook the fact that my dad has on a BAMA hat. No, I'm afraid it has nothing to do with jelly. I love him anyway.)

It was a highly successful afternoon as they caught 40 fish! Apparently everyone had a great time reeling in the catch of the day.

It doesn't hurt that some sweet memories were made along the way.

Even More graffitiCHIC

Here's the latest in my graffitiCHIC obsession.

I am so excited about this monogram on our storm door. I love the clean and simple look it gives to our front entry.

By the way, the totally fantastic plant stands on either side of the door were a Mother's Day gift from my delightful son. He rescued them from the crib (Crib--formerly the corn crib, now a haven for unwanted and forgotten junk here on the farm), cleaned them up, and spray painted them black to match our shutters. What a resourceful guy!

My sister put this message, one I really need to practice, on the wall in the my laundry room. I certainly go in and out of here enough times daily to benefit from the constant reminder.

You can check out more great designs at the graffitiCHIC website. These ladies definitely have class.

Friday, May 30, 2008


It is official. Our family has lost its collective mind.

By in large, we are not animal people. I admit that I have never truly been an animal lover. I did have one dog growing up. I named him Poncho after Erik Estrada's character, Frank Poncherelli, on the TV show, CHiPs. I know, I know. I was about nine years old. Give me a break.

Poncho followed me everywhere, and I had to sneak off anytime I wanted to go somewhere without him. If he went with me to tennis lessons, he was not content to sit outside the fence beside my bike. He would dig under the fence to get inside the court with me. My instructor was a tad bit frustrated since it is rather difficult to play tennis with a dog running around the court. I remember one time I was in a store, and I turned around to find Poncho right behind me. Crazy dog, but that is loyalty for you.

We got a kitten for our daughter when I was pregnant with our second child. She named her Kitty Girl, which was actually a pretty appropriate name for our little two-year-old to contrive. Kitty Girl met an untimely end, however, and we never returned to the world of pet ownership.

For our daughter's graduation, a sweet family from church gave her a beagle puppy. We had been hearing about these beagle puppies for weeks, so it was an especially wonderful surprise. Her joy and excitement over such a special gift was easily foreseen.

The unexpected result, though, has been how the rest of the family has reacted. It took about half a day for us all to fall in love with this animal. Our younger son, who has been much less of a dog-lover than his mom, has enjoyed playing with this puppy so much!

My nephews are here for a visit, and the two older ones can't wait to play with Copper. The almost-two-year-old is a riot as he runs alternately toward and away from the puppy saying either, "Dog!" or "Go away, Dog!"

Although I promise to never buy a doggy sweater or other ridiculous pet paraphernalia, I must acknowledge that we are considering making a cape so that Copper can have a cameo as Speedy Dog in an upcoming episode of Speedy Boy.

See, I told you. Lost, completely and totally.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sew What Saturday

What a fun day we had recently as several ladies gathered in our home to piece a quilt block! Everyone brought sewing machines and squares they had previously cut. We put the blocks together step by step, and everyone went home with a finished square to serve as a pattern and as inspiration.

Our block is called Clay's Choice, named for Henry Clay, 19th-century Patriot, presidential candidate, and founder of the Whig party. It is sometimes called by other names, Clay's Star, Clay's Favorite, Henry of the West, and Harry's Star.

There are a few variations of this block like the one shown below. In this example, the accent fabric is used in the corner squares. This variation makes for an interesting effect when the squares are put together.

Ours put the accent fabric in the second block on each outside row, which gives the pinwheel pattern more dominance in the finished quilt top. Either way, it is a striking, but basic pattern.
The blocks all turned out very well and though all were made by the same pattern, each was uniquely beautiful. Hmm...there might be a sermon in there somewhere.

Thanks for coming, sweet friends! Let's do it again sometime.

Congratulations, Graduate!

In a bittersweet celebration, our oldest child, our only daughter, graduated from high school on Sunday afternoon. We gathered with family to honor our girl's accomplishments and celebrate this occasion.

The ceremony was simple, but very touching as our sons took part by providing music and opening portions. My husband shared a few words expressing our delight and our honor in participating in the eduation of our children and charging our graduate to fear God and follow Him faithfully.

A heartfelt address from the graduate brought tears to every eye, and I am sure I was not the only one picturing a small toddler who talked in a squeaky little voice seemingly yesterday.

Receiving the diploma and moving the tassel completed the deal, and it was time to eat cake! My sister and aunt helped us decorate this fabulous diploma cake. Aren't they talented?

Congratulations, M-girl! We love you so much, and we are so very proud of you! We are excited to see what God is going to do in your life.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Old Fashioned Beauty

Here's the latest sewing project. In a slight departure from The Lord of the Rings costumes, we have been working on this colonial styled dress for my daughter.

This is honestly the fullest skirt I've ever done. We gathered for days, it seemed. What a fun project, and doesn't she look pretty?

Check out Sew Crafty Friday for more inspiration.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Apples of Love

In the South, growing tomatoes is a genuine pasttime for many people. Folks swap stories about the best varieties to grow, when to plant, how to plant, manure or's an art. You hear tales about plants so tall you had to pick the tomoatoes from a ladder. (My dad actually had one this tall, honest!) People brag about their tomatoes more than their grandchildren.

One of our local banks recently held a Customer Appreciation Day, and everyone who came got a free tomato plant. My husband's 96-year-old grandfather decided we should all go and get our free plants, so we did. That's the luxury of being 96. When you tell people to do something, they do.

The bank actually gave each of us a little six-pack of tomato plants, so we came home with thirty. That's a lot of tomatoes. They are Park's Whoppers, by the way.

Late that afternoon, Granddaddy headed back up to the bank to "see what they had left." He returned shortly with 54 more plants. They were cleaning up and gave him some of their leftovers.

That would bring the grand total to 84 tomato plants.

That afternoon we dug 84 holes and planted those tomatoes with Granddaddy sitting in a lawn chair watching us and laughing the whole time. He loved every minute, and so did we.
So far, we've lost six of the plants. It's rather sad, but we feel that the remaining 78 will likely produce enough tomatoes for us and our closest friends and relatives, maybe even enough for your closest friends and relatives.

Can you say, "Salsa"?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Book Review

How to Raise an American by Mrna Blyth and Chriss Winston is one of those books that we all need to own. It's fine to check this one out of the library to enjoy, but you will really want to obtain a copy to keep.

It is packed with great information, including heart-warming stories to make all American hearts swell with pride, insightful questions to spark lively discussions at the dinner table, and fun ideas for making American holidays special.

It is a sad truth that the honor of being an American is largely lost on the younger generations of today. It is our duty as parents to pass along the information that is not being relayed by the media and popular culture. Political satire is much more acceptable than patriotism, and I do not want those attitudes to be adopted by my family.

Yes, it is true that the leaders of our country are flawed in many areas, but their failings do not negate the universal truth that living in America is a dream for much of the world. Through no merit of our own, we were simply blessed by God to be born in the good old U. S. of A., and it's about time we acknowledged it.

Blyth and Winston assert that three groups of people tend to be the most patriotic: immigrants, military families, and Americans of faith.

Immigrants to the United States are much more aware of the privilege of living in this land of freedom and opportunity. Their unique position allows them to compare America to the rest of the world and note the contrast. They are less likely to feel entitled to all of the luxuries Americans naturally enjoy and actually appreciate them. What a novel idea!

Military families know first-hand the sacrifice it takes to preserve our nation and its freedoms. My mom has often said that having an active member of the military in our family makes us more patriotic, and I fully agree. My dad and my grandfather are both veterans, and my brother-in-law is our country's finest Marine. It's not a good idea to talk trash about the military at our family gatherings.

We see what my sister does at home so that her husband can serve our country. It's not easy to bid farewell to the man she loves for a year, knowing he won't return until their child has been born. Any mom whose husband travels on business can begin to sympathize, but week-long business trips just can't compare to knowing your spouse is in a war zone day after day.

Americans of faith recognize the importance of counting their blessings. They have been taught to acknowlege the wonderful things given to them by God and to be thankful. In this mindset, we can deal with the shortcomings of the nation and its people by seeing the positives in the big picture.

Another excellent section in this book is a collection of ideas to resurrect the American spirit during our patrioitic holidays. There is great information to help you teach your children the significance of holidays like Flag Day or Armistice Day which have somehow lost their luster.
Won't it be great to have this resource to consult throughout the year? If you hurry, you can be ready for Decoration Day, coming this month!

Monday, May 5, 2008

More graffitiCHIC

Here are some great photos from my sweet sister's graffitiCHIC projects. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

She put the Love Lives Here graphic at the end of their hallway. The location is absolutely perfect as this wall is visible from the front door. Hers is in the dark brown where mine is the khaki color. Love it!

Here is the Home is where our story begins item that I just love! These double windows are in the eating area of the kitchen, the perfect spot to be reminded how special home is. Lots of time is spent in this part of the house. The dark red color is once again the perfect choice since there is a glorious red wall in the kitchen. What an accent!

Here's my favorite! Don't you love the custom monogram? This collage of favorite family photos, a watercolor painted by our dear grandmother, cross-stitch done by our beloved aunt, and a wedding invitation hangs on the wall of the master bedroom, and I think the monogram is a wonderful choice to complete this grouping of very special items.

Thanks for sharing these photos of your beautiful home, Sis! I love you!