Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Christmas!

Who ever expected two feet of snow in Virginia? With temperatures in the thirties all week and the twenties at night, this is going to be here for a while. No sign of a snow plow today.

This is the chair on my back deck. This picture was made early in the day and it has snowed many inches since then!

The birds have flocked to the feeder. I threw some seed on top of the snow so more could eat at the same time. With the squirrels napping I was able to put the suet out and the woodpeckers were grateful. Isn't this bird cute all fluffed out?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cookie Bags

My daughter asked me to make some gift bags for her cookies to her friends. Of course I said yes. These are 8 1/2 inches wide by 10 inches tall. The plastic bag full of cookies can be slipped inside and the drawstring pulled. It makes a nice presentation.

I am mailing five bags to her!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Special Tree

Isn't this tree fantastic? It is across the street from my house, near the creek. This is a good time of year to look at trees - to see their "bones" so to speak.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Relaxing Snowy Day

I did get up and go to work this morning. The rain was changing to snow and by the time I arrived in Orange, everything had turned white and the snow was really coming down. We decided there would not be enough business for me to be needed at Sherri's Shop. After a quick stop at the grocery store where the milk shelves were nearly empty, I headed home. In Virginia we always stock up on bread and milk when it snows even an inch!

At home, hubby, the cats and I settled in for a cozy day. Here is Big Guy doing his share!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back after a break.

Well, I have taken a little break from blogging. I had not intended to but I had craft projects to finish before I put away the mountain of craft supplies that I had strewn around the house. Then the house had to be cleaned and baking done. It was a wonderful holiday with three of my four children home, one with a wife of one year and one with a girlfriend.

I was saddened to learn that Cliff, the husband of Joanie, (My Blue Mountian Home) passed away.

Does anyone know what happened to Jane of The Thrifty Countryrwoman? Her blog is not online and I miss her.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fun at Home

This used to be my dining room table and will be again. I have so many projects going all at the same time that the work table in my craft room is full. Besides, it is cold down there, whereas upstairs I can cuddle up to the fire. In my defense, my craft work table is pretty full with a computer, scanner and printer. But I'm certain that I could fill any number of tables!

(My family shouldn't look at these photos! There are secrets here.) I am busy making Christmas presents and having a great time. Hubby agreed to take over the kitchen for a few days - well, actually two - but I'm hoping to stretch that by a few days. I helped him tie on his apron (he can't tie behind his back!) and he took the cookbook I created for the family last Christmas and cooked Porcupine Balls which just happen to be his favorite! Then he whipped up an apple crisp. A very successful supper. And I just kept on sewing!

You can see the makings for several projects on the table - potholders made in the string piecing method, wax for a leaf wreath (directions at Color Outside the Lines), a clay figure in the foreground, and a package of transfer paper.

Here is the close up of the potholders. Two finished and several more to go. I was lucky to have five red fabrics that went so well together. I used this to explain to hubby why I need to have such a large selection of fabric!

Isn't it nice to be surrounded by those you love on a cold November day? Hubby didn't want me to post his picture so filling in for him is "Paws."

You know how people are posting pictures of a cup of tea in a fancy cup with the fire in the background? Here is my version of that. My favorite mug with three yellow kitties like mine. Doesn't the one on the right look like "Big Guy"? See his picture in the right side bar and in the center of the mosaic below. It is the same bewildered look.

Another fun day! I think hubby is making macaroni and cheese tonight. He will need a little advice on that. What are you doing this gray November day?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mosaic Monday

This is Mosaic Monday sponsored by Little Red House. If you are new to making photo mosaics, click on the photo tutorial button and follow Mary's instructions. I warn you, there is a learning curve. I am not happy with my mosaic and one is not given the opportunity to change the arrangement of the pictures. I did learn that the first picture in the set (on Flickr) will be the center photo.

These are photos I took this fall in Virginia and Connecticut. The cat in the center is "Big Guy" who is lying at my feet as I type.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

PK's Jewelry Giveaway

PK at Room Remix is giving away a $ 75 dollar gift certificate to Stella and Dot. It is gorgeous jewelry and you will find something you love! Just follow the directions to sign up. The contest ends on Sunday. How about this lovely pearl necklace?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Black & White Photo

This is my cat named, "Big Guy." As I left to do errands I glanced back and saw him lying in the leaves. He looked so cute I snapped his picture.

Look at the black and white photos at Maya's blog, Springtree Road.

Fall Leaves Mosaic

Everyone has been posting beautiful mosaics and I have been so envious. Apparently my Photoshop Elements does not have an application for creating these. If I am wrong, and one of you knows how to create a mosaic in Elements, please let me know. After much searching, I found a free program on the internet called "Shape Collage." It was not easy to use and needs more study. If you know of an easy way to do this on a Mac, PLEASE let me know!!

These photos were all taken in my yard and two were actually snapped from my porch!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lane in the woods

This is the lane that leads to my house. Hard to tell there is a road there, isn't it? This is where I start my walks. Often a group of four deer leap across in front of me. It is a doe and her triplets, two boys and a girl.

Enjoy Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.
Check out Dipity Road. Her photos are breathtaking!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Don't be afraid! It is only my cat "Paws" who is actually soft, sweet and orange - not scary at all.

Trick or Treat!

"And ghost stories are the very best stories of all. The tale-teller speaks in a hushed voice that inspires shivers and shakes and half-frightened silences, whilst the conjured spirits lurk, listening, in the dark corners of the room. At last, the fire burns down, the cider is drunk up, and the storyteller and the audience creep off to bed, where they hurriedly say their prayers and pull the covers over their heads very fast, before the fairies or ghosts or trolls can come out of their corners and carry them off. "
From "The Tale of Applebeck Orchard" by Susan Wittig Albert

Doesn't everyone like a ghost story at Halloween, especially when it is told in the dark? There was no chance for the children to be frightened of Halloween Ghosties today because they Trick or Treated in daylight. Fifteen hundred children, plus parents, were expected on Main Street in Orange to fill their goodie bags.

Here are some of the costumed Trick or Treaters.

This pooch was dressed up but wanted to get so close to the camera that his outfit didn't show!

This squirrel needed a little help with "tail management."

And a good time was had by all!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why did the Box Turtle cross the road?

Every summer B and I stop the car and remove turtles from the road. We save about twelve a year. They move so slowly that many of them get hit. Why can't people be careful and avoid them? Usually I move the turtle off the road in the direction he/she was going. When I approach the turtle he usually pulls his head in and closes up. Not this one! He put on a burst of speed and crossed the road by himself! You can see that he is actually blurred in the picture. I was lucky to have my camera with me.

Actually I think it is a she because of the height of the shell. Boys have a high dome shaped shell.
After she moved into the woods, she closed her shell and dismissed me.

Here is some information from a web site about Box Turtles.

"Box Turtles are some of the longest lived and slowest reproducing species in the world. Although still fairly common over much of their range, their future is uncertain. Box turtles are slow growing, have few young, and have exhibited delayed sexual maturity. These qualities make them particularly susceptible to damage due to human activities.

"Box turtles may also wander out of their isolated habitats into the matrix (the land used by humans), where they are particularly susceptible to accidental death due to humans. Each year countless box turtles are hit by cars or trains when they attempt to cross roads or railroads. Others are accidentally killed by lawn mowers, tractors, and farm equipment.

"Another concern is the capture of box turtles for the pet trade. The impact of taking turtles from the wild can be devastating to local populations. Over the span of their lifetime, female turtles will lay hundreds of eggs, but only 2-3 of these offspring will survive to adulthood. These offspring will eventually replace their elderly parents, allowing the population to remain at a stable size. But, if box turtles are taken from the wild to become pets, or are killed by human activities, they are removed from the overall breeding population, the number of offspring drops, and the overall population declines.

Additionally, box turtles have a homing instinct that causes them to try to return to the place of their birth if they are moved. As a result, when box turtles that have been taken as pets are returned to the wild, they will head straight for their natal grounds. This journey causes the turtles to encounter many dangers, such as roads, predators, and humans. For these reasons, if you are looking for a pet, you should try to find a captive-bred animal or consider a different pet."

If you see a turtle in the road, please help him/her get to the other side. But if it is a huge snapping turtle, "assist" it with a long stick or shovel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rain, Sun & an Anniversary

We have had alternating rain and sun today. Everything looked so pretty with the sun on it. The wetness really brought out the color. It was warm (72) and breezy. The leaves were "raining" down. I kept thinking, "Don't fall, don't fall. I'm not ready for bare trees!"

This dogwood tree is about two feet from our dining room windows which are on the second floor on that side because of the daylight basement. So we look right out into the foliage. It is amusing to see the squirrels jump from the roof and land in the tree. They have been snacking on the nice red berries. Dining with us perhaps we can say! I leaned out from the porch and snapped this picture during our first rain of the day.

Here is a close up so you can see the water running off the roof. I was getting a little wet.

And then the sun came out! I took this picture from the other side of the porch.

Today is our 44th anniversary! It seems a long time ... and then it doesn't. It's sad that we forget so much of our lives, but I suppose our brain only has a certain amount of space. I wish I could remember every single minute. Sometimes when I look at B, I flash back and he looks, for a moment, like he did years ago. The same devil is in him and he says the most outrageous things! (No wonder my parents didn't know what to make of him.)

We've had some great times, a few sad times and lots of excitement with four children and now we've added two spouses. We remodeled many houses, drove from Maine to Georgia many times (Are we there yet? No, two more days!). Think of how many meals cooked and dishes washed. And how many "I love you's" have been said? (At least two a day by two people for 44 years! That is 64,240 I love you's! And, God willing, more to come!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Need Your Advice!

Hello Blogging Friends,

I am learning how to do this Blog as I do most things - logic and trail and error. Not having friends who blog is a disadvantage as I have no one to ask about different features. I was clicking around to learn about my "Followers" and I came into Google Friends Connect. This was all new to me and I was hesitant to sign up. I always worry about getting into something I can't get out of. So can any of you inform me about what my duties are to my "Followers?" I didn't understand the advantages of Friends Connect and why there is the option to block people.

Many people mention their Blogging Friends and they seem to be planning things together online, like links and events. Is this done through Friends Connect? I really would appreciate some guidance! Thanks in advance.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daniel Rust House, B & B

If you like old houses and "housepeeping" as another blogger termed it, then what could be better than a stay at a very old house in Coventry, Connecticut in October!? Our daughter and son-in-law gave us a gift certificate last Christmas for two nights at the Daniel Rust House. They had stayed there and were sure that B and I would enjoy it as much as they did. They were right! It was wonderful! We used to live in New England and we really miss it in the fall.

Since it snowed the day after we left, (Oct. 14) it must have looked just like this! I borrowed this photo from the official web site.

Here is the hutch in the Tavern room where breakfast is served. It was a cozy room with a fireplace and small paned windows with some original glass. When you go, ask to see the initials scratched into a bedroom window!

Breakfast, prepared by our hostesses, Germaine and Cathy, was a delight! Here you see lemon poppy seed muffins. After breakfast, Germaine gave me a tour of the house, from the basement to the second floor. While I toured, B sat in the keeping room with Sea Biscuit and Silver, the cat.

Here I am talking with Sea Biscuit, a very gentle and friendly Great Dane.

The "Anna White Room" is on the second floor. It has a fireplace and a private bath with a huge jacuzzi tub. Two more bedrooms are on this floor, each with a private bath.

Walking into the kitchen full of good smells felt very welcoming!

B and I stayed here in the Maybelle Cottage. It even had a tiny kitchen and a fireplace. We went to sleep watching the flicker of flames.
This is the long driveway that leads to a quiet lane - a nice place to walk. I loved the stone walls and the big trees.
When you turn into the driveway, this beautiful old wagon is the first thing you see. Doesn't it look lovely full of mums and pumpkins? It was pretty chilly the morning I made this picture but I knew that Germaine and Cathy would be waiting with a cup of strong coffee and a big breakfast!
Heaven! We had a wonderful trip.

I'm joining the Hooked on Houses Fall House Tour.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Laundry Miracle

My favorite snuggly jacket had a big mystery spot - right in the front! B's new jacket had grease on the arm and my ivory table cloth had numerous spots after a family birthday dinner. I didn't think anything I had in my laundry arsenal would be up to the job.

I'm not usually an impulse buyer, but at the checkout counter at A. C. Moore there was a small bottle with the label "Grandma's Secret Spot Remover." I asked the cashier what she knew about it, and while she hadn't used it, she said other people reported good results. Being a skeptic, I hesitated to spend $4.00 from my "craft money." Then I balanced $4.00 against the cost of 1. A new jacket for me 2. A new jacket for B 3. a new tablecloth.

Yes, I bought "Grandma's Secret Spot Remover!" And I'm glad I did! See my jacket? No spot! I dabbed the remover on all the spots and worked it in, waited 5-10 minutes, washed the spots by hand then put the garments in the machine. All the spots came out!

Here it is. It's only 2 ounces - but are they powerful!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Foliage in Connecticut

We hadn't returned to New England during the fall since we left Maine twenty-one years ago. So we were eager to experience a New England fall. What an experience it is! We toured the North East Corner of Connecticut. So many apple orchard/farm stands. In one mile there were three!!
This lovely tree was in a rest area off I-81 in Pennsylvania. Notice the red barn in the background. It was a cloudy, misty day.

These apples were at Rogers Orchard in Southington, CT. Their cider donuts were to die for! We had cider and donuts and took home the best apple pie I ever ate! We also bought a bag of "Honey Crisp" apples -my new favorite variety. They were crisp, juicy and sweet! What a treat with a tub of caramel dip. Yummy!

I also bought some shell beans. My neighbor in Maine used to give me shell beans from her garden.
This mill pond and buildings were part of a cluster of buildings that were full of shops. There was a mill race where the water was rushing through.
Aren't these decorative gourds - decorative? Don't you love fall in New England!

Coming soon - our stay at the Daniel Rust House, a B&B in Coventry, Connecticut!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Somerset, Virginia Views

B asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. As a surprise he took me to the Somerset Country Store and bought me a barbecue sandwich. The store sits at the intersection of routes 231 and 20 in a very scenic area a few miles away from Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison. I love barbecue - southern genes I think. We took our sandwiches and drove down the road and picnicked and enjoyed the scenery.
We parked beside a country church and enjoyed this view. There was a very friendly cat who was curious about us.

Across the street was this field of soybeans that were turning yellow. You can see the mountains in the background. It was a lovely picnic and a nice surprise!

Check out Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recycling a Pepsi Bottle

Most of us recycle. Where I live in Virginia they pick up trash but they don't pick up recyclables. So we have plastic trash cans where we keep our glass, cans and plastic until we take them to the County Center. We also recycle paper and cardboard.

I am always looking for ways to reuse things instead of recycling. This is the time of year to bring in plants that will, hopefully, thrive indoors this winter. But I don't have enough saucers or trays to put under my pots. Here is my solution for a small pot. Cut the bottom off a large soda bottle.
Here is my pot on the window sill. See the Pepsi bottom under it? This way the water will not leak onto the sill. I'm sure all of you have good ideas to share!

I believe in Recycling! Check in at the Hooked on Houses Party and see what everyone else likes!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Delightful Bedrooms

Do you save old magazines like I do? If you wait long enough to re-read them it is like having a new magazine! And they are just too full of good ideas to throw away! I used to tear out my favorite photos and put them in file folders. Now I keep the magazines intact and put sticky notes on the photos I like.
From "Country Living" March 2007, this is a lovely, bright, inviting bedroom. Notice the interesting ceiling and the column in the corner. I'm not sure that headboard is practical in a fabric, maybe leather or vinyl would be more durable. Leaning against the headboard might soil it after a time, even with a scotchguard treatment.
From "Country Living" April 2007. What a romantic room. When my daughter was young we did her bed like this. She had an old iron bed that we bought at an auction. (That bed is now in her guest room minus the net). The net similar to this we found at Pier 1. She loved it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cloud Beds

This is the Private Cloud rocking bed by Manuel Kloker. You can make it rock by dangling your foot over the side and swinging it. It is hard to imagine how this would feel. Cradles rock from side to side as do hammocks. Both people in a couple would have to love to rock. I love anything that rocks or swings so this bed intriques me! Maybe this Private Cloud Bed would be better if it had a motor to keep it rocking like the baby swings do.

If you get tired of rocking you can use the Flexible Feet that come with each bed. Another option is the nightstand which has a peg to prop the rocker on. You can set the bed at any tilt - with the head above or below level.
"This Cloud Bed is inspired by Ming Dynasty-era Chinese alcove beds, and the idea of the bed as a "room within a room." Here the form is updated, and the mobility provided by the casters lends itself to flexible, open-plan contemporary living spaces." <>