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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Word for the Day - Perception

In my usual events of the day, when going to prepare dinner before my husband gets home from work, I load the dishwasher with odds and ends cleaning out the sink and wiping down counters. Then items come out to cook. It never fails that my daughter will come into the kitchen and ask, "What are you doing?" So tonight I asked her if she could see what I was doing. She replied, "Cleaning up to cook dinner?" I said, "Yes, good girl". She then told me that I did not have to talk to her like a dog.

I was taken back by this comment. I did not intend or perceive that I had done such a thing to her.

Only later at the dinner table when I told her dad what she had accused me of did she conclude that when she hears the words "good girl" that she thinks of a dog.

I told her my intentions were good and supposed to be compliment.

A teenager she is. A special lady with disabilities she is. It is hard some times to understand or communicate with her, but I am delighted to have her as my daughter.

the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.
immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition; discernment: an artist of rare perception.
the result or product of perceiving, as distinguished from the act of perceiving; percept.

Elephant in the Room

“By a sweet tongue and kindness, you can drag an elephant with a hair” Persian Proverb

“When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run” Abraham Lincoln

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.” Pablo Picasso

Ever feel like there is an elephant in the room? When tempers flare and then tension remains even though there is silence from all parties involved. Well the calming down from the holiday highs can cause this. I find my house is going through what I have just described. Could it have something to do with having almost 3 teenagers (ages 12, 14, 17)in the house?

Found it a little ironic that something on Etsy caught my attention while the "situation" was developing -- Pink Elephants.

The elephant seems to have disappeared for the moment and now I am off to repair an internet connection after a power outage overnight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


On Christmas Eve my daughter and I visited the Personal Care wing where I work and delivered some finger cakes dipped in chocolates and made some fruit punch with sherbet for their snack. There are three lady residents on the floor right now and all are in their upper 80's.

Excitement was in the air over me doing this little treat for them. The staff and I had decorated everywhere on the floor for the holidays including their dining room so everything was pleasant and spirits were up.

As we sat visiting at the dining table it was fun to ask questions and hear their history of how they ended up in the town of Fort Benton. All three had been married; two to farmers (one in cattle, one in wheat) and the other had owned a store and post office in a distant town saying, "As the kids moved in closer so did we".

One who had lost her husband last year around Christmas smiled when telling how she had traveled to Fort Benton to help a brother's wife who was having her third child to care for her small young ones years ago. She had been set up on a blind date -- and gone to the big town of Great Falls on their first date on April 1st. I loved seeing the smile on her face when telling this almost like she was that young girl again on her adventure with love.

Many thanks were given by them for this special snack. One even told me yesterday morning as I was helping her get dressed that my activity was the "best" out of everything she did for the holidays this year.

I know it isn't the big things in life that please people the most, but having shared this short time with them brings a smile to my face as well as my daughter who left saying, "They remind me of grandma. I know she is not with me anymore, but I still feel her around me."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spirits Are Merry

Well, yesterday and today have me in a very MERRY mood! Right now I am jamming away to classic Christmas tunes online and smelling some wonderful smells from the kitchen where two loaves of Eggnog Bread are cooling on the rack. (The kids have started coming around to see when the 1st loaf can be cut.)

After working three nights in a row and now having a few off, I am happy to see some white stuff on our ground. (I image the farmers in our area are very thrilled to see the moisture as well!) Happily, I can stay inside and watch the weather from my windows. A feeling of a want for some hot chocolate or hot tea right now is ensuing. (A tea pot was my request for Santa, but then I spotted something similar at Sam's Club that I especially liked for less than $20 -- Mrs. Claus purchased it and has it under the tree. Gonna be a good girl and leave it there till Christmas Eve when we open goodies.)

Happy to report that my efforts to get an Amaryllis to grow and eventually bloom are starting to perk up. I have had it a month and have moved it from one window to another to another. Finally seeing some growth.

Maybe it is the nutcracker guarding it that is causing the change?!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Patchwork Gift

I have spent this weekend putting together a patchwork throw for a lady who has been very sweet in carpooling my husband to work 72 miles a day 5 days a week since we moved to Fort Benton, MT in September.

Don't know why it takes me time to figure out what I want to do or make and then it seems like last minute.

Instead of quilting, I decided to use buttons to tack the quilt together. I like using buttons and like the end results also.

My 14 year old was in the room when I was checking to make sure I had everything finished. I told him I liked the back especially to and turned it over for him. He said it is a double sided quilt, but really it has some adorable pink raccoons (vintage fabric) with borders on the back.

My husband walked in the room when our son said, "Mom you know raccoons are not really pink." The reply my husband gave, "You know son, women like that sort of thing." Adorable -- the raccoons or what men think women really like!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Denim and Bandanas

I have to say I wanted to do something with denim for a while. I don't usually wear jeans and ended up finding some good ones for $1 at a yard sale in the summer. Then came the thought of cutting them up. Finally after many months I settled on who I was making a denim throw quilt for. (Someone in Arkansas will be getting this after the new year!!)

I played around with some ideas I found online for patterns and then asked a trusted source for advice on what she thought. Not being very impressed with the response, I decided to play around with some bandanas and denim. This is the end result.

I am pleased with the finished item, but don't know that I will be making another throw or quilt with denim for a while. I found it very time consuming.

Also, I have kept the upper portion of the jeans where the belt loops and pockets are and am playing with the idea of using them for aprons or making tote bags out of them. Guess I am in the total recycling kind of mind right now!!

More projects in the works in my future but now I must head to the kitchen and get some dinner going as some are starving.

Avery Craft and Photos

My now 12 year old (had a b-day on 12/14) son, Avery Z, as he likes to be called decided he wanted to go outside and take some pictures of things we and our neighbor Granny have up outside. I think he did a good job in centering the photos and has an eye for it.

Avery was given an assignment to stretch his comfort zone the other day. He is a very dear sweet boy and does very well with his autism, but has challenges in self esteem and expressing himself. His job was to look at different books and come up with a picture for his aunt that he could draw and I would trace onto fabric to make something for his aunt.

He decided to trace a pattern from a stained glass pattern book and then signed it with his regular "AVERY Z". He did a wonderful job and was praised by his dad and myself. I traced it and then had him color the picture on the fabric. I know his aunt will love his efforts and let him know he has many talents.

Carolina Snowflake Craft

Early in October I signed up for one of my kids to attend a couple different 3 hour craft classes on some Saturdays in December at The County Shoppe (art shop) here in Fort Benton, MT.

My daughter attended the first one which was geared more towards younger children and did a beaded craft for her aunt in Chicago who loves homespun gifts for the holidays. I don't have a picture of her finished piece as she was allowed to put it in a gift box and wrap it during the class.

The next one ended up having my husband and our middle child (Wynston, age 14) attend as I took a couple extra shifts to help someone out with scheduling. We had no idea what Carolina snowflakes were going to be for a craft. The men in my household got a workout on following directions and using a hot glue gun for the first time. I think they did a wonderful job. Here is one of them with the other being in a package headed for a gift for the holidays.

I might just have to take the next class offered on making these snowflakes. I sure do like the natural look they have.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Homemade Goodies

I took the kids to The Golden Age Center in Fort Benton, Montana the other day for their Cookie Walk. I guess it is an annual thing and the little elderly ladies were so sweet and kept having me put another cookie on the plate to equal 1 pound for $7.00. The kids and I were happy with our selections. I even had to hide a few for my husband after he got home from work late that night.

My neighbor lady,Granny, invited the family over to see her decorations. Once we arrived she asked each one of us to stand in front of her Christmas tree to take a picture. We had a very pleasant visit.

The next morning Granny came to visit us and see our decorations. In her hand were crocheted ornaments for each one of us. I think they are just beautiful. Now they are hanging on our tree and look like they have always belonged there.

Holiday Cheer

This year has been a trying one for my family. We have had the worst financial stress since our early years of marriage nearly 19 years now. We have cut back on many things, moved to pay less rent, and yet continuously seek more ways to make it through.

I know there are many families and many single people out there doing the same as we. It is hard especially around the holidays to keep much cheer knowing that there is not going to be things under the tree for my now almost 3 teenagers. They have become so understanding for the most part. They understand that there is a sequence on waiting in an imaginery line for their time to come to generally even one thing they would like and that the time lapse may be a couple weeks, a month, or even 3 to 4 months if not more.

My husband earlier in the week sent me an email laying out the bills (mostly medical co-pays after our insurance) that are pressing on us to take care of here in the near future. He said he hated to be the bearer of bleak news of "NO Christmas". I went into a depressed spiral state for a couple of days and started trying to figure a way to make more money come through the door. My Ebay and Etsy sales have not been very good this time of year compared to many in the past. I know it is because we are a nation all facing the same scrimping and cutting back.

After a few days of this "stressed & depressed" state of mine. I am finally calm and have watched a few videos in past several days which have themes in them of what I have been going through.

Persuasion by Jane Austen says; "While Lady Elliot lived, there had been method, moderation, and economy, which had just kept him within his income..."

You've Got Mail a scene -- "Down $1200 in sales from this time last year.. How can that be? . . . I am not going to let that get me down, I am hanging more twinkle lights!"

Miss Potter opening words; "There is something delicious in writing the first words of a story. You never know where they are going to take you and mine has taken me here."

I know my story is not over, as a matter of fact, I told my husband just last night that I have been playing with the idea of starting some college courses online to work toward a degree. This is only in the beginning stages of planning, but who knows, one day I might go from a 2 year degree I already have to something much more. So I do have some new hopes and plans brewing in my mind.

Bring on the Holiday CHEER!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunrise Colors

I have been working a 5 night stretch of shifts this past week and couldn't resist taking some sunrise sky pictures. The colors are just as magnificent as the sunsets.

Thought I would share some with you here along with some of the past snow we had recently.

Just chilling here on the farm listening to some classic Christmas songs!!

I put a bug in my husband's ear for a 10 cup tea pot for my Christmas present this year. That way I can sit at the dining table and have some tea parties with the kids and watch the landscape art outside my windows.

Christmas in Your Heart

Embroidery and quilting are my favorite hobbies, but I have decided I will attempt to do some form of painting in 2012.

Recently at work in personal care, the staff person that I relieve saw my zippy bag of embroidery I had just begun to stitch on. She asked to look at it and immediately asked if I had plans to do something with it or give it to someone. I told her that I was just making it to turn it into something to sell in the future. She then jumped and said, "Make it for me to give to my future daughter-in-law as a Christmas present".

So here it is a wall hanging or even a table topper.

This year I find myself more into snowmen and love the different pattern drawings I am finding online to use. I think a snowman quilt will be in my future.

Hope Debbie and her future daughter-in-law like my creation. I enjoyed whipping the finishing touches on it last night.

Pretty Roses

I love picking up crocheted doilies at thrift stores and yard sales whenever I can find them. I usually don't end up putting them on tables around the house because I have so many other nicknacks piled up.

Recently having moved onto a farm with a sweet lady we call Granny living right next to us, I have gotten to love talking with her about her favorite hobby . . . crocheting.

I showed her this rose doily and she asked me if I wanted her to "stiffen it". Not knowing what process this was I told her only if it was no problem to her. She was thrilled and headed home with a smile on her face.

The next morning she appeared on my doorstep with the most beautiful piece of work I had ever seen . . . my rose doily!!!

Granny said she got the look on my face that she had expected -- one of total surprise at the transformation after her "stiffening" process.

My daughter fell in love with this piece of art and told me she had the best place to put it. Now her wall above her bed displays the transformed rose doily. Granny thought it the perfect place also, especially since my daughter's name is Savannah Rose.