Sunday, June 28, 2015

Take a Seat, I've Got Stuff to Share!

I know it’s only been a couple of days…but I got stuff to share!!

Things remain quiet here.  Dad and I have found our rhythm.  I’ve got one more day and the chaos returns. LOL  Several of you mentioned that I needed to recharge.  You were right.  I am feeling calmer than I have in almost a year.  Thank you for understanding what I didn’t. 

I had planned on going to the quilt show for several months, and when DH said he was going camping that weekend, I went ahead and got a caregiver for Dad for a few hours.  Had a wonderful time and then lunch with a special friend.  She lost her husband six months ago and we just haven’t had a chance to visit.  She is a sewer, but not a quilter.  I think she enjoyed seeing the works of art and touching the beautiful fabric as much as I did!!

Here a few of my favorites.  Isn’t the giraffe so cute?

Of course, you cannot visit a quilt show without picking up a few yards small pieces of fabric.  LOL  I stayed in budget, but still found some really cool things.

I stopped by a booth where the vendor was doing something called a “toothbrush” rug.  I had seen rugs made by crocheting, but since I am crocheting challenged, I never tried.  This seemed a little easier and picked up a pattern and toothbrush needle.  I am always on the lookout for cheap backing fabric for my quilts, and in this case, as long as it is 100% cotton, I can make it into strips and use it for this.  The foundation strip is never seen when the rug is done, and as sad as this is, there is some not-so-beautiful fabric that longs to be used.  I will give it that chance.  LOL

I found some nice, subtle fabric for my usual style of quilts and then saw this!!

Oh. My. Goodness.  It called to me.  By name.  Really.  Really, really.  Then, when we stopped by the batik table, found the perfect dots to go with those chicks.  I have absolutely NO idea what I will use this for, but I had to get it.  LOL

My last stop of the day was a batting booth.  I will admit I use plain, 100% cotton batting in my quilts.  I usually wait until Joanne’s has a sale with free shipping and pick up three or four bags.  They are quilts to be used and loved, definitely not heirloom.  But it is nice to fondle the 100% wool batting.  LOL  In the front of the booth, a vendor was showcasing a product called Heat Press Batting Together.  I always try use up the bigger leftover pieces by sewing them together.  It takes a really long time.  After watching her, I couldn’t wait to pick up a roll!  It was not really expensive, so I figured if I couldn’t get it to work, I wouldn’t feel bad.  This morning, I checked Amazon, this stuff has five stars.  Yea…good choice! 

And so I leave you with the final pictures of my gladiolas.  The lavender was not what I expected, but so beautiful!  The fuchsia stalk broke off yesterday in the wind, but I caught it in time and am enjoying it in a vase.   

Be kind to one another.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Very Quiet Evening at the Rancho

Very quiet here at the rancho.  Husband and stepson are camping in the Sierras, so it's just me and Dad.  As much as I love my family, it is nice to have some time without them.  I don't have to make dinner (thank goodness for Stouffer's frozen Mac and Cheese), not much laundry to do, and when I clean off the counter, it stays that way.  LOL

Dad seems a bit more calm and responsive when it's just me and him.  Not sure why.  Maybe because I have a quieter voice?  My husband can be loud! He says he talks loud because Dad can't hear him, but sometimes, I think Dad chooses to not hear him.  LOL  In the past three days, I've gotten two nods from him.  Makes me happy...

I've done a bit of stitching, a bit of gardening.

I've got a tiny more done on Cherry Hollow Farm...

I feel like I'm moving at a snail's pace on this project.  LOL  

Then, I worked out in the garden...First, here are some blooms, well almost blooms, from the gladiolas that I planted in the spring.  I go out every day to check.  I know with the heat here in California, they will not last more than a couple of days.  The fuchsia is very bright, the lavender more muted.  I will get some better pictures when they open up a more.

Found these lavender plants half off at one of the home supply places...Forgot to plant them on Saturday (had a squirrel moment!), remembered them on Wednesday, gave them some water just in time, and planted them last night.  

I like the silvery color of the leaves.  I do a lot of plants in pots.  My dog has a close, personal relationship with my flower beds.  Since he's 95 pounds, not much in the flower bed makes it though one of his naps! 

I have a trip planned tomorrow to the Seven Sisters Quilt Show in San Luis Obispo.  I've went the last two years and love looking at the quilts.  There are so many talented people in the world and I am thankful that they share.  I say I quilt, but it's more like I "piece".  These quilts are works of art. Since I've got a caregiver for Dad tomorrow, I will have three hours to ooooohhhh and aaaaahhhh over the quilts and then have lunch with a dear friend.  She lost her husband six months ago and this is the first chance we had to get together.  I've missed her and look forward to some girl time. 

Okay, peeps, off to finish my dad chores and stitch for a while.  

Thank you to all that take the time to visit and keep up with my ramblings.  I started this blog for myself, but it is so nice to "meet" others out in the world.  I love to look at everyone's gardens and stitching.  We are more alike than we are different.

Be kind to one another.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day...

Happy Father's Day to all that are fathers by birth or by circumstance.  And to those moms that were both, happy day to them, too.

My childhood was not the best, but not the worst.  My mother was in and out of our lives and my dad spent most of our early years as a single parent.  Since this was in the 1960's, definitely not the norm. I always was and will be a daddy's girl.  He was the rock that stood as our protection and showed his love every day.  The words "I love you" were used freely.  He did remarry when I was about 12, but then my life took on shades of Cinderella. All I can say is this...some people do not add to the world, but only take...

So, today is bittersweet.  We are now two years and sixteen days into Hospice.  With Parkinson's and dementia, my dad is not the same.  I try to think of happier days and surround myself with pictures of my dad when days were good.  I am blessed to be able to care for him in these last days, though it is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  My husband is amazing with my father and does as much of the day-to-day care that I do.  I could not do this without him.

My first birthday party...even then a Daddy's girl...

My dad at a cattle round-up.  This is how I remember him best, working with the cattle, on his horse...

About ten years ago.  I miss his smile most of all.

Hold your loved ones close, be kind to one another.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Is It Friday Yet? Yes, Yes It Is!!!

Thank goodness it is Friday!  Nothing like returning to work after a vacation to remind you just how ready you are for retirement.  LOL   I was tired by Monday afternoon and really wasn't interested in the rest of the week.  I think I got used to the afternoon naps I had during vacation.  Most of my work right now is closing out this quarter's food purchase orders and verifying that all the food for next quarter has been ordered.  Sounds like a lot, but this is the slow time!  LOL  Oh, and since it's the slow time, I'm suppose to clean out my in-box.  Ha ha ha ha...Sure.  As if that's going to happen! How do you think that I know where everything is?  It's in my in-box!

Please sit down, I have an announcement...I finished, finished a punch needle project.  Yay!!  I finished this cute little bunny several months ago and the box sometime in April when I was practicing my painting technique.  WA LA...I found the perfect recipient.  Put it together, filled it with some truffles, and I had a going-away gift!

If I remember correctly, most of the threads are over dyes from Victorian Motto Shoppe.  Nancy has such pretty colors.  The chenille around the punch needle is hand-dyed by Lois over at Elegant Stitch. It is perfect for this project!  The box was just a plain, light-weight wooden box from Michael's that I painted and distressed.  No wax on this one...

I have a few flower pictures.  To be honest, it has been over 100 degrees the past four days, so my flowers  bloom and crisp on the same day.  I managed to get one gladiola picture.

There was one beautiful white bloom that lasted less than two hours, just too hot.

Several years ago, I found this poor little cactus pot at a yard sale.  It didn't look like much, but I brought it home, gave it a tiny bit of water and every year, this is my reward...

I really like the coral flowers.

Its next door (pot) neighbor is a bunny cactus.  Loved the name, just had to have it!  If you look carefully, you will notice a few new "bunny ears".  LOL

I am now heading outside to do a little hand watering.  My irises are really parched and I'm still holding out hope that a few of the gladiolas I planted in the spring will give me blooms.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Be kind to one another.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Few More Pictures and Baby Boy Heads Home

Howdy, peeps and peepettes!  Here are the last of the Monterey pictures...

First, here is Baby Boy waiting for lunch...we were all pretty hungry, but after a morning at the aquarium, no fish and chips for us!  LOL

After finishing up at the aquarium, we headed down to the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf.  Next to the wharf is the Custom House.  It shows the typical California architecture (Spanish Colonial Style) from the early 1800's.


And a sign on the door of a cookie shop.  LOL

And so ends my vacation and my Baby Boy's visit.  He left late on Friday night.  It is always sad to see him go, but I put on my big girl bloomers, smiled and waved as he drove away.  I am such a weenie mom...LOL

Before he left, we tried a selfie.  Please note, we are REALLY BAD at selfies....

Then I got DH to take a few pictures, but couldn't get my son to smile...he just kept shaking his head at my attempts to get a perfect picture.  I sure do love this boy...And yes, I was having a very bad hair day.  LOL  Nothing like having naturally curly hair and high humidity on the same day.

Thank you for sharing my vacation adventures.  I will be back at work bright and early tomorrow morning.  I hope that everyone has a wonderful week.  Be kind to one another.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Little Bit of This...A Lot of That...

Howdy, peeps!  First, I finished the chicken!!!!  I sent the rest of the family on a day trip and took a little craft break. I will finish it into a pillow, but at least the punch needle part is DONE!

Then, here is a box that I picked up from Michael's last week.  I took some time out and got it chalk painted and waxed.  Woo Hoo!  This is one of my favorite shades of green and the wax gave it a nice patina.

Now, part of the reason I sent the family out was...I was tired!  Yesterday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and back, about a five hour round trip just in driving.  I needed to recharge.  I did all the driving and I think everyone slept on the way back except for me!  

But I've got some great pictures to share...

We're here!

A baby turtle....

Herds of jellies...

Oh look, I found Nemo.  LOL  LOL  LOL  Or maybe just some of Nemo's friends...

One of my favorite pictures...I called it octopus butt, but my husband reminded me this is the other side of the octopus since its mouth is in the middle of all those arms.  

And here is a few of my son.  He is so patient with me.  How many moms can get their adult children to sit in an egg so she can get a picture?  LOL  And then, see those hands?  He was pretending to be a barnacle.  He is such a good sport.

After a few hours in the aquarium, we headed to Cannery Row for lunch, then back to the aquarium for a few more exhibits.  By that time, most of the school buses had dropped off the kids for the end- of-year field trips (there were lots and lots of them and they were very loud), so we finished up and headed down to the Old Fisherman's Wharf.  I took a few pictures while we were there, but I will save them for the next post.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is wonderful.  If you have the chance to go...DO IT!! There are some permanent exhibits like the Open Ocean and the jellies, but there is always something new.  Last year was sea horses, this year was an exhibit called Tentacles.  Very interesting with cuttlefish and lots of octopuses.  

I am having such fun with my son.  He leaves tomorrow to head back to Iowa.  I will be sad, but am so proud of him.  He is kind, thoughtful, and works so hard at school.  It is really hard to have him far away.  It will be at least six months before we see him again... 

Be kind to one another.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

How About Some BBQ?

I made it through the BBQ yesterday.  We had 110 people to feed, a little less than planned.  I always worry about running out of food...I don't know why...I just do...

My stepson was a great help!  He likes to cook, who knew?  My son came a little later and did the clean up.  Family time.  LOL

I thought this might be interesting to those who don't cook in bulk.

Here's a list of what we started with...

70 pounds of top sirloin block (we trim it ourselves, it's cheaper and we use the fat to clean the grill)
20 pounds of sausage
2 whole chickens (a few people don't eat beef)
20 pounds of various salad mixes (I don't care for iceberg...spring mix is the way to go!)
6 large bottles of salad dressing
15 loaves of french bread
9 pounds of butter
5 pounds of fresh garlic
4 #10 cans of chili beans (the cans hold 25 servings each)

Each couple had to bring a dozen cookies and a six pack of soda/water.  Nothing left, it got a little warm at the end and you know that no one can resist a cookie!  LOL

We use oak wood and it takes about an hour to burn down to embers.  You never cook over a large flame...

Here is my DH, burning off the grill using the fat.  This gives you an idea how big the pit is...

You get one end hotter than the other, sear the meat, and then move it to the end to slow cook...

See that bowl?  When you trim the meat, you always get small pieces of meat.  You cook those first. Those are snacks for the cooks!  LOL

Everyone had a great time, lots of compliments on the food.

This BBQ is for our motorcycle group.  My husband and I ride a Honda Gold Wing.  We have taken several trips on the bike, the longest was nine days to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We don't ride together very often now, it is harder to find time with taking care of my dad, but we still try to stay active in the group.  The best part is where the BBQ is held.  Right next to the ocean in a very nice park.  It is usually a little foggy in the morning, warms up during the day, but a breeze keeps you nice and cool while you're next to a hot pit.

Here is the view from the BBQ pit...

How pretty is that!  Makes all the hot work worth it!

Off to do some chores, still haven't finished all the laundry from yesterday.  Have a great week.  Be kind to one another.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What? Thursday? Really?

Good evening, peeps.

Happy, happy dance for me!!  My son and stepson arrived on Tuesday night.  My son is here for a week, my stepson for two months.  I am off next week, so looking forward to some quiet time and fun with the boys.

Somehow, I feel as if I've lost four days this week.  LOL  I kinda remember Sunday.  I think I did chores and I finished my chalk paint and waxed box.  I am very happy how it turned out...I used a darker yellow chalk paint then covered it with a mixture of the dark and light wax.  It gave it a great patina. Funny, the part I love best is the feel of the box.  That sounds weird, but the wax gives it such a smooth, even texture.  Love it!!

Oh, and you can see my chicken peeking out from behind.  LOL  I've almost finished all the background then I just need to give that chick some feathers.  And what will I do with this box?  I have absolutely no idea!  LOL  But it's pretty!

Monday?  Well, I got up early, went to work, came home and do not have any memory of what I did. How odd is that?

Tuesday?  Got up early, went to work, stayed late to finish a project, got home and then waited for my boys to get here, after that...nope, not sure.

Wednesday?  Got up early, went to work, stayed late to finish a project, went to the grocery store, picked up dog food, got home and then...nope, not sure.  I do remember that I didn't get to take my shower until 9 pm.  

Thursday?  Got up early, went to work, got off at the regular time, stopped at the dollar store to pick up birthday balloons for my stepson, helped DH with the birthday BBQ, then...well, it's 8:45 pm and I'm ready for bed!!

So tomorrow is Friday, yay!  Then vacation...more yay!  I promised to help with two BBQs, but one is only 130 people, the other 70.  Piece of cake!

I will take pictures and be sure to overshare as usual.  LOL  Have a wonderful end of the week and be kind to one another.