December 31, 2011

Sunday Scripture - A New Beginning...

 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."
- Jeremiah 29:11

December 30, 2011

December 29, 2011

Looking Back on 2011...

As I reflect on 2011, I look back upon a year filled with joy, sadness, anticipation, fun and new experiences.

I promise not to dwell on the moments of great sadness, but I can't close out this year without remembering the beautiful lives of my Labrador, Kes - and my first Corgi, Fezzik Inconceivable. They filled our days with unconditional love and laughter.

Both left me this year. I miss them every day, and will never forget the lights they brought into our lives.
We had the adventure of our lives when Handsome, Kes and I embarked on a four month trip last summer. We packed our essentials along with too many extras into our Airstream and set off on our travels.

Together, we covered nearly 11,000 miles, 13 states, enjoyed friends and family, and were a part of some incredible music performances. We learned that we can live happily together in a small space, and that less "stuff" is actually liberating. We're already planning our next big destination!
Brynwood's Taggart (aka Tag) joined our adventure mid-trip (July 4th) and he immediately fit right in. He was a natural for traveling, and did his best to make friends with Kes.  We're so glad that he's a part of our family now,  and we're looking forward to spending many more years with him. Even now, he considers the Flying Cloud his home, and he gets quite animated when he realizes we're going out to spend a little time there.

Although Kes didn't return home with us, she'll always be with us in spirit. I miss her silly ways, and her ability to teach the puppies by example.
I also had fun creating beautiful things in 2011. If you click here, you can see my 2011 Completed Projects Flickr album.

I want to thank all of you for the comments, love and support you've given me. You help lift me during the most difficult days, and made them more bearable. You shared all the good times with me, too. You may never know the true effect that blogging has had on me. What started as a little personal diary, grew into new and wonderful friendship and a celebration of my creative and personal life. Thank you for being a part of this adventure.

December 28, 2011

You're Still The One...

1985 - Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
We'd been married less than a year when this photo was taken. Twenty seven years later, and you're still the one, Handsome.

We'll be spending today as we've spent many anniversaries before. We'll be training dogs and having fun outside.

I'll be back tomorrow with some year-end thoughts and recollections. Happy Anniversary, Husband.

December 27, 2011

One For Me, One For Tag...

I was so tickled to find that I'd won the drawing that Anne hosted on her blog, Fiona & Twig. I just love Anne, and have watched over the past year or so as she's found her true calling. Her photography is stunning, and she has an eye for finding the most wonderful ways to capture the world around her!

She was offering a "Dreaming of Junking" 2012 Calendar (with her work on the cover and inside!), and a new copy of Artful Blogging (which features an article she wrote, along with more of her own photography). I was surprised (and veeery happy) when she contacted me to let me know I'd won!! This is her original giveaway post.

I pored over the calendar, and am going back to the magazine time and again to soak in every gorgeous page. Thank you, Anne for picking me. I'm so grateful, and consider myself extra fortunate to be able to call you "friend".
On another note...I did what I said I was going to do yesterday. I baked Corgi biscuits to take to Tag today! I cut out corgi shapes, and baked every little leftover piece to make as many treats as possible!

We'll be on our way around ten this morning, and our appointment is to meet Mike and Tag at the Ranch at 1 pm. We'll probably be there early. (Ya think?)
In case you missed the link for the dog biscuit recipe, here it is one more time. (They're called "Boomer and LuLu's Peanut Butter Crunch Biscuits". Boomer and LuLu were featured on The Daily Corgi blog when they shared their recipe.) Everything is safe and good for dogs, and because I made them myself, I know exactly what's in them. I admit we tasted them, too. Handsome said they "stuck to the roof of his mouth". (giggling here) Granted we only tasted a corner of one.

I'm sure that Tag is going to love them, and it will be up to him whether or not he wants to share them with his friends. I'm sure that little minx, Ike (his roomie) will get at least one!

You're going to have to wait til Tuesday to see pictures and a video of The Boy, but I'll get my "Tag fix" very soon! I've gotta run. Time to turn toward Okeechobee.

December 26, 2011

Tuesdays With Tag - It Runs In The Family...

Do you remember the photograph I posted of Tag last summer while we were traveling? I found him perched on the table between our beds in the Flying Cloud. He's so cheeky!
I received this photograph last week from Tag's Aunty of his brother, Trip. I guess it runs in the family - right along with those ears! (Notice the well-behaved Lab sleeping on the sofa. lol)
I'll be heading over to the Ranch to see Taggart tomorrow. Today, I'm going to make corgi biscuits to take along for him. (He can share them with his kennel mates to celebrate the holidays!)

I purchased all this corgi goodness (the cookie cutter and corgi magnets) from Tasha Tudor's website here. This is the link for the cookie cutter, in case you want one for yourself. The cookie cutter came with a cookie recipe for people, but this is the link to the biscuits I'll be making for Tag and his friends.

We'll be taking along my video camera, too. You know what you'll be seeing next week, then. Right? 'til next time...
"More Wagging, and Less Barking!"

December 25, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - Family...

Christmas Day 1959 (I'm the one on the right.)
I remember those early Christmas celebrations when the most important thing was getting that present I really wanted from Santa. In 1959, it was a baby doll that I adored. As I became older, other things became more important.
Our 1986 family Christmas card.
In 1984, I married Handsome and we were immediately a family of four. I was privileged to become a stepmom to 13 and 8 year old boys.

My focus moved from "me" to "us", and through the years we've added to our family in the most wonderful ways.
l-r: Son #2, me, Handsome, Son #2's Lab, King Friday the 13th (Friday), DIL #1, and Son #1
Our elder son married his childhood junior high school sweetheart, and we've been blessed to have her as part of our family...
2000 - l-r: Handsome with golden, Duff, me, DIL #2, DIL #1, Son #2 and Son #1 with golden, Bee
...and when Son #2 married his sweetheart, we thought it couldn't get any better. Our family celebrations took on new meaning as our family grew. It wasn't really about the presents. It was about the gifts of love and shared lives.
2011 - Our Grandson
Now our lives all include three of the most remarkable young people who, daily, take our breaths away. When the Christmas card arrived from our elder son's family, I almost dropped to my knees. This little man continues to make my heart stop every time I look at his face. I don't expect you to feel the same. I'm his Grandma, after all, but I'll completely understand if you agree with me.
2011 - Our Granddaughters
Then we got our Christmas card from Son #2 and his family. As grandparents, Handsome and I look at our granddaughters and our hearts swell with love. Not only were we blessed with that dark-haired beauty, but God saw fit to bless us with another red-head. That impish grin perfectly shows her personality, which she is more than happy to share with us, whether on the phone or in person.

Being a part of our family is an honor that I never even imagined as a child. I say "honor" because carrying on our family name and teaching our values to our boys and our grandchildren is not something I take lightly. In our family, the best way to teach is to lead by example. I want them to be proud to carry our name and all the integrity, honesty and history it carries, and they always know that they're loved by us. Of all the things a person can give to their family, I value these things the most.

As we move into a new year and a new start, I again make a resolution that I find easy to keep. I will continue to be the person that my family is proud to call their own, and a person who will always make them the first priority (after their father/grandfather) in my life. For me, there's no other way.
Thank you for joining me for the last Memory Lane Monday of 2011. I'm looking forward to sharing more memories with you in 2012, and hope that you'll join me as we welcome the new year.

If you have a memory you'd like to share, please write your story on your blog and then come back and link here so others can read your memory. See you again for January's Memory Lane Monday!

December 24, 2011

Sunday Scripture - Christmas Morn...

 "For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
- Isaiah 9:6

December 23, 2011

Christmas Blessings...

 Sending blessings and gratitude to all of you as
we pause to contemplate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

May those individuals far away from
their loved ones in the service of our great country
remain ever in our thoughts and prayers,
that they may return home safely and soon.
We are grateful for their sacrifices to ensure our freedom.

Merry Christmas, everyone. 

December 22, 2011

Blissfull ATC Swap - December...

I had so many things going on recently that I neglected to post about the December Blissfull ATC Swap group! This month's theme was "A Christmas Carol".

I chose the image of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim for mine. I used my favorite fabric, added tiny bells, a shiny star, red silk ribbon, a little holly and berries, and then finished it with Tiny Tim's famous quote: "God Bless Us, Everyone!"

I sent it off to my swap partner on the 15th, and hers arrived shortly after.
My swap partner was Melanie of Rabbit Hole Art. She created a great card! Melanie used the image of Charles Dickens at his writing desk. She added glitter trim, a shiny gem, holly and berry ribbon and word banners. It's another wonderful addition to my atc collection. Thank you, Melanie!

I really enjoy this group. Wendy has all of the themes for 2012 already listed in her sidebar. If you'd like to swap with other artists, just go to Wendy's site: Blissfull ATC Swap Group, where you can sign up to participate. The more, the merrier!
As we head into the weekend, I know many of you might be traveling. I just want to remind you that the next Memory Lane Monday is right after Christmas (December 26th). I hope you'll join in the party and link in on Monday. I'm going to write my post early and schedule it with the ability for all of you to link up.

If you're traveling, please be safe. Enjoy the holiday and the spirit of Christmas. I'll be adding posts throughout the weekend, so if you're home, I'll see you again! (Just between us: I'm posting our annual Christmas picture tomorrow!) There won't be any "dashing through the snow" here, but if you have snow where you are, then Merry White Christmas!

December 21, 2011

A Corgi Ornament...

I received a Christmas package from my blog bestie, Shell at The Raspberry Rabbits. It came as a surprise, and when I opened the package I actually started to cry!

Staring up at me was this gorgeous, glass corgi to hang on my tree, and then reside year-round in the studio.
I mean...Look at this face!!
Shell included one of her annual handcrafted cards (I smile when I get those bunnies each year!), and to keep my corgi ornament safe, she also sent along a soft, felted wool acorn ornament.

How good was I this past year to have received these special gifts from my beautiful friend? I know my corgi friends are all going to want one, but this one is mine and I'll treasure it forever.

Thank you, dear Shell. You really hit the mark on the head when you chose my gifts this year. Sending long distance hugs filled with gratitude for you!

Feeling A Little Sheepish...

We had a gift exchange at Paneras last night and it was so much fun. All of our gifts ended up being pretty comparable in size even though we never discussed our projects ahead of time.
One of the gals made chocolate stir spoons. (I can't wait to use mine!) Another gift was a candy cane in a crocheted "snuggy" with a choice of a gingerbread man or snowman button embellishment. It doubles as an ornament and it's so cute! Tammy made cute holiday earrings for each of us, and we all immediately put them on. There were also gifts of little meat tarts and cookies. Everything was so wonderful, and we really had a fun night.
 Tammy also made an "extended" Birthday gift for me...a gorgeous yarn bowl that she threw herself in a pottery class she just completed. It's so beautiful! My Birthday was officially extended to seventeen days this year! Thank you, my friend.

Krisann surprised me with a special teeny, tiny crocheted basket with yarn balls and needles. The needles were made from toothpicks! Thank you, Ka for such a sweet gift.
I decided to make keychains for each of the gals. I used knitting sheep fabric to make the fob for the keychain and then added heart twill tape to secure the large split rings to the fob. I sewed two pieces of fabric together and then stuffed them with silk-blend fiberfill. Of course, it's not finished until I add my label. You use labels on your projects, don't you? (I get my labels from a couple of great sellers on etsy, and I've always been happy with their products.)

I hope you're finding time for little gatherings with friends over the holidays. It really didn't matter that our gifts were small. All of them were made from the heart, and isn't that what the season is all about?

December 19, 2011

Tuesdays With Tag - Taking A Break With Me...

We had so much fun last week when I saw The Boy. I shot a short video to share with you when he was taking a break. (I trimmed his toenails, brushed his teeth and then gave him a few treats in preparation for his video debut!) Isn't he a good looking eight-month-old Corgi?

I'll see him again next week and take more photos (and perhaps a video of him going through his workout!) to show you his progress. 'til then,
"More Wagging and Less Barking".

PS. I have one teeny, tiny Christmas wish. If you currently read my blog but are not a follower, would you mind adding your name to my list, please? It's really bothering me that my "number" is stuck on "666". (I know, kinda lame, but it's buggin' me something fierce!) I'd really appreciate it if you could see your way clear to get me off that number...and just think! When it's time for my next giveaway (soon in January), you'll already have a leg up! xoxo

December 17, 2011

New Pincushions...

I really had fun making these pincushions for my Saturday morning coffee group friends. (There were actually five, but I took this picture before the last one was finished.)

I used beautiful, glass containers that are reminiscent of mercury glass pieces. After the poufs were gathered, stuffed with a silk-blend fiberfill and glued to the tops of the candleholders, I set about creating the embellishments.
All of them are matching. I first sewed a blue crystal button onto the pouf. Then I cut a length of silk ribbon and ruched it around the button - gathering, sewing and securing as I went. My final touch was the little pewter thimble charm that hangs beneath the button and ruffles. Finished, they measure approximately 4.5" high by 3" across.

I signed the bottom of each piece and presented one to each of my quilting friends when we met for coffee last Saturday. We meet each week at the quilt shop (two of the members of the group own the shop), and Nora immediately loaded hers up with pins that we sitting next to her machine! I think that each one will see a lot of use, and will add a pretty touch to the sewing tables of my friends.

Oh, and a little good news: I have two extra pincushions that are available for sale! If you're interested in purchasing one for yourself or as a gift, just head over to the Boutique. (Click here to go directly to the listing.)

I had this list on my sidebar leading up to last weekend.
My Christmas Sewing "To Do List"...
  • Set of placemats and napkins (DONE)
  • 3 pairs of Grammies Jammies(DONE)
  • a lap quilt (DONE)
  • a stuffed animal (DONE)
  • a couple of totes (DONE)
  • two garment bags (ONE DONE. Don't like. Redo. Arrgh!)
  • mug mats (DONE)
  • 5 Pincushions (DONE)
  • my Blissfull ATC swap card for Dec. (DONE)
  • ...a small wall quilt and a few other items that I'll complete after the 15th and before the 20th. whew!
All the items marked (DONE) were completed by December 17th and were either shipped in plenty of time to arrive by Christmas or hand-delivered.

You can see that I still have to re-work complete the garment bags (for Handsome), as well as making that small wall quilt and the gifts for my friends in the Tuesday night Paneras group. Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute! I'll be working on those projects due tomorrow night today.

OK, Shell...Are we going to make a New Years' Resolution to have all of our gift projects finished by - oh, say - November 15th in 2012? That's my resolution and I'm saying it out loud now in front of you, God and all my blog friends!

I'm working to finish everything left on my list by Thursday. I want to roll into the weekend able to put my feet up and celebrate Christmas with decorations and a few special meals with friends.
A little reminder: Monday, December 26th is my next Memory Lane Monday. Perhaps you'd like to take a little time to reflect on Christmases past to share on your blogs that day. All you need to do is come back here during a lull in the after-Christmas excitement to link back to my MLM post. I'd love if you'd join the party.

I've sent the elves home to help Santa for the rest of this week. I assured them that I can finish up the last gifts on my own. Cross your fingers for me, ok?

Scripture Sunday - And She Will Bear A Son...

 "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name,
Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
- Matthew 1:21
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree
from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxes...
...And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth,
into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;
(because he was of the house and lineage of David)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
- Luke 2:1-5