July 31, 2011

Revisiting The Royal Wedding...

I love weddings. I mean, really, who doesn't? I know I'm not the only one who got up early that day in April just to watch the Royal wedding. What I love more than the actual nuptials is to be able to look at all the trappings and accessories that make for the perfect bridal ensemble. I personally think that Katherine was a regal vision.

A recent article in The Daily Mail (UK), which I hate to admit I read every day (without fail) showcased a new exhibit that will feature a number of items (actual or recreated) so that the Royal subjects can view Katherine's wedding attire "up close".
I hadn't noticed the details on the back of the wedding gown (the veil obscured the waistline area), and love the tucks that create a bustled effect on the back of the dress. And, can you even imagine how long it took just to button up the back of her dress?
 Queen Elizabeth II actually said that this display of Katherine's gown "sans head" was "sort of disturbing". I think I agree with her.
I like the fact that Katherine's veil wasn't floor-length. I think it's less formal, but again, really enhanced her elegant gown.
Are you a shoe hound? I am. (In fact, Handsome used to call me "Imelda" - as in, Imelda Marcos, which you need to be old enough to understand.) Although I don't wear high heels as much as I used to, I sure feel more special when I do. Katherine's wedding shoes, with their lace trim, are "my kind of shoe". (gushing here)
What little girl didn't dream of wearing a crown on her special day? Katherine wore the Cartier Halo Tiara, created in 1936. It was purchased by the Duke of York (later King George VI) for the Queen Mother (Elizabeth I). The Queen Mother gave it to Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) for her 18th birthday. Don't you just love items steeped in tradition?

I think it's a stunning piece, and understated when compared to some of the other crowns she might have been able to choose instead.
The wedding bouquet.
There is also a duplicate of the wedding cake that will be on display in all it's monochromatic glory. I especially like that it has the wedding couple's combined monogram in the third tier from the top. I don't know what kind of cake was inside, but if it was the traditional British fruitcake, I think I might know I would have passed. White cake with raspberry filling would have been more to my liking. (Or perhaps cheesecake!)
Of all of the items on display, you have to know that Katherine's earrings would be my personal favorite. They were a gift from her parents, and incorporate acorns from the Middleton family crest.
The earrings are totally encrusted with diamonds. Acorns totally encrusted with diamonds. Pardon me while I swoon. Do you think someone is going to duplicate these like they did Princess Diana's engagement ring all those years ago? I'm just wondering.

Thank you to everyone who sent get well wishes. I can announce that my back feels so much better now, and I'm hoping to put together an interesting Taggart story for you for tomorrow.

July 30, 2011

Sunday Scripture...

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
-Matthew 28:19

I'll be at a baptism today for my sister's grandson, 
my great nephew, Dean. 
I thought this verse might be appropriate to our family's celebration.

July 29, 2011

Dream A Little Dream...

Moda Clementine fabric collection
Still flat on my back - up close and personal with a heating pad. I finished and finished another book (The Art of Racing In The Rain) and loved it. Get a box of Kleenex before you start it.

But this "obsessive/creative" is dreaming about being back in the studio, diving into this particular fabric collection and making a wonderful, queen-size quilt to wrap around me. I'm thinking that I should get out that fabulous ruler that I used to make the Nantucket quilt to use on the jelly rolls (I have two of them!) and then use my other yardage for sashing, borders and backing. This post tells you all about the ruler and shows what my Nantucket quilt squares looked like.

So, until I'm back in the "saddle" and the studio, I'll just lie around and dream about my Clementine collection.

July 28, 2011

That's The Way It Goes...

I'd love to share some wonderful story with you today to explain why I'm not sharing a newly completed project. Perhaps a story of how I tripped through fields of chickory and Queen Anne's lace with the dogs would have been appropriate. I do like my "thoughts on a joyful and creative life" mantra, you know.

The truth is, I'm mostly flat on my back with a heating pad (and an occasional valium), having sprained my back over a week ago. It's getting better, but I've run out of cute stories, puppy pictures and book reviews to hide the fact that I've been a slacker. I'm left with the cold, hard truth. (I really am reading all those books, though!)

Please don't fret. I'll be back to my obsessive/creative (did I just make up a new term?) self soon...and I'll have something interesting for you to read about tomorrow, I promise. You're all my friends, so I know you'll understand.

July 27, 2011

I'm A Little Behind...

Seems "the hurry-der I go, the behinder I get". Today will be spent starting and completing ONE project because I've been neglecting my craft time.

But more importantly, I'm going to spend the day catching up on my blog comment correspondence. I fear that some of you might think I don't love you anymore because I haven't responded to the generous remarks you've left for me. Nothing could be further from the truth. I always read and enjoy everything you write to me, but have been lax of late in replying.

Today, I'm going to go through all the notes sitting on my server and (as long as you're not a "no comment blogger" - meaning you haven't left me an edress for response), I'll write a note to each of you. I suspect that this is going to be a major undertaking, so please bear with me.

You can't imagine how upset I would be if I thought any of you were angry with me for not writing back, so I'll do my best today and over the next few days. Intermittent web service, Taggart, a little travel and a monster case of laziness are all to blame. So, today, I'll put on my big girl panties and get to the business at hand. If you've left a comment for me in the past month and haven't heard back, prepare for a barrage of gratitude from me to you!

I just realized that I've written over 800 posts since I started blogging, so next week I'm going to have a giveaway...for my followers only. You deserve a chance to win something for always putting up with me! I'll see if I can't come up a giveaway that you'll really like.

July 26, 2011

This Week's Book Reviews...

I recently told you that I was going to read "Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski, and I was really looking forward to this book. It's set in the real northern Wisconsin town of Mellen in the Chequamegon National Forest (pronounced she WA me gon). It's a place I know and love. The central story revolves around dogs...another favorite topic for me.

I'm going to be brutally honest with you now. While there were so many wonderful dog stories told within the covers of this 800+ page book, I was actually angry with the author's non-treatment of the ending.

I'm not the kind of person who requires a happy ending. I can take sad endings, too. What I can't abide is an author who just decides that after having your undivided attention for that many pages, he has to wrap up the book in - oh, say...four pages - and get this book to print. In my estimation he just ran out of interest in his own writing and walked away from it. (Imagine rolling a bowling ball across a kitchen table and just letting it fall when it gets to the edge.)

There were so many loose ends, unresolved issues and wonderful, full characters just left hanging at the end. He apparently just decided, "Well, enough is enough. I'll just kill 'em all off." Really! I was more than mildly peeved. I was throughly incensed.

Here's my advice. If you want to read the book for it's amusing and interesting dog stories, go ahead and borrow the book from the library - or a friend who already laid out their hard-earned cash - but (here's the important part), stop reading the book before the final chapter and make up your own ending. Anything you can imagine is going to be 1000 times better than what the author wrote.

Barring that, steer clear of "Edgar Sawtelle" and read something anything else. Eight hundred pages is a lot of wasted time to get to this author's pathetic attempt to wrap up his storyline.
On a happier note, I also finished reading "Water For Elephants" by Sara Gruen last night. Filled with flashbacks that only enhance the storyline, this book is a great way to spend a few summer afternoons. (Don't forget to pour yourself a tall glass of lemonade. You'll understand why later in the book!)

I'm much more apt to read the book than see the movie any day, so pick up a copy of "Water For Elephants" and sit back and enjoy the vivid images that the author helps conjure through her writing.
Next up is "The Art of Racing In The Rain" by Garth Stein. Another book involving dogs (I'm told). I'll let you know what I think of this one as soon as I'm finished reading it.

July 25, 2011

Tuesdays With Tag - Getting Along With Kes...

Kes asked me today if I was actually going to start writing about her newest little affliction.  I had to explain to her that Tag's fans are anxiously awaiting news of just how he's fitting in here at Brynwood.

She just sighed and said, "Fine. When are you going to write about this old dog? Tag. Tag. Tag. All I ever hear is Tag!"

I told her I'd include her in my first official Tuesdays With Tag post. That seemed to settle her down a bit. It's really difficult nearly impossible to take Tag for a walk that Kes doesn't want to hobble along. Seems she's more jealous than protective, but she tolerates him as long as he isn't trying to bite her face or feet. She hates that!
We took him for his first visit to the vet last week and I'm proud (and relieved) to announce that he's received a clean bill of health. The vet says he's perfect...having all the essential elements in all the right places. You know how happy we were to hear that good news! He also has spots on his tummy that our granddaughters refer to as "polka dots"...and our grandson says that Tag reminds him of a little bunny when he's lying down. Our own little "bunny butt with the polka dot tummy"! I like that.

Tag officially weighs 15 pounds, and as you can tell from the age ticker that I've installed on my right sidebar, he's now three months, three weeks and two days old. Pretty soon he'll be growing into those ears of his!
He's doing a fine job of becoming a good corgi citizen. We're working on sit, stay and "don't jump" right now. All the little girls love him unless he jumps up on them. It's just not the polite thing to do. I've been telling him about the adventures he's going to have once we start herding tests, so it's very important he learns the obedience basics first. He's not convinced yet, but we'll keep working on it anyway.

He also learned a new trick last night and jumps through my arms when I hold them in a circle. He did it about ten times before he lost interest. Once I know it's not a fluke, I'll ask Handsome to do a little video that I can share with you.

Well, Kes just came to inform me that I've written quite enough too much about "that darn corgi" for this week. I'll make sure she's napping next week when I write his post. We don't want the Labrador getting her nose out of joint, after all.



July 24, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - Childhood on Two Wheels

Welcome to another Memory Lane Monday
I hope you enjoy my story, and then have a memory of your
own to share on your blog. Don't forget to link back up here.
web image - waydowntheroad.com
When I was a kid, my parents procured my Aunt Ethel's Roadmaster bicycle for me. The year was somewhere around 1962. One small correction: Aunt Ethel was my grandfather's aunt, making her my great-great aunt. I make this distinction for one important reason. The bicycle was hers when she was a girl. It was already vintage when I got it!

My Roadmaster (which I called the "Roadsmasher") was a real beauty on balloon tires...more rubber on the road, making for an "arduous" ride, to say the least. I had two wire baskets on the back of mine. By today's standards, she was a tank! (The bike, not my aunt.)
web image
At the same time that I was bulking up on the Roadsmasher, my younger sister received a svelt pink Schwinn for Christmas (also with two wire baskets on the back, but hers also had a cute basket on the handlebars). Compared to mine, her bike was like a racer.
Web image
Then, when the time came, my little brother got his banana seat Schwinn with the ape-hanger handlebars. It suit him to a "t". Boy, that kid could fly on two wheels!

None of the bikes were three- or five-speeds (or whatever number are now available). Ours went our speed, and we rode them all summer long. We rode them to the city swim pool, the YMCA, around our neighborhood and on errands for our parents. We rode them everywhere.

The local convenience store was about six blocks from our house and was run by sisters who were friends of my parents. My sister, brother and I would hop on our bikes, ride down to McCarthy's and pick up chips, dip, popcorn and (heavy) six-packs of bottled Pepsi so we'd be set for the Packer games our family loved to watch on Sunday afternoons.

Because of the weight of my Roadsmasher, I always was the last to arrive anywhere, but in retrospect, my legs must have been in great shape from pedaling that monster down the road. Over the years, the blue paint faded so it got a new paint job and it was looking shiny and new again.

When I moved into my own apartment, that bike moved with me. I'd ride her to and from work on nice days. I used to get teased when I'd put a lock on the old girl ("Who'd want to steal that ol' thing?", they'd say), but the one time I didn't lock her someone stole it and I never saw it again.

Every once in a while I wonder if she ended up with a person who appreciated her. I'm sure they never realized the history she held for me. I hope that she still makes the rounds these days and that someone is happy to have her. I'd hate to think of her rusting away and neglected after all the fun we had together.

Now's your turn. You can link your blog post back here so that others can read your July Memory Lane Monday post. Thanks for reading!


July 23, 2011

Sunday Scripture...

"The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearance, but
the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

July 22, 2011

Change Might Be Good...

I've been thinking about changing out some of the colors in our living spaces, starting with the living room/kitchen. I love the Restoration Hardware "atmosphere blue" against Behr's "polar bear white", but am thinking we should change to something a bit warmer - but not yellowish.

I think painting the whole living room in the blue would be too much. Something more subtle would be more to my liking. It might show off the creamy woodwork better, too.
A few months ago, I saw this photograph on another blog (sorry I didn't write down whose). Although we don't have a cottage appearance in our abode, I decided I liked the color of the paint on the wall. It's called "grey owl" from Benjamin Moore paints.

Do you have a favorite paint color? What do you think? Like it the way it is, or should I tone down the white a bit?

Hope it's cooled off in your corner of the world. We could use a little break, don't you think?

July 21, 2011

Marion's Glass Beads...

In April I received these gorgeous beads from my friend, Marion (Tag's Auntie) in Michigan. She makes each one with her own loving hands. 

They're all meant to fit on my Pandora™ bracelet. She and I have matching bracelets and clasps. I absolutely love mine, and she has given me each and every single bead that embellishes it. I added a few silver spacers, but even the silver acorn was a gift from her.

Look at the special acorn glass bead she made for me! I have something different planned for that one. It's not meant to hang from my bracelet. You should see it up close. It's perfect!

When we went to pick up Taggart, we stayed with her and her husband. As though just spending time together wasn't enough, she handed me a small box. When I opened it I found red, white and blue beads to commemorate not only Independence Day and our visit, but also the day we got our little Taggart.
She calls the ones with the "sugary" coating, Fruit Loops! I immediately changed out the beads on my bracelet (which, of course, I brought to wear!), but I always leave the acorn and dog paw beads on whenever I change out the look.

Each bead is unique. Some have sterling silver liners; some have sterling dots; some are decorated with flowers; some are clear; some have swirls. I love each and every one.

If you'd like to purchase Marion's beads, she does sell them. Just email me or let me know in your comment and I'll put you in touch with her. I know. They're gorgeous, aren't they?
Quick reminder: It's time for another Memory Lane Monday (July 25th). Hope you'll join us by sharing a special memory on your blog and then linking back here. I'll have my post (and the linky) up on Sunday evening.

July 20, 2011

A New Weekly Feature...

Starting next week, I'll be writing a recurring post called "Tuesdays With Tag". I really gave this a lot of thought, considering that Fezzik used to write his own posts. Rather than Tag writing about himself, I'll be sharing stories with you about our life with our new corgi pup. I hope you'll join us next Tuesday for our first installment.

July 19, 2011

Civil War Tribute...

It was a warm July day, and people were going about their daily lives. There was a breeze which kept the temperatures from being uncomfortable. Women were saying goodbye to their husbands and posing for pictures they'd hold close to their hearts.
Our country was at war with itself, and men - young and old - were leaving home to fight for their beliefs. The women would find strength to run their households from deep within themselves. They wanted to make their contributions to the war, too, and homekeeping was one of the ways they could help. It wasn't easy work in the 1860s, yet these women were heroes on the homefront, too.

They made blankets to send to their soldiers, wrote letters and conducted businesses. They also ran farms and cotton plantations and engaged in physical labor, the likes of which had not been seen by women in many generations. If their men returned, they found women with calloused hands and a new-found determination.
We heard the fifes announcing another brigade heading off to battle. Women and children marched along, waving flags and cheering for their loved ones.
Members of the 150th P.V.I. - "Bucktails" Co. C & Co. K
They didn't have far to march. Most of the battles were being fought close to home. Many of their men would never return...young lives lost on the field. Families - and our country - would never be the same.

Late in the day, some of the families stood to listen to the drum and fife music. There were camp and marching songs that delighted the listeners. Once it was discovered that Handsome is a drummer, he was invited to play along with the fifes to entertain the people milling around their tent village.
This was a Civil War Reenactment camp that we recently attended. There were mock battles that reminded you that this wasn't just setting up tents and making believe. It was a reminder of just how much our forefathers held dear their principles. They lived in difficult conditions with little or no comforts of home. They missed their families, their lives before war, and their sweethearts.
I have this book in my library, "The Civil War Sewing Circle" by Kathleen Tracy (available here). There are stories, letters and patterns for quilts from the era, including the U.S. Sanitary Commission quilts. I'm going to add a Civil War quilt to my To Do List. I'm going to use reproduction Civil War fabrics to make it. I'll have the remainder of the summer and into the fall to choose my colors and patterns. (Now there are three quilts on my list: The Farmer's Wife quilt, a hobo quilt and a Civil War Quilt.) I think I'm going to have a busy winter, don't you?
Sorry for the delay in posting today...Blogger (or my Internet service) was giving me trouble last night. I'll keep this post up for today (Tuesday and Wednesday) and will be back with a new post on Thursday. See you then!