Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just In Case You're Having a Bad Day Today.....

.....I would really defy you to stay in a bad mood after viewing this most amazing photo....
What you have here is a picture of my newest, precious grand girl and her most amazing daddy...What you see is the result of their wifey/mama staring at them with her most efficient of cameras, documenting the incredible love and admiration that they have for one another.  My heart soars and my lips smile the most content of smiles when viewing this wonder.  This little girl is the object of much love and protection from her most adept of daddies.  How can it be that both of my sons in laws are the Wonderful Men ever for my most cherished daughters?

Today we celebrate this Lil Lady's Daddy's 24th Birthday....
How grateful am I for his most loving, caring, cheerful, joyful self to be not only added to this world, but specifically, into our family, where he brings much entertainment and contemplation in one complete package.

Thank you Lord for this special man.....
Happy Birthday, Landon....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Simple Sewing Saturdays: Volume 15: Scalloped Edging!

There comes a time in every one's lives when you just need a little whimsy, embellishment, silliness in your design needs.  Maybe you've gone the straight an narrow path with your fabric for long enough.  You like the material but you just need a bit of a difference to jazz things up.

Then you need to know how to scallop edges, my friend.
First, you need to find the right circumference of a bowl to use as your template.  Fortunate for me, my change bowl in my bathroom was the right size and, Ta Da, right color to make the most perfect scallop template ever.  Just seeing the colors mesh, made me more creative.  But I digress.....
Seriously, you could use a can, a lid, a saucer etc...to make your perfect scallop size.  Test it on paper to see if it will work for you and your curtain and window size.  Larger windows could handle a larger scallop and be really fun too.
But I was covering my fireplace windows so I went diminutive.
I traced the curve of the bowl onto the material, using about half the circumference, then cutting the scallop....I included in the tracing and cutting, the lining....
Then sew, oh so carefully, around the curves, stopping at the peak, lifting your needle and turning in the other direction.  It is how you handle these curve peaks that will determine your crisp outcome.
Remember this:  Clip inward curves: Notch outward curves. Trim the seams.
Turn outside in.  Use a handy turner, crochet hook or knitting needle to do this efficiently.  Get into the curves cleanly, using your tool to pop out the fabric crisply...
Ironing is very important to this process.  Once things are cleanly out, press it well..
For my project, a small valance, I needed to finish the top of the piece.  I did this by turning under 1/4" to the wrong side, pressing the two together, then stitching close to the edge..
Topstitching all around, gives the curtain a nice crisp look...
For a header for the rod, I used very wide bias tape, stitched close to both sides, turning under slightly, the tape ends...
I used a spring tension rod and inserted it through the bias tape header...
And there you go..
A whimsical, scallopy valance to make you smile when you see it....
Consider it for your next home decor project....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sofa In a Box!

One of the peccadilloes of living in Tiny Town occurs when one sets out to do Home Improvement.  The Big Hardware Stores are not convenient and furniture stores are limited in their selection.  So when Hubby and I set out to redo our living room, selecting a sofa became quite the issue.  We checked out every furniture store within a reasonable delivery area. Nothing. Few things that could work, but when someone buys a new couch every twenty three years, you really want what you want.  Hubby and I agreed that what we really wanted was a Turquoise Sofa.  Well, I convinced Hubby that was what we needed; he tended toward a red leather that I really liked as well, but we were discarding a red floral couch and I was really done with red.  So he agreed via the red argument.
With trepidation, I started searching the Internet.  Do you know that the only turquoise leather couches in this nation (and a few in Italy) cost over $2,000.00?  Neither did I.  But I did congratulate myself on my good taste.  Champagne taste on a beer budget my mom used to say.
Being sensitive to Hubby's Issued Financial Parameters, I tried to find one in my price range.
One Word.
Overstock.com (is that one or two words?)
Within a few clicks, I had found The Couch.
But Hubby had well founded concerns.  We sat upon many a couch in our Sofa Adventures and not being able to test drive it, concerned him.  I reminded him that I could count on one hand the number of times that he has sat on most of our couches.  I reminded him that I would sit on rocks if only it looked good.
With that information, he allowed me to order The Couch.
Did you also know that as I cringed waiting for the shipping cost to appear in my cart page, that Overstock.com has 2.95 shipping charges, ON EVERYTHING!  Order a book: 2.95.  Order a couch: 2.95.
Wonder of Wonders!  I could not have driven to anywhere on 2.95!!
Hubby also stated that he felt funny bolting a couch and stuffing the cushions himself, preferring to leave that to the professional couch bolters and cushion stuffers.  I reminded him the tidy sum that he would save if bolting and stuffing himself; after all, someone has to do it; wouldn't it be just as fine if our own little talented selves did?? Sold.

 One sunny (fortunately, since UPS left the package right smack in the middle of our driveway!) day last week, I came home to this tidy 70 pound box.  Giddiness ensued as I tried to understand how in the world a 74 inch sofa could fit into such a diminutive package.  Running inside to announce the arrival, I grabbed the scissors and Hubby and zipped out to the driveway for the unveiling.
 Genius packing. Efficient and protective.
 We dissembled it outside and took it in in pieces....
 to spread out about in our already chaotic living room....
 Piling it on the now previous couchage....

 Waiting for the weekend when Eldest Son and Baby Girl's Hubby arrived to help with the dispersal of one and assembling of the other.....
 One review said the it took approximately 20 minutes for two reasonably intelligent people to put it together...We quickly assessed the intelligence of the house and felt comfortable with those selected.  I might add that it took closer to 30 minutes, but there was kibbutzers around so that put them off their game....
 Now, keep in mind that the room is far from the unveiling  but I could  not wait to share with you the very suitable sofa for my very new look.....
 Stayed tuned for more on the Makeover, but while you're not doing anything this weekend, you might check out the deals on Overstock.....

Tell them mama sent you......

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And a good time was had by all.......

In these frenetic days with myriads of things vying for our attention and locales defined by career opportunities, it is indeed a rare opportunity to collect all my progeny, their spouses, significant others, their babies and even their doggies under one roof.  And when we do gather it is a Big Deal.  To Us.  And we wring out all the fun we can capture while that fraction of time exists.
 The Patriarch and Matriarch enjoy just having their Big Grown Up Kids around.  They are highly entertaining and very interesting.  Purely objective opinion.  And their kiddos are truly The Most Amazing Little Girls.  Ever.  Another objective viewpoint.

 Most of our entertainment revolves around eating.....Whether its Sweet Sharon's Stir Fry Extravaganza, or
 The Big Kahuna of Meals to my kids: The All Day Simmer of Corned Beef  O'Cabbage, this year calling for four loaves of Irish Soda Bread.  This addition called for by the in ordinate carb addiction of Miss Viv, who eshewed any other form of nutrition during the meal, calling for more and more bread from her Mimi.  What a Irish Gal!  
 Then there was the well planned photo shoot by the mamas of the granddaughters.  Coordinating outfits were purchased for the Mimi requested event: Both(all three:D) grandbabies in the same square footage for several days!  The weather cooperated and all the very expert cameras were brought out for the best photos ever of two of the most adorable little girlies.  Mimi just watched took photos with her hand me down camera and absorbed the wonderfulness of the  moment.
 After going to church on Sunday, we gathered at the local Mexican Restaurant to watch in awe as Miss Viv ate nearly every bit of her quesadilla and most of the plate, we believe, since we waited for her to complete the meal for a very long time....

 Even the Doggies behaved themselves, even though they got left out of the photo shoot....
 There was the quiet time with Papa...Helping him celebrate his birthday week....
 And Nature Walks with Auntie Lovely Wife...Next year, at our March Spectacular Reunion, Miss Vivie will have to share Auntie with two more cousins
Then it was time to wind up the weekend...We missed Wonderful Man who stayed at home with a roaring case of sinusitis.....All the new thoughts on the Living Room Makeover were stated and helpers abounded.  Tummies were full and memory banks were added to.  Hugs and waves goodbye while our hearts yearned to stay this close all year.....

As they all departed to their own homes in faraway lands, I thought back to the Young Mama Days and how I never could have imagined the joy of watching these four of the most interesting people grow into such delightful grown ups; sensitive and caring, strong and moral, funny and tender....And finding mates that fit in so well....

Thank you Lord, for family....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When Irish Eyes Are Smilin'

It says on Hubby's Family Tree: 'The Shaughnessy's (his father's side) came from County Carlow, Ireland, St Mullin's Parish on the River Barrow (S.E. Ireland). Edward was a singer and laborer.'
Even though I have no 'official' family tree as detailed as Hubby's most documented roots, I know that I had a second generation Irish Grandfather on my dad's side, and an equally Irish grandfather on my mama's side.  Both Irish men married very German women.  My Irish Grandfather's were characters that helped balance my very strong willed, serious German grandmothers.
So our Irish heritage, on both sides, really looks forward to the wearin' o' the green on St. Paddy's Day.  And this is a banner year.
Our Eldest Son and Lovely Wife invited us to lunch midway between their Big City and our Teeny Town with her parents, for a most wonderful announcement.
On this beautiful St. Patrick's Day, we got to find out that another little Irish Lass
will be joining our sprouting family tree!

This little girl will add to her heritage from her mama's family, some Polish/German deep roots in addition to her Irishness, but on St. Paddy's Day, we shall claim this little colleen as our own little four leaf clover.
Grammy could not be more pleased.
Hubby is feeling his heart melt more and more toward his little girlies, especially now that Miss Viv calls for him during our visits, 'Papa!  Where are you?' and giggling when she sees him. 
Mush, I tell you.  He is mush.
And now this.  Another little girl to wrap around his heart....
As our clan gathers this weekend to celebrate a multitude of birthdays this month (Miss Viv, Unca Joco, Hubby, Lil Lady's Daddy) and now this most wonderful of news, well, you can imagine the festivities...

Thank you Lord, this most special of days when the days are greening and a new little girl is preparing to join her zany Irish family...
Congratulations Eldest Son and Lovely Wife!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of Jords

In about every birth order book, you will get some form of this: 'Third borns are naturally fun personalities.  The entertainer, the comedian, the different thinker.'
So imagine my surprise when this Third Born of three girls gave birth to a completely typical Third Born Son 26 years ago this very day.

Youngest Son was very different from my other two compliant children.  His jolliness as an infant did not prepare me for a hypersensitive, emotional, intense, rebellious toddler.  He was the one that compelled us to pray over his pillow before bedtime. He was the one that, in a sleepy state would pitch and throw any bible story book that I might have hid in a stack of ten or so bedtime books. He was the one that would bend the rules to the point of snapping.  When he was fifteen months old.   Yes.  A mere Fifteen Months, that little stinker sat in the corner for the first time.  And when he was told to stay on the tiny stool till mama said otherwise, he managed to go off in every direction with the very tip of his tiny toe hanging on the very edge of the tiny stool, agreeing to the technicality of  the literal.
Youngest Son was the one that had to do everything in his own timing.  He alone could help himself learn how to ride a bike.  He would sit astride  his bike while walking it around the block, building up the logical physics of bicycle balance and speed.  And when he had it figured out in his own brain, did he allow himself the trust to put his feet on the pedals and ride downhill.

YS is an enigma.  He is intensely intellectual yet as goofy as they come.  He is a fierce pro life liberal Democrat with Libertarian leanings.  He subscribes to the morals of the bible yet, but likes to be where the sinners are as a matter of infiltration.  Balancing things, as it were.  He is the King of Trivia, quite familiar with his sibs and parents calling him at all hours trying to remember the author of a book, quote from a movie or singer of a song.  When YS is missing from a gathering, he leaves an incredible hole.  His bear like hugs and complete love of his fam roles off of him like syrup.  YS's friends are an amazing stew of different personalities from all strata of society.  He has promised his kidney to a friend with brittle diabetes.  And if he were a match, he is quite serious about doing just that.

In short, he is an amazing  man, this now twenty six year old son of mine.  He resembles his papa and his kin, yet his left of center personality is completely me.  We spend lots of time enjoying each other's rapier wit and skewed viewpoint on this life.

A Blessing is Youngest Son and today is his day.  The Ides of March..... Memorable to this family....

Happy Birthday, Jords! LYSMICETY!

Monday, March 14, 2011


I blame the fact that I am the youngest of three girls that I love remodeling.  My Dad was a general contractor and I spent a lot of time with Dad, helping him, watching him work and in general, trying to make up for not being the boy that he had planned on.  He let me paint walls before I was even ten, so I've been painting for nigh on to fifty years now.  And I still love that a fresh coat of paint can change many things.

So I am positively giddy with the redecorating process in my little house.  I love the almost camp like feel of a house in transition.  I love that I can sit on my mantle painting the mullioned windows and giggle to myself how odd that would be in any other situation.  I love that Hubby is completely on board with this transformation.  I love that his presence that has been so distracted with many things for many years, is now refocused on the home front.  I love that he frets on how colors accent each other and about tones possibly conflicting.  I loved the day when he said, 'Let's go sofa shopping today!'  And, 'Did you order your couch from Overstock yet?'  And, 'Did you pick up the paint samples tonight?'  And, 'Shouldn't the fabric be here by now?'
 Good times.

We are now about half way through the process.  The contractor has finished in the basement and his contribution to the downstairs makeover makes me smile every time I see it. I love the new epoxied floor treatment.  I love the new moved wall, making room for a crib in the bedroom.  I love the clever way he hid the sump pump by creating a new sitting space/grandbaby nappie time area. Most Wonderful Contractor showed me that matchbox cars could zoom on the little shelf he created above the back of the bed/couch.  He said the bed area would also make a great Lego table or train mat surface.  Yeah.  We are kindred spirits of the carpentry kind. Now the fun finishing touches are underway downstairs and not a minute too soon as Baby Girl, Lil Lady and The Best Daddy Ever arrive this week.  They shall roost in their own little area downstairs while they Spring Break with us.

And upstairs, the painting continues.  Sanding, cleaning, priming, painting....three coats on the walls.  Kindred Spirit Friend tells me that it's always at least two; better for three.  And I agree.  A bit fun having so many windows and doorways and a staircase, but I don't mind.  I'm on my fourth audio book so I'm good with monotonous yet fresh.  Kinda like the process.

Haven't gotten the shipping email on the couch, but am working like it's coming tomorrow.  Hubby hung the new curtain rod and the new curtains are still circling in my brain.  Fabric's on the cutting table; the curtains and the throw pillows.  And it makes me happy....
Ah.  The freshness of Spring.  The renewal of the Spirit within.  The hope for the future.  The thankful love of The Loving Father.
It is good......

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mimi Visits the Sickies

On my calendar for this week, was the very clear entry, " Go to Cincinnati for Vivien's Birthday!!"  Hubby had arranged to take the day off and Miss Dixie was taken care of.  Some secret birthday projects were on the sewing table, not quite completed and the card was purchased. 
But then.
Oh, but then.
The Flu Season Hit Upon E/A's Home.
Miss Viv has had a rough winter.
Colds and viruses have jumped on her tenaciously and have refused to let her go.
Her mama has infused her little being with probiotics and good nutrition but dang the germs of the world. They will not let her go.
And to add insult to injury, they decided to hop onto her mama as well.  E/A, not the stoutest of constitution ever since the Grand Hip Replacement Event of '06, usually falls hard to most bronchial germs and this time was no different.
So when Mimi receives The Call, she leaves behind the chaos of her nearly painted living room, to the sick rooms of Cincinnati.  Well, one of them anyway.
Imagine my dismay to have to elongate my visit by three days.
Oh the despair of getting to spend more time with Little Miss Viv when the last visit was when the New Year was only a day old.  Oh my yes.  BIG Sacrifice.  Hah.
With my best Mary Poppins imitation, I have helped nurture E/A back to a semblance of health while entertaining the Birthday Girl as only Mimi can...
We have made bread with the help of a cherry tomato or two and some very helpful measuring tools.  Mimi has even received some very helpful Knitting Tutoring from the facilitator of the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center's Chix with Stix(www.theplaceforfamilies.com), aka: E/A for my very problematic Knitting Attempt. We have disinfected and cleaned surfaces to discourage the propagation of any other germs that are perhaps considering moving in for the Spring.
She let me know which sponge and rag I could use while she followed me on the floor, scooting her diaper heavy bottom on the hardwood floor.
We have read all the Birthday books that the Mason Public Library could provide.  And now, we wait as the antibiotically protected mama is out gathering ingredients for the Best Birthday Cake ever.  After all, Cousin Lil Lady is scheduled to arrive this weekend for her first visit with her Birthday Cousin and we really need a carrot cake ready to celebrate!
Less anyone ever forget that March 9th is her birthday, Mimi made for her first birthday, a very growable Birthday Crown for her to celebrate each and every year in fine style.  I completely expect to see her wear it every year.  It was made with growth designed right in with adjustable Velcro......

Yes, I believe that if Miss Viv needs Mimi, birthday or not, I shall try to be there....

Grandparenting; the crown of the aged.....

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quick and Easy Chicken Stir Fry for People That Would Rather Be Painting, Sewing etc.....

This has got to be quick.
I have just completely packed up my living room and I have paint I have to take back to be reformulated.
I have wallpaper to peel off my staircase and I have furniture to paint.
And I have three online Scrabble games that I'm losing at, to tend to. (Wanna take me on? Facebook Scrabble!)

This batch of Chicken Stir Fry turned out to be the best ever.
And I knew that I needed to share it with you because you're busy too.

Let us just call this:


 Quick!  Make Stir Fry to Save Time Chicken!

(Do you have a wok?  You should.  But if not a stout pot will suffice)

1.5 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in pieces (I use my handy chef scissors; quicker!)
1 large onion, cut in chunky pieces (hurry, hurry!)
3 carrots cut in chunks
1 bag of frozen stir fry veggies (mine had mushrooms, peppers, rice, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp dried red pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
Rice to serve on

(While your chicken is browning, get your rice started...I used long grain white so as not to cloud the other flavors)

Heat the olive oil.  Add your chicken pieces and turn while it turns white and a bit brown.
Add chunked onions, carrots and garlic and continue stir frying till onions are clear.
Add frozen veggies and stir fry some more...
While that is cooking together, add the water, soy sauce and cornstarch.  Stir well.
Add to chicken combination.
Add pepper and ginger.
Stir some more till blended well.

Is the rice ready?
Then dish it up, serve and eat slowly to savor the flavors mingly...
Congratulate yourself on a quick, delicious and pretty healthy meal.

Then, get on to what you like doing best!

Gotta Go!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Auction Antics!

One of the profound  joys of Second Shift for Hubby and me, is the ability to go to Wednesday Auctions together.  All it takes is Hubby reading the Sunday Auction ads in the classifieds, to get our plans in action.
 He knows what draws my attention and he will accentuate those things as he reads the ad to me.  As if
.  As if I needed any more convincing.  We make the date, my collecting wheels go into motion.
 We've gone to many auctions together and our interests and needs have changed throughout the years.  We can easily pass on the things that tripped our triggers Back in the Day.  We smile when young couples score some great antiques at some mystifying price.  We know that the furniture deals are for the youngers that need to carry on the history and art of old furniture before Ikea takes over completely.
 But we enjoy gathering now for not just us, but for our Grown Up Kids, whether they want it or not.  We want to either have some nifty pieces for them or for selling them at a goodly price when we arrive at our heavenly home.
 In the meantime, we have much fun gathering little pieces of fun, being content in our new ability to be terribly selective.
 How about this sweet little passel of side tables?  Most of them found nice homes for a goodly sum, but the nice little scalloped number really had to come home with me.  It's primitively made charms spoke to me, telling me, 'Paint me white for the new Living Room Makeover!  I will obediently hold your stained glass lamp or any book or candle that you want me to!'  No one seemed interested in it except me.  Of course.  For a mere 10.00, it was mine.
 For this auction event, I stayed away from the sewing supplies, fabric and linens. Hubby had to notice that I was not elbowing other ladies at the mysterious boxes of the crafter of another decade. I did spend a  bit of time watching the choice boxes of intrigue selling so near me. But after working on the reduction of inventory in my basement and sewing area, my rational brain kicked in and yelled: 'Are you crazy!!?'  Again, I acquiesced for another sewist to gather and collect.  Today was not my day for those things.  I can share.
 Well, except for a quilt....At 25.00, I did have to rescue the second one from the front....Another lady bought  most of them for 40.00 each.  You can insert a 'What?' here....
 Cute little table, right?
 Very tempted ....Alas, the concrete goose was VERY heavy and the thought of Hubby carrying such a thing with his bad back to our truck parked  wayyyyy far away, was just too cruel....He would have tried, I bet...
 Did I mention that this 10.00 table came home with me? :D  See his new friend, Sweet Little White Folding Chair?  Yeah, they are happy to be home with me and my new living room plans...
 Well!  This Airstream Classic was a real deal....Oh my!  I could read the coveting thoughts of all the grey hairs in proliferation at the sale....It was palpable...Including the wanderlust Hubby in my company..Sigh...
And what would a good auction time be without good ol auction food?  Ham and beans and cornbread with tea, just like a good old Southern Indiana lady that I have become...

Wednesday Auctions....Gotta love it....

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