Thursday, February 27, 2014

Random 5 Friday

I decided I needed a bit of spring after all the snow and cold we've had this month, hence the new blog header and background paper. It's kind of girly but I'm a girl, so I'm going with it ;)

Mr Smith aka Smitty, at 9 months old
1. Smitty has some strange coloring to go with his gorgeous green tail feathers and looks nothing like he did as a chick except he is still the largest of all 26 chickens we bought last year. His favorite place to be is just beneath the bird feeder. Pretty smart, huh?

2. I saw Daffodils blooming at a neighbor's house this week, and shoots of them at my MIL's. Spring really is coming!

3. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster is a charming and hilarious book. 

4. My not so annual eye exam was this week and I will be sporting new specs next week. 

5. Warm, cold, warm, cold = sick. Need I say more?

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Random 5 Friday

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Art of Embroidery

In our family, my mother-in-law is known for her expertise in needlework. 
From sewing to quilting to embroidery, her art is superlative. 

 (Clicking on photos will enlarge them so you can see even more detail.)
Here she is adding finishing touches of grass to an embroidered *barn. 
Y'all know I ♥ barns, right? 

And she has incorporated a Cardinal in the design, too. 
Oh, I love birds!

I love how authentic the Pine Tree looks.

When she is finished, there will be four designs and she will quilt them 
together to form the wall hanging. Isn't this awesome?! The first square is finished. 
It's so much more dramatic in person. I can't wait to see all four pieces put together.

 Did you know the earliest surviving embroideries are Scythian and date back to the 5th-3rd centuries BCE? There's a form of embroidery called Blackwork, where they only use black thread to make the designs and twist it in a certain way to give it dimension. I'm not sure what technique my MIL used on the barn but it seems awfully close to Blackwork. 

And look at this finished wall hanging...

Isn't it phenomenal?!

It's an ancient art form of Embroidery called Thread Painting or Needle Painting.

And the detail is absolutely stunning.

Can you tell that my mother-in-law's reputation is well deserved? 
But being the humble woman that she is, she'll be the first to tell you that it is a gift from the Lord. 

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When I started writing this post I was only intent on sharing how much I admire and love my MIL's ability with a needle. I was going to attach a Scripture verse here but I have to say that after knowing her for 33 years, she is truly the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman. She is an awesomely dedicated wife, mom, MIL, grandmother and great grandmother who aptly fits the description. She has always put the welfare of her family first. Her faith in the Lord and love for hearth and home is what is to be admired. Her handiwork with a needle second. She may or may not read this post but I want to say Thanks, Mom. I love you. 

Have a blessed day in the Lord, my friends!

*The barn pattern is by Beth B Dix/ Primrose Lane, Black Mountain, NC. 

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The Chicken Chick

Friday, February 21, 2014

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

All the earmarks of a modern day fairy tale are encased in this wonderfully sweet story. I was mesmerized from the first chapter and had trouble taking a break to catch some sleep. It was a page turner for me that I didn't want to end. The writing is superb with a perfect blend of voices that carried me away to a faraway land of beauty and happily ever afters.   

I wasn't required to write a review at all but I couldn't help sharing a little of my enthusiasm about this story. I checked out a copy from my local library so I'm hoping they purchase the rest of the books in the series when they come out. Not one to read too many contemporary books unless they are thrillers, Rachel Hauck has completely changed my mind. I will be waiting in anticipation for her next books.

  Do you have a favorite fairy tale?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Copycat, you say?

Often times I hear several different bird sounds coming from the same location along with lots of rustling and flitting about. The culprit is this well camouflaged Northern Mockingbird. He is quite the twitter and tweeter, having the ability to make as many as 10 to 15 different sounds. While he may not be colorful, he is entertaining to watch. He's also fast and difficult to catch out on the limb. As soon as he spots another bird coming in, he chases them away. Even though he prefers insects, his chunky belly tells me he is getting plenty to eat from the feeder.

What birds have you seen recently?

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Rurality Blog Hop #51

Friday, February 14, 2014

Random 5 Friday {Snow}

Happy Valentine's Day!
“Anne came dancing home in the purple winter twilight across the snowy places.” 
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I didn't exactly dance across the snow yesterday but I did get out and take a few pictures early in the morning. That's when it is the quietest. The silence is beautiful, as is the scenery. 

1. With nearly 6 inches on the ground, the chickens didn't want to venture out into the run for pictures so I was destined to only get the beauty of the snow clinging to the chicken wire. 

2. The first decent snowfall in 3 years entices my husband outside to make a snowman. Once my son joined him, it turned into a Snow Ork with a weapon and earbuds. The scarf is one I have had since the early 1970s. Obviously, it only comes out for this purpose.

3. The tree line was so beautiful. They look like they were dipped in ice. It only lasted the day and then the sun came out and in an instant it disappeared from the branches.

4. The cardinal that lives in the fig bush was delighted I filled the feeder for him. He flitted around all day, eating his fill. He makes such a pretty pop of color. 

5. I made sure the hummingbird feeder was empty before the storm hit because I figured it would freeze and crack it. Isn't it lovely, though? So frosty looking. 

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Random 5 Friday

Could I ask a favor? If any of you collect china or tea cups, would you mind popping over to my post Friends and Tea Cups and let me know if you recognize the pattern on the tea cup? My friend gave it to me and we don't know the name of the manufacturer or pattern. If you do recognize it, please leave me a comment on the post and let me know. Thanks!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Friends and Tea Cups

The only way to have friends is to be one. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The great thing about having a long time friend is discovering something new after knowing each other for almost 15 years. My friend Pat and I did just that this week.While I was over at her home for some crafty play time, I was admiring a set of lovely tea cups in one of several cabinets that adorn her dining room. She was telling me a little of the history of the cups and I mentioned that I collect tea cups and have been in involved in a couple of tea cup exchanges online. Well, she immediately took this gorgeous cup out of the cabinet and presented it to me. I told her I couldn't possibly take the cup but she insisted. My heart was, and still is, overwhelmed with her generosity.  You see, this tea cup and saucer are part of a set that belonged to her husband's grandmother and was made in Occupied Japan (1945-1952) after WWII. 

Any advice on how to go about identifying it? Does anyone recognize it? 

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And now that I have shared my love of collecting tea cups with Pat, and my excitement about the upcoming tea cup exchange being hosted by Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose, I think she is going to sign up to participate in the exchange!

If you're interested, just click on the graphic and it will take you straight to Stephanie's where you can read about how to participate, too. It's a great way to meet new people and make new friends. And this time it is open internationally!

Please Join The Fun - Click on the picture for more details.

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Tea Cup Tuesday

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review of Beowulf: Explosives Detection Dog (A Breed Apart #3) by Ronie Kendig

About the Book

Former Navy handler Timbrel Hogan has more attitude than her Explosives Detection Dog, Beowulf, but she’s a tough woman who gets the job done. Green Beret Tony “Candyman” VanAllen likes a challenge and convincing the hard-hitting handler they belong together might just get him killed.

When tragedy strikes and Tony’s career is jeopardized, Timbrel must re-evaluate her priorities—and fast! A terrorist plots to unleash a weapon of mass destruction on American soil. Can Timbrel and Beowulf track the chemicals in time? Will Tony surrender everything to save the woman nobody believes in?

My Review

Beowulf resounds with quintessential Kendig.  Packed with deep characterization, rich descriptions, and her trademark rapid-fire dialogue, once you start reading you won’t be able to stop.

This military romantic suspense story is filled with delightful scenes between Tony ‘Candyman’ VanAllen and Timbrel Hogan. She wasn’t one of my favorite characters in the first two books of this series but I can honestly say that by the time I finished Beowulf, she endeared herself to me.  And of course Beowulf,  a huge Mastiff that never leaves her side, absolutely steals the show at times.

The romance is subtle between the two and yet sizzles at the same time. But how is Tony going to convince Timbrel that he is serious about her with that hulk of a dog around?  Let me tell you, Tony is one determined man and nothing, not even a brute of a dog, is going to stop him.

Whether you are snowed in or lounging on a beach, I can highly recommend this book along with the first two if you haven’t already read them. You’ll be hooked on Kendig.

I appreciate the author and publisher sending me a copy for review purposes. No other compensation was received.


Have you read any of Ronie's books? If so, which is your favorite?

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Romans 5:8 
...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Philippians 2:1,2  
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

John 3:16  
For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him 
should not perish but have eternal life.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

CameraShy Take52 Challenge

Besides being in the Journal52 Art Journaling challenge, I am also participating in the CameraShy Take52 Photography Challenge for the second year in a row. Since I can't get out a whole lot to take photos, my opportunities are limited, but that calls for a bit of creativity...right up my alley!

Week 1: Revitalize - I usually try to do something different than the obvious but I think this one was an epic fail. I was shooting (haha pun intended) for the fact that this lone plant needed some sunshine to 'Revitalize' it, just as I do. A dreary winter makes for long days and need revitalization. Not sure that was communicated properly in this photo.

Week 2: Routine -  Yes, you've seen this photo before in a tea post a couple weeks ago but I used it in the challenge because having a nice cuppa is part of my daily 'Routine'.

Week 3: Crisp - I racked my brains for this one and almost skipped it. But as usual, I awoke one night with this idea in my head. My son dug out our old Scrabble game and this was the final one I chose for 'Crisp'. Quite clever of me, huh?

Week 4: Creamy - Um. This is sort of part of my daily routine, too. A nice hot cup of cocoa with 'Creamy' whipped topping. Yum! Only the topping started melting so fast I wasn't able to catch it while it was a nice swirly high mound of creaminess. It was so tasty but definitely not original :) 

Week 5: Eyes - Another one where I didn't want to choose the obvious. Not that I don't have plenty of gorgeous eyes to photograph because I do. I'm surrounded with a husband, children and grandchildren who all have stunning eyes! There are icy blues rimmed in black, deep greys that look like churning waters, and rich velvety chocolate browns just begging to be photographed. Okay, not begging. That would be why I had to find something else. After traipsing around the house for something creative to use, I came across this fantastic incense holder that belongs to my oldest son. Dragons, or shall I say DRA - GONS! This was perfect for my zany brain. I would have liked a different background but it was frigid outside so I went with what I had.

Normally, I would have shared my Journal52 page but the truth is, I haven't made it yet! I am really having trouble figuring this one out. The prompt is Character, and I have several ideas just not sure how to implement any of them. I will come up with something eventually,but in the mean time, I am nursing a sick college boy this week. Please pray that he gets over this quickly and that it is not contagious!

I decided to make a new blog header that reflected how much I am needing something spring-like right now. With a couple of days of sunshine and temps warm enough to open the windows, I have spring fever! 

How's the weather where you are? Are you snowed in or feeling balmy breezes?

Have a blessed day in the Lord!