Saturday, July 30, 2011

I hate to waste a good batch of grunge & Sunflower Tutorial

I did a quick post this morning to show what I've been working on. I had to hurry so that I would be ready for a motorcycle ride with my husband.  I got ready on time.  I even put on something other than a t-shirt.   My husband walked through the door and said, "You look great, but you might want to change your clothes.  There's been a change of plans."  Shocking.  That is the story of my summer thus far.  But seriously how many women have a change in plans that involves going to a pond that is being drained to rescue fish?  Lots of fish.  Hundreds of fish.  Anyone?  How about two days in a row?  Nobody?  Hmmm...
Well, along with the obvious upside of spending time with my husband, this activity kicked him in the pants and he is now asleep.  I have never tried to type so quietly...  He REALLY needs some rest.

When I did my projects yesterday I had stirred up a batch of grunging mix.  This is my procedure for that:
1.  Boil 2 cups of water in the microwave.
2.  Stir in two heaping TBS of instant coffee, or maybe three - it depends on my mood or attention span.
3.  Notice that I HATE the smell of generic instant coffee.  (I don't do this often so this step is always a surprise.)
4.  Add vanilla - just open the bottle and dump some in.  I never measure this.  ( I buy cheap vanilla for this.)
5.  Add a couple heaping teaspoons or so of cinnamon.  Again with the not measuring.
6.  Add nutmeg, pie spice, ground cloves, or whatever smells good and is in my little container of ingredients.
7.  Stir well and let sit for a few minutes.  It turns gooey.

For the grunging I did yesterday, I dipped the flowers in and then squished as much of the liquid out as I could get.  Messy, but it smells great!  I baked my sunflowers in the oven yesterday at about 200-250.  Okay I started at 200 and then got impatient.  That's when I burned the edges of one of the sunflowers.  I decided it looked more primitive.  I tell myself that a lot...

Today I used a foam brush for my grunging.  I started with some hang tags.  I usually just dip them in a coffee and vanilla mixture, but I had leftover grunging stuff from yesterday so I thought "What the heck.  It'll smell good."   Have I mentioned that I am currently unsupervised?
I also grunged the pumpkin from yesterday that I did not like the staining on.  Jury is still out on that move.  (But it'll smell good!)
There was still a good bit of mixture left, so I decided that I would try to make some small sunflowers.  That's where the tutorial comes in.  I did not invent prim sunflowers.  I am just sharing the tutorial for how I am making them.  I know Denise over at the Krazy Kraft Lady has a tutorial on her blog, too, and that's where I first saw the prim sunflowers, I think.   I even ordered some mini ones from her last year. :)

Floppy Primitive Sunflowers:
Here are the materials I used.  Click on the picture to get a better look:
I used the scraps from my old bedspread and some plain yellow cotton fabric from my Mom's stash.  Yes, she knows I took it.:

Step 1:  Cut circles from the center fabric and from the fabric you are using for petals  The sizes I used are in the photo above.  Click it for a better look at that information along the right hand side.
I am still experimenting with how many layers I want to use for this.  Some of the ones I did yesterday had 4-5 layers.  Today for the smaller sunflowers I used 3 layers on one and 2 layers on the other.  I will show both once they are finished drying in the sun..
Step 2:  Pin the center circle on the petal circles and cut from the edge to the center going around the whole circle.  I did not measure.  I just "eye-balled" it.  My success with this varies, but if I goof, I just think, "Hey that will look more primitive."  I think  a pattern is emerging with my thought process for crafting...

Step 3:  Clip the ends of the flowers so they are pointy.  Still with the lack of measuring and precision. 

Step 4: Unpin the center from the petals.  Lift the layers of the sunflower and turn each layer a little bit so they are staggered.  I think this make the flower look fuller.  If you look at the picture of the large sunflowers in my previous post you'll see that I didn't think of the staggering bit until the third sunflower. 

Step 5:  Pin the center back onto the petals.  Try to center it.  My example is not a good example of the centering.  (But, hey, maybe it'll look more primitive!)  Sew the center to the petals using strong thread.  I used small string because that was leftover in my needle from doing pumpkins yesterday..  (Yes, I am serious.)  When you have just a small ways to go (less than a quarter of  the way) stuff the center so it stands up a bit.

I forgot to take a picture of the back before I started grunging.  

 Step 6: Grunge your sunflower.  You can dip the whole things right into the mix and swish it around, or I have found that painting the stuff on with a foam brush works great, too.  Definitley less messy than the dipping and squeezing out the excess which for me is the equivalent of a full contact sport such as mud pie throwing.  I tend to be a little messy.... :O

This is what they look like now.  I have them outside drying in the sun.  Once they are almost dry, I will peel the petals apart and they will be a bit fluffier after they dry a bit more.

It has taken me far longer to write this post than it did for me to make the two little sunflowers.  I think if you got a little assembly line going, you could "grow" a bouquet in a fairly short time.

Here's another peek at the larger version made with a 4 inch center and 9 inch petals.  I dipped these in the grunge mix and squeezed out the excess.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Make sure you do at least one thing you really love to do.  Even 15 minutes of doing what you love can make a brain feel refreshed!

What I worked on yesterday...

I feel like a high school kid who has just snuck out of class to go play hookey or something.  My husband is off on his weekly trip to the dump with my Dad, and if he comes home and finds me blogging it will not be pretty.   ('m supposed to be getting ready to go for a motorcycle ride with him.)

So I'm going to post pictures of what I did yesterday and be back tomorrow with more details.  I made 3 more pumpkins - one that I stained (unsuccessfully in my opinion).  I tried to create a little fall make-do which I am still pondering about so if you have suggestions they are more than welcome.  And I also created 3 grungy sunflowers.  They look a little wilty, but I have some ideas to try for the next round.  I kind of like them floppy to tell the truth.
I LOVE the candles and holders I found at my favorite shop - Stonewall Craftique!
 I am so lucky that it's only 20 minutes or so from my house - and on the way to work.  :D
The candles are on a timer so they come on at the same time every day and turn off 5 hours later.
Batteries last lots longer because I don't have to remember to twist the candle off at night - which I rarely remember to do.
Best part is they were cheaper than some of the non-timer candles I've seen.
These were only $5.95
I think I will grunge this one up because I really don't like how the staining turned out!

The one on the far right is my first one.  I love the taller one.  I used a different fabric for the  second from the right.
It's called Castle, I think.  I have had it for a long time.

Too grungy?  Not sure, but they smell WONDERFUL!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Project Finished Today!

I will have to share more later, but I wanted to do show and tell for one of the things I did today.  I used the awesome Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial shared by Lynne over at A Simpler Time.   I had an old bedspread I got at an estate sale quite a while ago that I wanted to use for snowmen at first, but then I thought of this.  I really love how it turned out!  I am considering whether or not I want tea/coffe stain it or not.  What do you think?

  Gotta run for now, but will be back with more tomorrow!
I am working on some Fall patterns that I plan to share - hopefully by the start of next week.  I saw this little story and thought others might like it, too.  Be back before the end of the day with one of my projects!

An old Cherokee told his grandson, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, & truth." The boy thought about it, and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?" The old man quietly replied, "The one you feed."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A couple of cleaning tips

Let me start by saying I am no cleaning guru.  Not. Even. Close.  But I do like to find ways to make cleaning more efficient and easier.  Here are two tips - the first is a product that I have used with great results and the second is a little trick I discovered, but don't remember where I got the idea.

Whink Rust and Stain Remover is the best stain removing product I have ever used for laundry.  I use this all the time and on a variety of fabrics.  Last summer I was headed to a workshop and I stopped for coffee on the way.  Okay, it was really a combination of coffee and a little hot chocolate because I don't drink grown-up coffee. Ever.  Anyway, after I paid for the coffee I reached to pick it up from the counter and bumped it and it spilled. Down the front of my WHITE pants.  And yes, I had purchased a large serving size.  So attractive.  We won't discuss my need for therapy as a result of having to go to my workshop with those pants on.  That's another post.  Or possibly even another blog entirely.
When I got home, I used Whink on my white pants and in one washing they were as good as new!
I have also used it on shirts that have those embarrassing stains under the arms.  Works like a charm!

My second tip involves the dreaded topic of dusting.  I really don't enjoy this task, and I think that's mostly because as soon as you get the job done, it's time to do it over again.  This might be why I don't dust as often as I should... or maybe I can always find something better to do...  I am also  a little over the top about doing this job.  I can't stand it if there is dust left in the corner of something, or trapped between two parts of something.  You get the idea.  Well, I bought a paintbrush for just that job.  It's amazing how well it works for things like getting into the corners of the windowsill, or into the nooks and crannies of the keyboard, or into the wire wings of my angels.  I spray a little pledge on the ends of the paintbrush, and work it into those nooks and crannies and voila!  Dusting accomplished.  Til the next day anyway.

Frankly, I hope your day involves absolutely no cleaning, laundry, or dusting of any sort.  But if it does, may it be quick and painless. :)  Have a great day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Giveaway Wins!

I won two giveaways in one week recently!  I could not believe it when I won the first one, then I felt downright guilty when I won the second one.
My first win was with Samantha over at Samantha's Accessories.  Samantha is doing a Christmas in July event on her blog.  She has had posts almost every day in July that feature her Christmas patterns, tutorials and general fun.  I have been amazed by her generosity as many of her patterns are being offered for free download.  Samantha also sells patterns - she is so creative and her patterns are really fun!  Please go check out her blog.
Here are the wonderful snowman ornies that I won:

I just love them!! They are just so prim perfect - and they smell so wonderful! 
I am going to leave them up for a while - maybe they will help me cool off. :)

My second win last week was with Cheryl over at Country Quilts.  This is book #2 for Cheryl to get published.  It looks so amazing!  Cheryl was giving away an autographed copy.  When I signed up for her giveaway my thought was "I am so going to buy that at Material Rewards (my favorite quilt shop) when I see it there."  I don't really expect to win the giveaways.  I'm one of those weirdos who thinks it's fun just to enter sometimes.  Last week showed me that it's awesome fun to win, too!

So, big thank yous to Samantha and Cheryl for hosting giveaways!  I hope everyone will head over and check out Samantha's and Cheryl's blogs today. :)

I am headed off to get ready to go play.  My favorite quilt shop is hosting a Christmas in July event today and I decided that this is a great way to beat the heat!  I hope you are all staying cool where you are - please be sure to drink plenty of water. It's easy to get dehydrated in this weather!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A quick tip

I have a pretty busy day today, but I wanted to tell this quick tip before I forget to do so.  I tend to have a candle going frequently, so I end up with a lot of end of the jar candles to deal with.  Well, I had several of those accumulated (I don't know about you, but I hate cleaning the last of the candle out of the jar), and my husband got into the act.  He dug out an old glass pitcher and started throwing the candle remnants into it.  Then he put the pitcher under my kitchen sink for storage.  And voila!  The world's best air freshener for under the sink was born!  It is amazing how much it helps to tame any smells from the garbage!  I know this may not be earth shattering news, but since I just added some more to the pitcher and it is actually quite full now, I thought I'd share.
Have a great day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting Organized and Shopping in my own antique store...

I wrote in my last post about my need to get organized.  Well, I have been working away at it, and I am really enjoying it - yes, I said enjoying it!
I started with my kitchen counter which looked like this:

I have to admit that this isn't that bad compared to what it was a week ago - I had already worked on it quite a bit.  But I never seem to completely tame the mess - until now!  My counter is my dropping spot, and it's driving me crazy because it looks so messy!  So I decided to make that my priority on Friday.  I used several of the tips I found in the GO organize! book I wrote about in my last post.  
Well once I had manageable piles, I needed a way to contain them.  So I went shopping - in my own antique store. :)  At least that's what my husband called it when he created it one day while I was at work.  You see, this past Spring I dragged him to a couple of antique shops, and he started noticing that I already had a few items not in use at home.  So he made me my own antique shop - in our basement.  Think dark, dirt floor, low ceiling, a bit spooky - I think you get the picture.  Well, I have to admit that he did me a huge favor!  He got all my things organized for me and in one spot.  (At least the ones he knows about.)  Here are a few pictures of my antique shop:

What's that?  I should have warned you that it's not pretty?  Ooh, sorry about that!

 I knew there had to be something down there that I could use to help me tame the paper piles.  There was!
I decided to use this old tool carrier.  I had no idea where it came from, but I thought it might have belonged to Mark's grandfather.  But Mark came clean when he got home and saw it on the counter.  "You know I made that, right?"  What?  It's not an antique?  It can't be an antique because he is younger than me, and I am certainly not vintage - yet.
Here's a shot of the counter now.  Please forgive the 3 watermelons.  I was in charge of cutting up the fruit for a graduation party on Saturday - and yes, I didn't even think of moving them for the picture - nor any other random item you might spy.  

I used two old bed-springs to help me "file" the papers in the toolbox:

 I am not positive that I will continue to use the tool carrier, partly because I keep picturing it full of leaves, pumpkins, and other festive fall items.  But I know that I at least have a workable system for now.  I just need to make taming the paper a daily habit rather than monthly or - gasp - bi-monthly.

One of my next areas to work on is the laundry room.  I posted some lovely pictures of my laundry room a while ago - here.  At that time, the counter was relatively clutter-free.  Here it is today:

Yup - another catch-all spot.  Out of control, unsightly, annoying - you get the idea.  I think I am ready to tackle this today.  
Here is a close-up of one of the issues to be dealt with on that counter - warning it's not pretty!  We have been calling it "the carnage":

They were all on the windowsill when a wind storm blew in and they were knocked to the ground behind the washer.  I think they have been headless long enough...

Hope you all have a great day!  Stay cool!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why isn't the phone ringing?

My sister, Libby, and I have a little joke that whenever I am going to do a cleaning job that I don't particularly enjoy - like mopping the kitchen floor - she calls.  Then I say, ""Oh thank goodness you called!  I was just about to mop the kitchen floor!"  (or clean the bathroom, or clean the garage or - well you get the idea...)  This has actually happened many, many times.
But alas, today I am about to do that horrible deed and no phone call.  Poop.

I do want to take a quick minute (What? Procrastinating?  Me? Well, maybe.) to tell you about a great new book I just got yesterday.  It's called GO organize!, and the author is Marilyn Bohn.  Marilyn is an organization expert and she has a great website and blog for you to visit:
Here's the book:

Go Organize: Conquer Clutter in 3 Simple Steps

I found mine on Amazon, but Marilyn is going to be selling them from her website soon.  I read the first two chapters last night and I was hooked!  Marilyn has such a makes sense approach to decluttering and organizing your home.  I have already started using the system she has outlined so beautifully in her book, and I am finding it very focused and motivating.  She has great tips like setting a timer and working for a set amount of time instead of working until you hate the job.

There is a neat story about how I found out about this book.  Marilyn and I both signed up for Amy's Great Pumpkin swap over at Bumble Bee Lane, and we are partners!  I told Marilyn in our first email exchange that I found it pretty ironic that I would be partnered with an organization expert for this swap (or any swap).  And maybe even fate.  :)  When I received Marilyn's email and first went to check out her website, I could easily see the MOUND of things I brought home from the end of the school year still stacked next to and on the kitchen table.  I think it might have been classified as borderline horrifying to someone who has an aversion to clutter.  And no I didn't take pictures of that!
This is another side to participating in swaps - you might just meet a person you really needed to know!

I must run now, but I will try to be brave enough to come back with some before and after pictures of my organizing.  But first, the kitchen floor and I must do battle!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Makes My Heart Skip a Beat?

Marie over at Primitives by Olde Lady Morgan is having a giveaway and she has added a way for getting a second chance at winning.  All you have to do is write a post about what makes your heart skip a beat.  When I read her post I thought well that's easy - my family.  But then I decided to think on it for a couple of days and I've discovered that there are lots of things that make my heart skip a beat.  Here are a few:

My husband (Mark) of nearly 21 years
most definitely makes my heart skip a beat.
I am one of the luckiest of wives.
He cares and he says so - both in words and actions.  

My son, Clinton, makes my heart skip a beat.

Pretzel m&m's make my heart skip a beat.
I am addicted to these babies!  I kind of wish I had never tried them  because
I  have no self-control about how much is a serving.  (Hint: not a half pound.)

Mark has recently been taking lessons so he can get endorsed for  flying  bi-wing airplanes.
This makes my heart skip a beat for two reasons - first I am a little nervous, but mostly
because I am so happy to see him doing something he loves so much.

Rangeley, Maine makes my heart skip a beat.
I've been there to kayak, quilt, hike and relax.  It is a slice of heaven.

Spending time in the woods and hiking with my family makes my heart skip a beat.
I love the peace I can feel when we do this simple thing.
My parents make my heart skip a beat.  (Sorry about no photo for this one - my mother would kill me if I put a picture of her on my blog.  And I know you just laughed out loud, Libby.)  My parents are tough cookies.  They have raised seven kids, helped with the raising of lots of grandchildren, and have battled several serious health problems in the midst of it all.  I am so proud of them for their independent spirit and so thankful for the moral support they always give.

My Mom's cookie dough makes my heart skip a beat.
I hope she reads this and makes cookies today. :)

I have really enjoyed this fun thing that Olde Lady Morgan has us doing.  I have loved reading the things that other people are writing about that makes their heart skip a beat.   I love when other people find their joy.  I love knowing when people have something to  be grateful for or proud of.  I think that's a big reason why I have enjoyed blogging so much.  I enjoy reading those celebrations that others have going in their lives. I love reading or hearing about successes.  I love reading or hearing about the way people's faith gets them through tough times.  I love knowing that there are people who will lift others up when they need it.  Realizing that there is a lot of good in this world makes my heart skip a beat.  
I wonder if OLM knows that she has kind of given all of us a win here with this little activity?!  If you go to the giveaway post you can find other people who are participating by looking at the comments.  I'm telling you, it's a real pick-me-up to read about what makes a heart skip a beat!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Strawberry Recipes Anyone?

I have two strawberry related recipes to share in case anyone else loves those luscious red berries, too.
On Friday, while I was in "stand-by" status for roofing at the house, I decided to make a strawberry pie for my husband.  This is his absolute favorite kinda pie.  I figured he could use a little comfort food.  The recipe is from his Grandma Rae - one of the kindest, sweetest people I've ever met.  I like to think that this might be where my husband gets a large part of his personality. : )
Now I realize the picture isn't great.  I had a couple of hitches while making the pie.  First of all, I am ashamed to admit I haven't made a pie in more than a year at least.  It might even be two...  So pie crust was going to be a challenge to say the least.  I didn't want to go out to the store for the pre-made pie crust, but I will confess that I've used those life-savers before.   Secondly, in the middle of the process (picture bottom crust in the pie plate and eyeing up top crust preparing to do battle) when my husband called and needed me to run a "quick" errand.  So I left it all laying on the kitchen counter and went on my merry way - for over an hour.  My friend Audrey told me that I should have stashed it in the fridge first, but alas, I didn't.  I realize my crust will not be a blue ribbon contender at any county fair in the near future.  It tastes pretty good, though!  I sprinkled it with strawberry juice and red sugar to disguise how not so great it really looked.  Not sure that was the best move, but it didn't hurt it I guess.

Here's the really-quite-simple-yet-oh-so-tasty-recipe:

2 cups flour
1tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 TBSP. water

Stravberry Filling - just mix the following together - no cooking required:
1 pkg strawberries - I would call this about a quart of mashed berries.  (2-3 cups)
2/3 cups sugar
2 TBSP. tapioca

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

My second recipe is something I invented last night for our dinner.  We had a long hot ride on the motorcycle and neither of us was interested in anything hot for dinner.  I remember that I had made a batch of Lemon Slush mix from Tastefully Simple LAST SUMMER.  It was definitely time to use it.  You can make this slush with alcohol or without.  It was definitely tasty without!
Well, I scooped some of the slush into the blender, then dumped in some of my leftover crushed strawberries and blended away.  I would say that I had a 2/3 slush to 1/3 strawberry ratio.  It made a VERY refreshing summertime drink!!  I highly recommend the mason jar drinking glasses and bendy straws, too. : )

The perfect complement to our simple dinner of cheese, ham and crackers.  
Aaahh summer Sunday evenings. : )

Hope everyone is having a good start to their week.  It's supposed to get HOT here today so I was given another day off.  The real carpenters are thinking about making it a short work day!!  Hurray!  Maybe we will get to go for a little ride in our jeep! We like going on the back roads and pretend that we are driving through Maine.  It's a kind of mini-vacation for the brain. :D

Friday, July 8, 2011

This can not be summer vacation...

In spite of some truly gorgeous summer days, summer vacation has not started out to be restful and lazy like I had sort of hoped (at least for a day or so). So far there have been two funerals, and working with my husband.
Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE working with my husband most any day.  However, yesterday I worked on the upper roof with him.
I am TERRIFIED of heights!  I even hate driving where there are drop-offs on the side of the road.
But he's lost another of his good helpers, so I'm in.  My nephew, Caleb, snapped this lovely photo of us working on the roof.  I am the shingle handing person.  My husband is the shingle laying person.  If the photo appears blurry, it's because my knees won't stop shaking.

When you are this far up in the air and you are terrified, I think we all know what physiological response occurs.  That's right - you have to pee.  Constantly.  Now fortunately for the homeowners, Mark is building this house up a long dirt driveway, on a hill up from town.  It is a lovely spot - truly a slice of heaven.  Unfortunately for me, the only bathroom accommodations on site is this:

It is very smelly, which is why the door is propped open.  I will not go in there.  So of course yesterday as soon as I got to the job site, I started to think about you know what.  Of course, that would be the day that all of the other trades showed up unscheduled to check in about their parts.  So I had lots of time to think while I waited for my husband to start roofing.  At first, I thought, "This will be fine.  I can run home at lunch time." Then I thought, "Gee, I wish I didn't drink anything this morning before I got here."    After I could no longer stand it, I bounced down the gravel driveway, and into civilization, and went in the back door of my brother's house and used the bathroom next to Carol's beauty salon.  I knew I couldn't do that again once I got dirty from the shingles.  So then I played the "Think about something else." game.
I swear to you, I have never been so happy for it to get really hot so I could start sweating and not need to use the above facilities.
Today I am only on call. Some of the roof vents are on back-order and aren't in yet.  (Thank you, vent people!)   My husband has to move to the garage roof and start that.  I suggested that he call me when he was ready for my help.  Or if the vents come in, I can go get them.  Anything to not go up to that roof again.  Anything.  I swear I dreamed all night about falling off that roof.
So now I am alone in my house, and I think I would like to do a little housework.  Funny how a girl's idea of fun can change sometimes. : )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On death, building, and ninja wind chimes

Sorry for the prolonged absence.  Life got in the way of blogging... again.
When I started this blog, I did it for my sister - Libby - in Missouri who can't be "home" as often as she'd like.  I had enjoyed visiting lots of other blogs, and frankly had been using it as an escape for several months.  Once I started my own blog, I began to be overwhelmed by the guilt because I didn't post regularly.  I mean, wasn't I letting my followers down?  Okay, folks here's the truth of it all:  I'm not that interesting and my life has not exactly been rosy for about two years now.  I enjoy many blessings, and have been enduring some serious challenges.  Some things that most people never have to face directly, along with lots of the other "stuff" that everyone deals with a little at a time, or like us, all at once.  Life, right?   Anyway, I guess I have felt the need to explain my sporadic posting for a while now.  I can't really go into any great detail because it's not just about me.  I have thought about closing my blog, but I guess I don't really want to.  When I do have the opportunity to post something positive, it's really helpful to share it with people who might enjoy it.   I know people stop by my blog and check in because I can tell from the stats when I think to check them.  I don't mind if people don't leave a comment.  I don't always have time to leave comments when I visit blogs, either.   Like I said, I sometimes use blog visiting as a momentary escape, and I'm thinking maybe other people do, too.  So with that said, here's some of what has been keeping me busy lately:

My husband's grandfather passed away last week, and his funeral was Saturday. A couple of weeks ago he was out doing some haying and there was an accident.  He had shut off the tractor and was back by the hay bine clearing some grass when the rig rolled back on him.  He suffered some broken ribs, lacerations, and a bruised hip.  He was flown by helicopter to a hospital equipped to deal with his level of trauma.  He was doing well, but developed some blood clots and one broke loose and went to his heart.  He died fairly quickly at that point.  He was 91 and died doing what he loved.  I wish everyone could be so lucky.   Grandpa used to be a big horse puller some years ago, and the family chose to send him off with one last ride to his resting place.

My husband is a builder and his current project is to build the house pictured above.  He has had his hands full with this project as it is a fairly large house, and has some out of the ordinary specifications, and he's had some worries about having enough help.  We have been blessed because the help he has had has been terrific!  My brother, my nephew, and a couple of local guys have been part of the process.  They all have great work ethic and really care about doing a good job.  Sometimes you take that for granted, but recently their was a visitor from the city on site.  He'd been there a little while when he said to my husband, "How do you get your help to actually work?"   My husband's reply was simply, "That's what we do here."   Though he didn't need the reminder about the blessing of these solid helpers, it definitely brought it into sharper focus.

If you look closely at the house picture you can just see the above wind chimes on the right hand side of the porch.  My husband created these and hung them one day and they are actually quite tuneful!  I add them to this post because when I saw them they reminded me of a saying I have on a rock-turned-doorstopper in my sewing room.  "If life gives you scraps, make a quilt."  I knew that my husband was putting that particular idea into a different form when he made the ninja wind chimes.  Sometimes you have to really listen for the music behind the noise in life.