Thursday, October 31, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude Photos Day # 2 Color!



Hmm..... grateful for color..... this one stretched me a little.. but then I remembered a dark dreary winter (which - in MY brain - they ALL are :-)  SAD is my constant companion much of the year :-)  I sometimes think I need an IV of Vitamin D....

anyway... a tub of little balls of yarn....

and my HAPPY afghan was born.  Over a month of dreary cold.... I happily worked with these sunshine colors.... and - wrapped up in it is still my happy place :-)

And then the challenge.....  what today?   Where is my gratitude for COLOR today?  Today I am blessed to be at home.. to finish packing for an out of town wedding weekend... and then off to another state for the Komen 3Day Walk.... yep, hectic!

I saw a lovely misty gray pinkish sunrise.... but I didn't have my camera.  And I went on about my day.

I saw a few bright red leaves among the green ones in my Japanese magnolia..... but I didn't have my camera.  (I am sensing a pattern here that I will have to work with)

I tried to get a shot of the warm brown eyes of my foxy-colored pup.... but those came out glowing green which is a little creepy - though perhaps appropriate for Halloween :-)

And then I thought of this!

I just brought my plants in recently and the cactus are in full BUD :-)  I may miss some of the blooming since we are leaving tomorrow.. but today I can be grateful that this particular cactus is so healthy.  This cactus (and the pot it is in) is one that belonged to my husband's mother.  So it's special.

And, just for fun, this next cactus photo was a surprise.  Last winter I picked up a couple of pieces of broken cactus off the floor of a store.  I came home and stuffed them in a pot.

My mother-in-law always told me that if you should never ask for a plant, you should just take it.  And that kind would grow the best.  This time it sure worked.... apparently I got pieces from two different types of cactus!

It might make me a thief.... I prefer to think that they would have swept up the floor and trashed the pieces....  but it makes me think of her and that makes me smile.  And grateful :-)

Quilt Stories - Monster Quilt 2013

I love the rag quilts but have been trying to learn how to make regular quilts.  I took a basics class and have been working on finishing up that one (another post!)  

But also over the last few years I've been trying to teach myself with the internet.  One of my favorite resources is

Amy Smart has a ton of tutorials and really helped this beginner quilter get MOVING!   This tutorial -
- was one of the ones that got me going.  I made the table runner myself last year for Halloween: 

Also made a summer one - an they were EASY!  An a super first or second quilting experience :-)  I do like no-fail projects!

But I wondered if I could do a small actual quilt with this method.  I gauged yardage as to what size looked "right" for a crib quilt.  Fabric is typically sold from bolts and is usually 42-44 inches wide and sold in yards (36-inches) 

I chose a popular monster fabric for my grandson since he was having a monster-themed birthday party and decided to try to make a quilt.  I bought 2 yards - thinking that 1-1/2 yards would work for the backing and I would do  stripes on the front with the other half yard and coordinates. 

Mistake! ... need to work on MATH.  My stripes are 3 inches wide... a half yard (18-inches) only gives me 6 stripes... nowhere near enough for what I wanted!
Of COURSE, by the time I figured all this out... I was well into construction and the monster fabric was no longer available!  [Etsy saved the day - I found ONE yard at a premium price but I had to have it so I bought it!]

But my premise worked!  I did make a crib quilt using the table runner method :-)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude Photos Day #1 Nature

So I started going back through my photos to see what I could find that would showcase my gratitude and I found one that took my breath away!

Just a moment in time..... caught by my phone of all things.  A stormy summer day.... clearing up as the sun was going down.... and a rainbow caught!  This picture is taken from my porch... and for all the effort my husband and I have put into simply keeping the house... financially AND physically, I am grateful.  And especially grateful for the PORCH!

So.... after I posted this photo from my archives and I started out the door on a day of crazy errands before leaving town....  I spied a surprise!

(Decided that my archive photos might be the prettiest ones.... but that it would be a great exercise to force myself to find something - anything - in the theme EACH DAY to be grateful for as well)

So - my surprise?  An autumn crocus!  I forgot I had it.  Years ago, I saw an autumn crocus for the first time on a trip to a botanical garden with a couple of friends... one of whom is now an angel :-)  I remember searching online to learn about them.... I am familiar with the spring ones, of course - but autumn?  Anyway, I found them and bought them and planted them around.. and promptly forgot them.  And here it is!

When I get home, I plan to dig him up and put him in a special place where I will remember.  Hmm..... or maybe I should leave well enough alone.. he does look happy :-)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

30 Days of Gratitude... in photos...

A friend issued a challenge on Facebook.... and I thought I'd use it as a jumpstart to get me back into writing again.

I don't write much when I'm in a bit of a funk.. because I like to write and share positive things.  This is a good way to jog my brain into thinking of all the things I am grateful for!

Sooooo... starting tomorrow.. I will share some photos and thoughts about gratitude.  Each day has a theme which offers something to think about.

I am so busy right now - and so apprehensive about my busy week ahead that the opportunity to slow down and express gratitude is a gift :-)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm Not Normal

Well... okay.. I don't really have a problem with that.

I have often said that "normal" = "average" and "average" is not a goal.

But what is strange to me is that it turns out I have a "condition".  Well, again.... TODAY it is a "condition".

Backing up to when I was growing up,  I was just weird.

I was a nerd.  I was a nerdy, overweight, glasses wearing, know-it-all girl.  And that was enough to get bullied. 

Finishing my schoolwork in half the time.... fidgeting, doodling, head turning, leg swinging....  you get the picture.

I can do anything in HALF the time..... but keep me on task past the initial assessing of the task?  Not so much.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have chosen a niche of knowledge where I could always be the expert.  Maybe like the tax code... or something bookish that everyone needs to know but few like to have all the details at hand.  A field where I didn't have to negotiate with people or play office games.  I don't understand them.

I would have been more fiscally independent - but would I be happier?  I don't know.

I understand facts.  I am not afraid of truth.

It's not that I don't like people.  I love them - individually.  And I understand them - individually.  I don't understand group social code.  I don't fit in groups.

I'm not normal.

I wonder if I would have had a happier life if I had known then what I know now.  Or I wonder if I would have struggled harder because I thought I SHOULD be "normal".  Because I am old now and I know that I simply SHOULD be me.

Would I have benefited from a childhood of being labelled and having experts guide me? 

I guess that depends.... I DID get labelled.  AND bullied.   But I didn't get a stigma of a "condition" - unless "weird nerd" is a "condition".   (I have recently heard myself described as "high energy"... which is a nicely put hallmark of this "condition".)

Nor did I have any help dealing with my way of thinking.... in honesty, I was generally praised for my intelligence and criticized for other characteristics.  

But it's hard to choose an expert, isn't it?  Anyone who has researched anything knows that there are a TON of so-called experts who are mostly bunk.... even people who aren't 'bunk' per se.... might be BUNK in helping ME.  Which is, of course, my criteria.

As soon as I could, I chose to allow my children to learn at home and develop in their own ways.  And I'm not sorry.  Because they aren't normal either.... and I don't think they should aspire to be.

But coping strategies to fit in the world... that would be useful. 

The end goal for each of us is deciding who we are and where we fit in this life we have to deal with.

"Normal" = "average" and "average" is not a goal.

Happiness, though - now THERE is a goal.

..... my definition of happiness is a place where we feel comfort and peace.

So, finding ways to move towards THE HAPPINESS CONDITION - that would be key.

Happiness is my goal.