Thursday, April 28, 2011
Sleep was elusive last night.
I lay in the bed while the wind howled around the Little Yellow House on the Hill.
Tornado watch till 2am the weatherman said....
I looked at the clock: 10:00p, 11:00p, midnight.
I tossed and turned.
Something kept bumping down the hall. Noises that were strange filled my ears.
2:00a, - Tornado watch pushed back to noon.
With the windows open the wind pushed back and forth on my son's closed bedroom door, making silent thumps. I got up to close his window.
4:00a - thunder and lightening. More wind.
I checked my iPad all night to make sure there wasn't a tornado headed our way. I tried to figure out a plan to reach the kids should we have to run to safety downstairs.
I thought about the families here that have already lost so much.
I wondered if those 80 ft. Carolina Pines would hold to the ground. Wondered if they would fall through the house with ease.
Yes, fear spun the wheels of my mind and sleep was elusive.
It reminded me of the time 30-years ago as I stood in our enclosed porch in my pajama's. We lived on 19th St. and the desert monsoons were making their way over the mountains. I watched a very tall, skinny, Palm Tree get hit by lightening and go up in flames.
Yesterday on our way to co-op lightening hit a gigantic hard wood tree and a limb of the tree fell to the street below, rendering the road blocked. This limb was so large it could have easily covered a car or two. We were there just seconds before it happened.
ZAP!! Towers of strength reduced to kindling.
I thought of those summers in Texas when the tornado sirens would sound and we'd snatch the kid's bodies from the bed and sit in the bathroom till the storm was over.
Why do these storms seem to happen in the dark of night?
All these scenes moved around with the wind and became bigger than life in my mind.
I prayed and tossed and tried to close my eyes.
I was never so glad for daylight.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Last week while I was sick I made the Orchid Hat pictured above and (if I say so myself) I L-O-V-E it.
Its a crazy week in the La Vida House, so short posts abound...only a few more weeks until summer vacation! Hooray!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
He is Risen Indeed!
The most wonderful thing about Easter is that it last's all year long.
There is much joy in the risen Lord! How sad that we celebrate it fully just one time a year!
Our day was beautiful. Since I had been sick the entire week before, it wasn't quite as organized or elaborate as we do each year, but we got in all the activities that we like to do together as a family.
There was cookie decorating...
|The Boy was a slap-and-dash kind of decorator. The Girl more the Artiste.|
(She would also like me to note that she is using her robe as a smock, so as to not get her nice shirt dirty.)
and egg finding...
and sparkly new clothes.
There was not one, but TWO meals on outside on the deck.
And there was candy....
This year our little family had done something together that I hadn't told you about:
As a family we gave up candy for lent.
I have to tell you I couldn't have been more proud of my children.
They decided on their own that they would join The Mister and I on our 40-day fast, and I am fairly certain that I couldn't have done it without them. This topic deserves an entire post so I will save it for later in the week.
Needless to say, there was A LOT of candy on Easter morning...way more than we have done in the past.
There was also the photo The Mister takes every year...the one of me taking pictures.
However, this year, the picture makes me laugh extra hard! It's like ode to my favorite things: I've got my fave t-shirt, and extra large reindeer pajama pants; a bottle of water tucked under my arm and an 18 oz. coffee mug in my hand....and the video camera.
I did actually get to wear my Easter dress.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The good news is that I feel a little better today.
The bad news is that I sound worse.
This morning I sat in the pediatric dentists office trying to act inconspicuous. I tried really hard to act casual while hacking up a lung.
I felt pretty confident that I was doing a good job until a lady with her adorable 6 year old boy walked in the room. Which is actually a funny story....
The nurse asked this women if it was all right to take her son's bite-wing x-rays. The mom answered in a tone that was highly patronizing and very loud, "Please be sure to cover his..." and then she waved her hand in a circle around the lower portion her own body.
The nurse respectfully replied, "Oh yes, don't worry, we use a lead apron."
The mom condescendingly says, "well, be sure to cover his thyroids."
I began to wonder if she was confusing one body part for the others.
Anyway, this same mom was giving me the evil eye when I had a small coughing fit. Luckily, my kids appointment was quick (no cavities, HOORAY!) and we were able to make a swift exit.
You know, I should probably give this women the benefit of the doubt. Maybe her son has health issues, maybe she's just really concerned about radiation, but speaking kindly to others isn't all that hard.
Since I have had some time on my hands this week I decided to make a couple of Easter Baskets.
I hooked up these super-easy easy baskets using this pattern.
The blue one is done with only two strands of yarn (instead of three as the pattern suggests.)
The pink one was actually an entire skein of yarn that I hooked into one long single-chain. I had seen this technique done one other projects and wanted to try it out (instead of using separate strands). I wouldn't do it again for this kind of project - maybe it was just the wrong kind of yarn for that technique, but it made things difficult.
So that's it, the good the bad and the crafty.
I cannot wait to show you the pictures I took outside this morning of my garden flowers. Oh! they are nice...but until then the picture above is actually from my neighbors yard (every year she catches me taking photos in her yard, and she doesn't even mind!)....spring is in full bloom!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I'm feeling a bit giddy this morning. Not sure if its the end of the second (18 oz) cup of coffee, or if its the copious amounts of decongestants I am currently taking....either way, I'm certain this post is about to be wide open and a bit unpredictable.
For instance, my chest is on fire.
Not literally on fire, but I have this horrible cough that has worsened each day. I sound like I've been smoking since I was 10. (And, please mom and dad, lets not go into that story when I tried smoking when I was 10 - the boys made me do it.)
Actually, I was more like 15 and I totally blamed my brothers. But here's the deal, they were 10 and 13 years old, and not smart enough to hide the evidence, so they got caught. Knowing they might rat me out, I confessed.
Plus, I didn't really smoke anyway. I didn't inhale.
I have cancelled all outings for today in an attempt to get well.
I should have done that yesterday, but I had to get the kids Easter clothes.
I love having both a girl and boy. Shopping for clothes is a comedy routine in action. The Girl is going from rack to rack, mixing and matching every combination of skirt and tops. She wonders if she should choose something more dressy, or go with something more spring-like so she can wear it more often.
The Boy walks over to two racks within arms reach of each other. He chooses a pair of cargo pants with one hand and a polo with another. Neither one match, nor are in his size, but he throws it in the cart and says, "This'll work, cuz i can ride my bike in these and not get too hot."
At this point The Girl walks up, her hands filled with 18 items of clothing and begins to let her brother know that those shorts, (although grey in color) has a "green tinge to it and simply won't work with that shirt."
This is where eye rolling commences.
I was dying with laughter, and my hackers cough.
We managed to get The Boy sorted out and purchased everything we needed. I am certain they will both look very nice for Easter Sunday.
Whelp, this post is kind of getting long, but I just have to share with you this new App my friend told me about last weekend: Chirp! Lite
Its a bird calling app and I can't be certain, but I think I may now be in a relationship with an Eastern Townee (or E.T.) He looks a lot like this:
I do know that this sweet bird and I are on speaking terms because for the last four mornings I have taken my breakfast outside and used the app to call to E.T., and he flies to the tree in front of our home, and talks back!
I will admit, it feels a little scandalous to be talking with birds during the season of twitterpation (what movie does that word come from?) but the birds really do talk back.
Another free app I am really enjoying (and its also a website) is MyFitnessPal. Y'all know that I have struggled in the past with body image and food issues, but the truth is that I have put on a few pounds and my clothes are snug. It was time to find some accountability and get back into shape.
My friend (and accountability partner!) told me about MyFitness Pal and I have been keeping track for the last week or so and I LOVE it. My goal is to loose 1/2 - 1 pound per week. This is very slow, but I don't want to make myself crazy I just want to get back on track. If you happen to be a MFP user, my account name is: LVCG.
All righty, its time for some oatmeal and to hang out with E.T.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I am currently in a fight with Blogger over posting a video on How to Make Origami Bunnies. For two days I have tried to get it to upload and it won't.
As a result, I am having to upload the video to YouTube, which in general I don't like to do.
Hopefully that video and tutorial will be up shortly, otherwise you'll have to make bunnies next week, and really, origami bunnies are more fun before Easter.
However, when looking at my youtube account, I found a video long forgotten.
About a year ago I had my guitar out and recorded myself playing one of my favorite songs: If I Stand by Fernando Ortega. I had uploaded it along with several other videos and forgot about it. To be honest I had actually recorded it for a birthday gift for friend, and then chickened out at the last minute, sending a quilt instead.
This morning when I listened to it I immediately thought of another dear friend of mine who is facing a tough situation. A situation that could go either way. No matter what the outcome she'll have to "stand on the promise that He will see her through."
If you are reading this post and you knew me back in the days when I was "known" for my singing, you'd probably be surprised that I don't sing in public very often anymore. My nerves take over, I get all jumbly inside and panic sets in...its so weird coming from the girl who would have sung at the drop of a hat, anywhere - anytime, many years ago.
Its very rare that I sing in front of a crowd, much less on a public forum such as the this blog. But I feel certain that this may be an encouragement to my friend, and perhaps to you...its not the best performance I've ever had, but its from the heart.
So my friend, this is a gift for you. I know you love Ortega's music, and i love you. And I am praying that the situation this week is one in which we will throw our heads back in laughter and praise God for His goodness...but if it doesn't turn out that way, we will fall on the grace that brought us to Him, and praise Him still....
Monday, April 18, 2011
When I was a kid, my parents were always creative.
From macrame to marble mice, my mom and dad spent a lot of time making things.
My dad was always taking arts-and-craft type things apart to find out how they were made...this apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
My dad was also a public educator for 30 years. He taught 4th grade for most of those years but also spent several years as the art teacher. He continues to teach my kids with occasional impromtu art lessons when we are visiting. Mostly he makes fun things for my kids.
The favorite craft of my kiddos? Rings made from real dollars. When we were in Arizona last Christmas they were asking if he knew how to fold rings from a twenty. Those kids think they're so smart. (Trust me, I already tried that one.)
One of the many things my dad taught me a bagillion-years ago was how to make origami bunnies. And I have been making them every spring, ever since.
So today I pass on the tradition....
What do you need?
Paper (square) - it doesn't matter what size, as long as its square.
Tape or glue.
Optional: decorations - google eyes, cotton for tail, whatever your decorative heart desires!
Here we go:
(My paper has two different sides so you can see better.)
Now, in the pic above you can see my highly effective pink sticky notes...they are pointing to the side of the square that are our next bit of business....
Hooray! You're nearly there!
The next part is a little odd, and it was hard to write out directions so I thought I little video would be better.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I don't normally post on Wednesdays (usually I'm cramming lesson plans for my afternoon history class at co-op) but since I have been MIA in the last five days, I thought I'd pop in.
In true CoffeeGal style, I got bit by a crafting bug last week and have had tunnel vision of epic proportions. Any free time has found me at my sewing machine.
In my last post I wrote about Log Cabin Squares for quilting. Well, that's what I've been doing: I made twenty Log Cabin quilt blocks....
Some of you may remember chuppah I made a couple years ago for a friend.
For eight months I put my heart-and-soul into that project, embroidering every monogram by hand. Quilting old family fabric into a quilt-of-sorts. A tapestry for a young couple to marry under.
I tried to explain how this project felt in this post, but here is a small glimpse of the work involved.
This project was challenging and brought great personal satisfaction, but when it was completed it wasn't mine. I handed it (and everything about it) over to its rightful owner.
One night last week I was talking to The Mister and showing him the sample quilt blocks I had sewn, and he said emphatically, "I love quilts!"
When my husband speaks emphatically, I listen. He tends to be a pretty even-keeled guy, reserving passionate verbiage for things he truly feels passionate.
And it got me thinking....
I often make things for the kids, or myself, or for friends. I almost always make things for those who ask me to, and every once in awhile someone will actually pay me.
Very rarely do I create things for my man.
And he deserves something. Especially since one-month from today we will have been married 16 years.
As I have been sewing, I've been thinking about that chuppah, what it meant in the days of hard work, and the lessons I learned both during and after the project was complete. It made me want to make something like it to celebrate our marriage; The joy. The hard work. The crazy and the calm. I want to make something that shows the depths of beauty that comes from a relationship that isn't always easy, but is so worth the effort.
This is the beginnings of the quilting project I am calling Sixteen. It is to be a gift to The Mister. My hope is to hand-embroider some of my favorite things about our life together (thus far) and give it to him when we go away (to a log cabin in the NC mountains) sometime next month.
My plan is to use only fabric and thread I already own. And we won't be boxing this baby up - we'll sleep under it. Hopefully for many more years....
Friday, April 08, 2011
I keep meaning to tell you that I finished it!
I enjoy making the quilt tops but I have never had a quilt-binding process come out successfully. Or at least, I had never done binding without a great deal of cussing.
My friend (and talented quilter) came over for lunch and (wanting desperately to finish) I asked her to help me. So she WILLINGLY showed me how to do this process the right way. Which included learning how to pin things together correctly. This required being on the floor kneeling over all the fabric and batting.
Did I mention my friend was nine-months pregnant? I felt slightly guilty about that... obviously guilt is not a good motivator in my life for doing the right thing. Especially when it comes to completing sewing projects.
However, now when I look at this table-runner I have happy memories of our time together...so I guess it's a win-win situation - especially for me.
After this project I had decided that I wasn't gifted in the arena of quilt making and that I was officially going to be a quilt quitter.
Actually I say that after all the quilts I make, and I've made a few wonky looking blankets that are kind of like ugly-ducklings: Loved for their charm and the work put into them, not so much for the outward appearance.
But now that I know how to bind them correctly (and I have a new walking-foot for my machine) I'm gonna try again.
These are Log Cabin blocks.
I have a baggillion scraps from various projects so my hope is to make a scrap-quilt. These blocks are SUPER easy. Here is a great tutorial if you are interested.
I made a practice one (the pink), And then I made another one in browns/greens. I think I will dig through the stash boxes and see what I can come up with... Anyone interested in doing a Log Cabin Quilt over the summer? We could slowly and surely work on it and then have a day (in the fall) when we all reveal our new quilts?
All righty! I've GOT to hit the elliptical this morning. I have continued to eat like I am on vacation since my trip to NYC three weeks ago. If I don't stop I am going to have to quilt myself a new pair of jeans, because the ones I put on yesterday were so-very-tight that I ended up wearing lounge-pants all day.
Eating sensibly'll have to wait until after lunch though... I've got company coming for lunch, and it is my duty as a hospitable southern woman to serve BALT's (bacon/avocado/lettuce/tomato/sandwiches) without worries of the waistline.
(Oh, and also, there will be homemade cookies. I am not sure which kind of homemade cookie - but I'm leaning toward these: Click here.)
Happiest of Fridays to you!
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I had a post all typed out.
It took me several hours (written over a couple of afternoons) and somehow, with the click of a key and a push of a button - its gone.
So instead I will leave you with this happy little thought:
I love birds.
I have a collection of them:
Given to me by friends and family over the course of time.
I'm not sure why I love birds, but I do remember a time, many, many years ago, when I was struggling through some deep issues in my life. I felt like a little bird with broken wings, battling in a war of ambivalence: desperately wanting to fly away free, and too afraid to leave my cage.
In the midst of this epic skirmish-of-my-heart I read something that strengthened my soul and turned the war to my favor: