March 11, 2015

New background because...

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

We've had two days in a row where temperatures have reached into the 40's, but the forecast is saying it won't last... and that makes me a little bit sad.
SO I thought I'd force some springlike stuff here instead.
gratuitous spring flowers from years past

We also - in a fit of cabin fever - booked a vacation!  Our first in two years.  Nothing huge, but it will be nice to get away and do some fun things with the kids for a bit.

Blessings on the journey~

March 4, 2015

Random Brain Ramblings

I haven't posted much of late as I've been sort of in a low spot in many ways and have had trouble pulling my brain out of the fog for more than is required for just general life a lot of the time.
We've had a very long stretch of cycling snow storms and freezing cold temperatures and that has caused it's own issues as well as creating a certain amount of drab feelings and cabin fever alternatingly (is that really a word?).

We've had frozen heat pipes, a giant frost heave just outside the garage door, the chicken coop is at a definite angle - probably also due to frost heaves, we've had ice dams and leaking into the house, and as of yesterday, a different heating pipe has begun to leak and the plumber can't come until next week Tuesday.  I've had a weird tendonitis thing in my right hand/wrist that has made life very challenging and has completely thwarted my self-therapy of sewing.  The dog had surgery and then a weird doggie vertigo episode that has resulted in lots of vet visits and bills.

All this is fairly negative on the surface, however there have been many good things and bright spots as well.
There are things to be thankful for even when things are hard:

  • After my temper-tantrum with God back in September (mom-camp), we started attending church in Peterborough (Monadnock Congregational Church) and that has been a tremendous blessing and source of peace.  Steve and I even attended membership class with the Pastor and are planning to become members during the month of March (Lord willing).
  • We've had some rough spots with friends and family that have required us to speak up and step out of our normal non-confrontational lifestyle to deal with uncomfortable issues - this has resulted in shifts in relationships that prayerfully God is putting on the right track again.
  • Almost all of the house issues have resolved - mostly - without any really dreadful situations or too horrendous of expenses.  And we are really evaluating what is needful for projects and home improvements both long and short-term.  I do see having to paint the family room this year after the water leaking in left water spots on the ceiling, but that was sort of needful anyway.
  • My chiropractor has made great improvement in my hand/wrist with a new technique.
  • Today it is 40 degrees and the sun is peaking out!
  • The kids are healthy and doing well with their school work and we are working on our plans for next year including starting to look at colleges for Jess.
  • Ben is learning to drive.
  • I'm reading several books right now.
  • Steve built Jess some fun built-in bookshelves in her room.
  • Steve is working on building me a design wall for my sewing room.
  • My chickens are all still laying and seem to be surviving their first winter okay.
  • My new cat Gypsy is settling in nicely and loves to sit on my desk with me.
  • We have had some great silly laugh-fests when we get a bit stir crazy.
  • I've got lots of projects to work on once my hand heals enough to get back to sewing.
  • There is prayer meeting on Thursday evenings at church and it's wonderful.
  • There is coffee and chocolate and fudge in my world.
  • I have a husband who is truly amazing, loves me so and cares for me completely, and we've just celebrated 19 years of marriage!
  • My kids are awesome, smart, funny and very helpful.
  • I have dear friends to share with, laugh with and who will keep me in prayer.
  • I know that Jesus loves me and will carry me through the toughest things by His grace & mercy.
Blessings on the journey~

February 15, 2015

Snow, snow, and for a change... snow!

In the last few weeks we have had a seemingly endless series of snow-storms and blizzards.  It is winter... we live in NH... this is not horribly unusual.  However, it is a tad wearying and somewhat exhausting to be dealing with FEET of snow on the ground and a repeating cycle of snow, clean up, snow again, clean up again that happens with annoying frequency.

My dear husband has been working tirelessly after each storm to dig out our home, clear the deck and multiple staircases, make paths around the yard for the animals and us to care for them, clear up the road edges- which is private and we have to have plowed by a local farmer and his giant John Deere tractor, and help clear some for the neighbor on occasion.
This morning was a much larger snow amount than forecasted and the crazy wind and hovering-at-zero temps made for a very long day.

My chickens are surviving and thriving in spite of the weather.  Their pen is surrounded by well over knee deep bankings and even their plastic sheeting to block the wind is partially buried in snow so they are generally below wind-level if they venture out.  I've been keeping them happy with food treats at least every other day or so - growing sprouts for them and giving them veggie scraps, etc.  They are mostly all still laying every day and everyone seems pretty fluffy and happy.
The cats are keeping entertained by the birds frequenting the feeder out back and Piper (the dog) just LOVES the snow and will roll around in the drifts snowplowing with her nose any chance she gets.

I am plodding on, trying not to complain too much as I know each day and even each snowfall is a gift from God for us to enjoy.  Thankfully we have the ability to clear up, the means to pay the plow guy, and Steve working from home is a tremendous blessing!

Stay warm!
Blessings on the journey,

January 28, 2015

Big News

Announcing....  Applewood Quilts Etc. real presence on the web!

I took the plunge and now have my own domain & site for my sewing!

I still have a lot to learn with getting a site up and running and all that jazz - but I'm making progress!

January 20, 2015

Random Life

There are times when my life feels sort of random and disconnected.  That there is little flow of continuity from one area or subject that requires my attention to the next.  Sometimes it is almost amusing.  This fact is clearly illustrated by these photos from my phone.
Curved quilted pillow I made testing out a new ruler & book of patterns

Buckwheat sprouts on the window sill - growing for my chickens

new quilt rack Steve found for me at a local consignment shop

my brand new quilt labels!

Books I'm reading right now - on the coffee table

My newest fur baby - Gypsy

January 2, 2015

First Project of 2015

We've been fairly quiet on the house projects since early summer when we did the hang-out space for the kids.  I've been busy with lots of sewing projects and we've had a fair amount of just regular life happening around here.
Since we generally have a two week vacation with Christmas and New Year's, Steve wanted to tackle something good sized with the time.  He knocked off quite a few smaller projects last week and this week we did a really fun photo wall in the living room that I just love and then we started working on painting Jessica's bedroom.  This might be a record... we started on New Year's day in the afternoon and I finished it today (Jan 2nd) just before dinner time.
Of course I don't have before or after photos because it was a marathon of painting and I didn't stop to take any.  Bad excuse, but I'll try to get some shots after we put the furniture back tomorrow and update this post.
The one fun thing we did tonight was this neat little art photography project.
Photographs of signs by my amazing hubby
Sorry for the really awkward picture, but I took it with my phone and it's on a tiny wall just by her door that is awful for trying to photograph.
Steve went out this afternoon and photographed all the street signs in a few different towns and we printed, framed and hung them tonight as a surprise.  She actually hasn't even been upstairs to see it yet.  Hopefully she's going to like it. :-)

Her room done is the 8th room painted in the house and leaves us just 2 more rooms and 2 hallways to paint - all since we moved in less than 2 years ago.  I'm stunned at the progress we've made in such a relatively short space of time.  
Actually her room wasn't awful as it was painted and was fairly neutral in color, but she wanted a light, brighter color on the walls as a backdrop for her eclectic style.  She chose the same light color she'd had in our Merrimack house (Creamy Buttermilk - by Glidden) and we had the very nice paint guy at Home Depot color match it in Behr paint for us.  
Now to figure out some window treatments, and get some things hung on the walls.  Then Steve is going to build her a custom book shelf & storage unit against one of her knee walls (she has a windowed dormer on one wall).  A great way to start the new year and the last semester of high school! 
Praying that God blesses all our projects in 2015 to be as fairly easy as this one. 

Blessings on the journey~

December 21, 2014

A Hello

Late last week I lost my much loved cat Grace after 10 years.  As sad and heartbreaking as the loss of a beloved pet is, we are thankful that it was a swift and peaceful goodbye after a long love-filed life.

Because my dear husband knows me so well and knows my heart needs often better than I do, Steve took me to the Monadnock Humane Society on Friday afternoon to look around.  These are the wonderful people we thank for Ben's little fur-baby Fender.  It's an amazing place and the staff is outstanding.

In my head I thought we'd look for a long-haired kitten, as we had seen with Fender and Saffron that a kitten introduced into a new household is a fairly easy thing - albeit a lot of work on our part for care and supervision, etc.  They only had one little bitty baby (short-hair) and she was on hold for another family.  So we wandered all around the facility and discovered several good sized rooms full of adult cats.  One room seemed to have an abundance of long-haired beauties lounging around, so we went in to visit.

We read bios taped to the wall and matched name tags on the fuzzies to their stories.  Then a volunteer came in and explained to us that this large group had only come to the shelter at the beginning of December as a transfer from Canada.  There had been about 100 cats seized from a hoarding situation and they had been held as 'evidence' in the legal case for a very long time.  The wonderful people at MHS had taken a portion of the group to find loving forever homes for these beautiful cats.

After petting and holding a few, we found her... they called her Tabouli, but I call her Gypsy and she seems to like her new name.

She is very petite (just over 7lbs) and has green/gold eyes and beautiful black fur marbled with caramel colored markings.  They say she is a black & orange Tortoiseshell but I think she's just plain pretty.  Adjustment is going to be slow for everyone, but I think we are all going to get along just fine eventually.  

A Christmas blessing to swell my heart from the man who loves me so and always wants to make me smile.  I am a most blessed wife.

Blessings on the journey,