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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Awards!

While it's true the blog sphere does have pitfalls and nasty stuff, it's also true it serves to bring positives and good into people's lives. It's sure done that to my life and there is much to be thankful for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Some kind folks have given me some delightful awards and they are all greatly appreciated.

A Joyful Chaos
has an award free blog and "your comments are reward enough". I do understand and also love to read your comments, here, on my blog. Some days, your comments lighten my heart and I keep putting one foot in front of the other, so thank you from my heart. A Joyful Chaos says on her blog she's "former Amish" and I enjoy reading her take on life and find we're not that dissimilar. I started reading her blog because I loved the name; I keep reading her blog because it's interesting and full of Life. She passed along the Friendship Award; thank you, Joyful Chaos and, for some reason, I cannot download the award so, please, visit "Chaos" to see.

Woolgatherings' Jen has several nice blogs and the one I like most is Learning the Art of Slow. She has excellent information on all her blogs but, guess why...haha, the Slow blog speaks best to me. She passed along the Kreative Bloggers Award and I'm in excellent company, again! I'm supposed to tell you seven things you may not know about me. Also, if you're a writer, she has a list of some pretty amazing and informational writer's sites you should check out.
*Dave and I met when I bought the house next door to his house in Richmond, VA.
*I used to sell space...container space on ocean going vessels between USA, Europe and Far East.
*I'm the oldest child with two siblings.
*I've known I wanted to be a farmer since I was six years old.
*At Thistle Cove Farm, I tend to more than fifty animals, twice daily.
*I'm a wretched housekeeper, the clutter is absolutely awesome at our clean house.
*I'm an excellent cook and baker. At least, no one has ever complained -grin-.

Other bloggers who deserve this award more than I:

ByLightofMoon
Cherie
Jen

Remember Cherie? She's the beautiful woman I met in Raleigh earlier this month. She's passed along the One Lovely Blog Award. I'm to pass along the One Lovely Blog Award to:*Jen
*OfHisPasture
*Spot On Cedar Pond
*Mid-Life Job Hunter
*I Heart Polaroid

Now, if you're still with me and you're a blogger to whom I've given an award...listen up! Should you choose to NOT accept an award...that's okay. Life is too short to live stressed out. Awards take an enormous amount of time to respond with thanks, to update my blog, to download then upload the buttons, to send to other folks...and, as much as I truly appreciate the kindness given to me in the form of an award, there are times when I simply cannot keep up. With life, much less the i-net! -smile- Then, there's the problem of slow connection, both with the computer and in my brain.

In closing...finally! you're thinking...thank you for reading my blog. THANK YOU for your comments and the gift of your time. This is a hurry up, busy, frantic ole world and any time you choose to spend with me is a gift from your heart...I am grateful.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ bloggers ~ blogland ~ awards ~ YOU ~ gifts of time ~ deep breathing ~ the i-net not dropping my post ~

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

So, this is why it takes me so stinkin' long to do virtually anything at the computer. The Awards post isn't supposed to be up until Monday, tomorrow, but I forgot to do a delayed post option to that effect. Now, I cannot change it without losing all my hard work of the past few hours!

I apologize. I hate using my voice on Sabbath Keeping. Sabbath Keeping is to be the voice of others much wiser; saints gone on before, as it were, but I did want you to know why you're reading the Awards post today, even though it's dated tomorrow.

Sheesh.

Blessings ~ being able to laugh at my mistakes...once I finish crying ~

Sabbath Keeping


Love Constraining to Obedience

Chorus: To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
To hear His pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child
And duty into choice.

1. No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.
(Repeat chorus)

2. How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.
(Repeat chorus)

3. Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do
Now if I feel its power within
I feel I hate it too.
(Repeat chorus)

4. Then all my servile works were done,
A righteousness to raise
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.

"As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has-- or ever will have-- something inside that is unique to all time. It's our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression."

~ Fred Rogers

“Being a lover of freedom, when the [Nazi] revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks...”

“Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”

— Albert Einstein



"But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." I Samuel 15:22

Blessings ~ another mini-vacation in the form of the Sabbath ~ wise men thorough the ages ~ dear hymns ~ the i-net neighborhood ~ our own cozy home and farm ~ kittens on my lap ~ apple muffins in the oven ~

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Feature

~ The lovely Christmas cactus hangs at the studio, blooming on God's time, not man's time. ~

Ahem...clearing throat. By now it's apparent I am not very good at group blog entries and, for that reason, I'm giving up the Friday Fiber Arts Carnival. I'm the weak link, have been from the start, and every Friday, to do a group blog entry is not something my brain is hard wired to do. Okay, perhaps you're thinking of Sabbath Keeping on Sunday. That's different for two reasons - it's my baby and I've made a deliberate choice in my life to keep the Sabbath. To have a "mini-vacation" at the end, and the beginning, of every week; to keep the Sabbath holy by allowing myself to renew, refresh, restore and focus on God, church, family and, sometimes, friends. That's God's gift to all of us and my gift to myself and my life would crash and burn should I neglect to "Sabbath Keep".

So, on Friday's I'm starting a "Friday Feature" where I say thanks to someone or introduce a blogger friend or talk about fiber folks. Perhaps, some Friday's, I'll include, or combine, all three.

Today, please meet KC Willis of Lipstick Ranch. Maybe you remember KC's name from another post or perhaps you've run across her on the i-net. She's a gifted textile artist who has, recently, discovered how much she loves teaching and has flung herself into teaching with the wild, but controlled, abandon, also evident in her art. KC sold me her first teaching DVD and I've used it extensively as both entertainment and for learning. Like all great teachers, KC is free and easy with her methods and holds nothing back; if I'm not learning, it's because I'm not paying attention.

She also gives stuff away! I missed out on her 53rd birthday package; mainly because I wasn't paying attention...note to self...MAKE NOTES RE. IMPORTANT STUFF!...and let her deadline get away from me. Stupid, stupid, stupid. She's given me, and you, another opportunity to win; this time a $300 shopping spree at her Colorado Lipstick Ranch but hurry, the drawing is September 5th.

BTW, other teachers will be teaching, specifically Joanna Pierotti and Sarah Fishburn, both gifted artists and instructors.


~ Another section of the Cove, where we live. ~

On my way to exercise class, I took the above photo of another section of the Cove. The morning light is beautiful as it pours across the hills and vales.

~ The southeast corner of our alfalfa field. ~

Tuesday, we baled dry hay...Thank You, God!...and I love this photo. The hay wagon is stacked almost as high as possible while the hay rows stretch out before and after. What a blessing, to have so many dry, square bales of excellent quality hay! On top of the 363 bales, we also baled 6 round bales.

~ Abigail, Von Rotten the Terror, ready for her close up ~

~ Maggie Mae curls up next to Sadie, but keeps a watchful eye on Sam. ~

~ Sadie, Maddie Lou, Maggie Mae, Sam, Granma Gracie ~

Most mornings begin with dogs and cats and me, seated on the sofa in the sun room, listening to Alistair Begg and others on XM radio. Usually, it's Abigail, Sadie, Sam and me but, sometimes the kittens want in on the action. Especially if they think the dogs are getting too much attention.


~ Keniba Thistle Cove Sadie and Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Man, play roundabout chase in the front yard. ~

Being simple folks, Dave and I enjoy sitting on the porch watching the dogs romp and play. With frost just about two weeks hence, there aren't too many more porch sitting days so we enjoy them whilst we can.

~ Abigail and Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent Man, enjoying a "cigar" chewie ~

By choice, our lives are full yet, relatively, peaceful. We spend enormous amounts of time on the farm, in the company of each other and our animals. My time is spent in the studio where I quilt, spin, make mini-quilts, or in the kitchen where I bake and cook. I also tend to all the animals and almost every morning is spent in the sun room, watching the sun awaken the valley while I listen to XM radio preachers. Thursdays nights are my quilting bee nights and, generally, the only day of the week spent in the company of other women. Sundays are church then back home to enjoy peace, quiet and calm. Then, there are times of havoc...such as now, getting the house renovations accomplished before cold weather. We still have a ways to go but are getting it done, one step at a time.

Until next time,

Blessings ~ the Christian i-net family of artisans and crafters ~ morning light ~ preaching on the air waves, what a mystery! ~ a full life ~ God's timing ~ each other ~

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life at Thistle Cove Farm

~ Zinnia, one of God's happy flowers ~
I've been absent for a few days so this entry will be long, a catch-up post, if you will. I'm in need of a seated rest period and updating my blog is one guaranteed way to grab some chair rest.

It seems like the more I get done, the more there is to do. Anyone out there experiencing the same? I'm sure most of you. There have been some fabulous blessings, orchestrated as only God can do; specifically I'm thinking of Kathy's family. It's been a frustrating, anxious few months for her i-friends and many angst filled years for her family. So many others are in need of prayer - Suzy as she leaves her home and moves to another state to tends to her aged Uncle's needs. Her uncle's bank in Nevada failed last week...the first of many, if the signs are to be correctly read...and he, rightfully so, is panicked. Uncle is a new, very new, Christian in his mid 80's. Sharon's aunt has advanced cancer as well as Ahzheimer's and their family is caught up in care and concern. Betty, my cousin, is caring for her step-father in his last days. Betty's mother, my mother's sister, passed away last November, and her step-father has Alzheimer's. These but a few and so many people needing prayer, needing the whisper of God's voice in their ear.

I have a journal where I keep names of folks who have requested prayer and it seems the list grows at a much faster rate than it used to grow. One of my favorite hymns is "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and one of my favorite lines of that hymn is "take it to the Lord in prayer". Irish born author, Joseph Scriven, was to be married but on the eve of his marriage, his betrothed drowned. Grief stricken, he re-located to Canada where he devoted himself to serving the poor but if one could afford his services, he would not work for them. Some years after moving to Canada and serving the poor, he also died in an accidental drowning.

In three short verses he testify's to the promises, peace, grace and mercy of Christ. Perhaps most of all, the peace.

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sings and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our Refuge; Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He'll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there."

I don't listen much to popular music save Celtic, jazz, blues and female artists who are gifted song writers. Other than the aforementioned music, I listen to hymns, Gospel...but not Southern Gospel as I find it too too...if you know what I'm saying not very well -smile- and I listen to preaching. Also, I listen to audio books and enjoy them a lot as well. When I say I listen, in the main, to preaching and religious music what I'm really saying is I'm a pretty poor representative of Christ. If I don't fill my head with the Good Stuff then the bad stuff tends to surface...more than it already does, I'm sorry to say. I'm not one of those "good people" people talk about. I need to fill my head with hymns, preaching, the whisper of God on the wind or in the lowing of the cattle, bird song, puppies and dogs, cats and kittens, horses and, in general, nature as served up by God. Yes, I do listen to popular music when I take Zumba but the words just aren't as important as me as being busy trying not to stumble and die -smile-. After I take a Zumba class, yoga class is next and the instructor plays Celtic Women, Enya and the like so my head is filled with goodness when I leave the YMCA.

I've never understood folks who say, "I'm bored"; I think it shows a lack of imagination on their part. Thanks to Mama and Daddy, we were taught to entertain ourselves and if we couldn't entertain ourselves, there were always chores to be done. Time was not to be wasted on "nothingness" as "idle hands were the devil's plaything" as Mama always said. I still believe it although now I realize that restful periods aren't the same as idle hands. I've also learned to "keep the Sabbath" apart from the rest of the week. Keeping the Sabbath holy is a mini-vacation, a gift from God at the end/beginning of the week that restores, renews, refreshes and lets me end one week and enter the next with a calmness that gives reflection on what has passed and focus on what is to come.
~ Sadie, looking out of the dining room window. ~

We've been working on the house, getting that portion readied that was destroyed by the flood damage December past. I'm hopeful...always hopeful...we'll be finished Soon. The dining room walls have been replaced, the floor has been refinished and we still have to hang a ceiling fan and clean before moving furniture into this room. The parlor is crammed almost to the ceiling with dining room furniture and "stuff" so neither room can be used for the time being.~ The dining room had to be re-painted and floors re-finished. ~

The front porch is filled with tools that are going to be moved off the table today so we can go back to eating on the porch. What is it with construction folks? They just lay their stuff down any ole place, never considering if it's in my way and this has been going on for a couple of months now. We only get to use the front porch in nice weather and frost is little more than two weeks hence; time is a-wasting for front porch sittin' and eatin'!

~ Mama Cat ~

Mama Cat, four weeks ago today, had four kittens in the bottom of a fifty gallon barrel and it's going to be hard getting them out of that barrel! I want to catch some of the feral barn cats and relocate them to the "animal shelter" so the tame kittens and Mama Cat can live in the barn. On a farm, it's necessary to have cats to help keep down the rats and mice and it's best if those cats are tame. Much easier to catch and vaccinate, etc. Mama Cat isn't the prettiest cat but she does have one of the best personalities I've ever seen in a cat. No matter what life has thrown at her, she responds by being placid, quiet, accepting and looking for the good. I can learn from her. A lot.
~ Mama Cat's four kittens at the bottom of a fifty gallon barrel! ~

~ A wagon load, 363 bales of lovely, dry hay! ~

~ Beautiful, dry hay, stored in our ancient barn ~

We cut, raked, baled and stored hay this week...363 square bales of alfalfa clover timothy mix and six round bales of same. Thank You, God...it's dry from start to finish and animals now have plenty of hay for this winter. I've even some to sell!

I've nattered on with nary a word about puppies and dogs; will remedy that, hopefully, by Saturday.

Until then...

Blessings ~ dry hay, winter fodder for the animals ~ Mama Cat and her four week old kittens ~ house restoration ~ beloved hymns ~ prayer, people needing prayer and people praying ~ a Sabbath, day of rest, coming up ~

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

~ The Cove ~
Be Still My Soul

"Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine."

Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel - 1752


Be Thou My Vision

"Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all."

Words: At­trib­ut­ed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Com­di cri­de); trans­lat­ed from an­cient Ir­ish to Eng­lish by Mary E. Byrne in “Eriú,” Jour­nal of the School of Ir­ish Learn­ing, 1905, and versed by Eleanor H. Hull, 1912.


Philippians 1:6 "Be confident of this, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Blessings ~ music ~ words ~ hymnwriters ~ heritage ~ heavenly Friend ~ High King of Heaven ~

Friday, August 21, 2009

Give-away, Kittens, Farm Life, Cherie

~ The Cove, photo taken earlier this evening. ~

Matthew, computer doc, brought my power pack back...all fixed. Yadda, yadda, yadda is what he said was wrong; all I know it's working now -smile-. Thanks, Matthew! He's a great young man, steady, dependable and is quite concerned with how government is being so intrusive in our lives. He told me he goes on demonstrations with great regularity and let our Congress rep know exactly what he was doing wrong and how to correct his direction. GO Matthew!

Deanna responded to the note saying she'd won the mini-quilt wall hanging so that will be mailed...perhaps tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then first of the week. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to break loose like a big girl's girdle and take off like a shot. We're still working on the house renovation and I think the guys will be back tomorrow. I sure hope so as they haven't been here in a couple of weeks and I'm a bit READY to have the house livable. Also, hoping our neighbor comes to help me with horse's feet; the horses need their feet cleaned and one of the mares is a trifle lame. I picked her feet tonight and noticed she needs trimming so need to get the farrier here as well. It wasn't a good time for any of us...horses, dogs or me as we got into a yellow jacket nest and were all bitten rather soundly for our troubles. I put vinegar on my stings and then stuff specifically for stings; the pain has lessened a bit but I think I may have developed a bit of an allergy. I got light headed, broke out in a cold sweat, dizzy...'course, that could just be the blonde talking. Sadiekins was stung as well which upset her apple cart; I think Abbie and Sam escaped the torment.
~ Maddie, posing like she's the Queen of the Household. ~

Remember the kittens rescued from drowning a few months ago? Well, Maddie, the gray tabby, and Maggie, the darker kitten, have been brought into the house to be house cats. This makes Miss Emma Really Happy as she headed outside every chance she got so she could play with her friends. This also meant Miss Emma was taking Forever to recover from her cold, even with meds given twice daily. This morning I brought Maddie and Maggie into the house and they have shown every intention of never wanting to go outside again. Miss Emma ran outside this morning, looking for her playmates, having forgotten they were inside. In a few minutes, she was back at the door, asking to be let inside and here she has stayed all day. It's nice to have kittens again; both Dave and I have really missed our cats. Miss Jenny went to live with someone else and she's much, much happier being the only cat in their household. She had really become a problem, attacking both other animals and humans and causing havoc in the household. She's been gone a couple of weeks and, within the first 24 hours, adjusted quite nicely to her new home.
~ Maggie, hiding under the table and not happy to be surprised. ~

But, with Miss Jenny gone, that left us with no house cats. Earlier this year, TC, 91, Bandit and Miss Kitty all passed away and the house was really lonely without cats or kittens. Maddie, Maggie and Miss Emma have filled the silence very nicely and kitten joy reigns once again.
~ Maddie and Miss Emma, playing around my rag rug loom. ~

This past weekend Dave had a business trip to Raleigh, NC and through a series of fortunate events, I met a blog friend. Cherie and her husband Aris, have two AAAdorable boys, Matthew and AJ and we spent an enjoyable time at the Crabtree Valley Mall food court. This was only the second time I've ever been in the Crabtree Valley Mall and found it totally overwhelming. Cherie laughed when I told her there were more people in that mall on Saturday than lived in our little county seat of Tazewell, VA. It seemed to me, most of those people were under dressed as well; I've not seen that much flesh since the last time I went to the beach!

~ Cherie, Aris, Matthew and AJ - what a Beautiful Family! ~

Cherie is a nurse and her husband an engineer; the two boys are geniuses! Bright as copper pennies, well spoken and, considering this was the first time we ever met, not all that shy. I'm looking forward to when they can visit Thistle Cove Farm and am hoping for a visit this autumn. Cherie, Aris and Matthew came to this country from the Philippines and are making their home now in NC. What tremendous courage this young couple has...to uproot, leave family, friends and homeland and move halfway 'round the world. I am in awe of their courage. The USA is fortunate they decided to move here and my life is greatly enriched to meet them and call them friends.
~ Matthew is on my lap and Cherie is holding her youngest son, AJ. ~

We stayed at the Embassy Suites and the same weekend the Black Hat Divas were also having their "first annual convention". Although, I've never understood "first annual"...how can anything be a first and an annual? It's either one OR the other, right? Anyway, this group is an offshoot of the Red Hat Society, a group purely to gather and "have fun". The Red Hatters, as they call themselves, were founded in 1998 so have been around a while and is a group for women over the age of 50 but allow "Pink Hatters" to join as well. I believe Pink Hatters are Red Hatters wannabees, so to speak. Apparently, Black Hat Divas, as they told my friend, "are Red Hatters but with more elegance and bling". They are purely and simply a social club, women who gather together to party. That's it. Party.
~ Black Hat Divas...and these are some of the more conservatively dressed! ~

Ummm. Okay. I didn't get that chip when God was handing them out 'cause I just don't get it. One woman got on the elevator with a HUGE pin, fake rhinestone costume jewelery, that said, "It's All About Me". Sheesh. I bet she passed those genes on, ya think? Don't get me wrong; I'm not against having fun. I'm not even against women playing dress up; whatever floats their pontoon. I'm not against them spending their money on fluff but what I don't understand is spending many hundreds of dollars on fluff...fake rhinestone costume jewelery, ostrich feathers, a weekend at the Embassy Suites celebrating "It's All About Me". I simply do not get it; I'm glad they had a good time though even though the rest of us were going, "WHAT THA????" Did I mention there's an entire industry built up around these groups? You would not believe the shopping area where one could buy ostrich feather hats that were three feet high or fake rhinestone costume jewelery stating "It's All About Me" or "Queen Bee" or whatever. Women showed up at breakfast in their nightclothes, for crying out loud! It was like being at the mall except the flesh was peeking out from night gowns slit up to there and plunging down to there. I'm telling you, a lot of ostriches gave up all their feathers for this crowd.

Okay, now the disclaimer. I admit I am Very Conservative, both in dress and politics. I believe in little to no government, people tending to their own business, living their own lives in peace and respectability and I dress in natural fibers. Actually, I could probably do a walk-on in a Miss Marple movie and look like I belonged. -smile- I am not saying anything against these women as individuals; I'm merely saying I don't get the "crowd mentality" of "bling"...unless, of course, it's Real Bling and then I'm all over it! I do enjoy going with my girlfriend to her Saint Martin condo every spring and hitting the jewelery stores in Philipsburg. Real Bling I can handle with aplomb -smile-.

By now, you're probably thinking, "gosh, it was a lot less to read when her computer was on the fritz". -smile- Today I'm giving away another little inspirational mini-quilted wall hanging. The proverb states, "The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism". Whew! There's a sermon if ever I've heard one and if you feel led, as the old preacher said, to "save me by criticism", please let me know. If you "get the hatters", please explain it, 'cause I sure don't. Get it, that is; I'm still shaking my head.
~ Ribbons, seed pods, buttons, charms, thread, fabric, batting, bits and pieces. ~

Blessings ~ Cherie, Aris, Matthew, AJ ~ kittens ~ travel ~ mini-quilted wall hanging ~ Matthew, computer doc ~ Deanna ~ the US of A ~

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mini-Quilt Wallhanging

If I've not heard from Becky, NC, by 5:00 today, a new random generated number will be chosen. That brings the entries down so chances of winning are improving! -smile-

I've been in the studio this week and have ready six baby quilts sewn together, needing hand quilting and a new mini-quilt inspirational wall hanging. Hopefully, I'll show you on Friday and yes, it's a giveaway as well. Don't we all need a little inspiration and love in our lives? I know my life benefits when those things are applied in abundance. Even better, so do the lives of those around me.

It's a "God-thing" but then, isn't it all God-things?!

Blessings ~ quilted wall hangings ~ baby quilts ~ studio time ~ deep breaths ~ prayer ~ love ~ inspiration ~ Miss Emma in my lap ~

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So...

why am I out of sorts today? You may read all about it here.

Blessings ~ other people's words because mine so often fail ~ all the time I've got coming ~ struggles, they make us stronger if we depend upon Him ~ prayer ~ the work of my hands when my mind fails to render comfort ~ prayer ~

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Troubles and Give-Away News

Oh dear. I'm having computer difficulties and the computer has been taken to the computer doctor who says, "a few days...". In the meantime, my posts will be short and sweet but you may look forward to the next post about meeting Cherie in Raleigh this past weekend. What a delightful time we had! I met Cherie, Aris her husband and Matthew and AJ, their sons.

More about that when the computer doc brings back my computer parts.

Right now, the big news is random.org picked number 13 as the winner. That's Becky in North Caroline and I've sent her a note asking for her snail mail information. Indeed, asking if she wants the little quilt hanging as she didn't mention it in her comment. If Becky wants the little quilted wall hanging, I'll mail it this week; if she does not, I'll go back to random.org. Not to fret if you didn't win; you're still a winner and I'll make another quilted wall hanging to giveaway. Life is too short not to share, eh?

Take care all, be safe and, hopefully, I'll be back soon in the form of photos and posts.

Blessings ~ computer docs ~ quilted wall hangings ~ Cherie ~ Aris ~ Matthew ~ AJ ~

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sabbath Keeping

"...those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it." Job 4:8

~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if your forsake him, he will forsake you." II Chronicles 15:2

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"The life above, when this is past,
Is the ripe fruit of life below.
Sow love, and taste its fruitage pure,
Sow peace, and reap its harvest bright
Sow sunbeams on the rock and moor,
And find a harvest-home of light."

H. Bonar

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"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

St. Francis of Assisi

Blessings ~ saints, past, present and future ~ wisdom and people who seek it ~ the Good Book ~ safe travel ~ steadfast faith ~

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quilts, Hand Work, A Give-Away

~ A beautiful hand quilted Crazy Quilt ~

Neither Dave nor I have any clue from whose family this quilt came; could be his, could be mine, we just don't know. This quilt has some wear and tear, mainly because there's such a mix of textiles. The quilter used wools, cottons and silks and, needless to say, the silks haven't stood the test of time as well as the sturdier wools and cottons.

It's a beauty though...a crazy quilt but not dated nor signed, that I can find, so the maker is lost to all but God. I've not been signing my quilts but that's wrong of me. It's not pride talking, it's so that people who come after me will know the date and the maker of the quilt. Even if they never know who I am, it still means something to some people. Some people care about those things; I know I care and I bet you do as well. To do all that work, by hand, so material won't be wasted and someone will sleep warmly during cold winter months. Amazing!

Central heating is a recent invention. My Daddy grew up in an old Appalachian farmhouse that had a fireplace in the living room and a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen. That was their sole source of heat...a fireplace and cook stove for a two story farmhouse! That and lots and lots of quilts. Grandmother and Granddaddy had double beds in the living room, alongside the walls with rocking chairs in the center of the room and Granddaddy's chair beside the fireplace. He'd sit in his chair each evening and take off his work boots, putting them where they could warm up and dry out overnight. When we'd visit, I'd sleep with Grandmother, my brother would sleep with Granddaddy and Mama and Daddy would sleep upstairs. If it was winter, Mama and Daddy would wake to snow covering the bed covers. They would shore up their courage and, having placed their clothes where they could be easily and quickly reached in the morning, grab them and dash downstairs to dress beside the fireplace. BTW, the stairs to reach the second floor were outside so that mad dash included a quick exit onto the front porch and then a quick turn into the house and living room.

I well remember being held up in Daddy's arms so I could speak on the hand crank wall mounted telephone and using a water pump at the kitchen sink as opposed to a faucet. The bathroom was a Very Long Walk...out back. Various Aunts and Uncles lived down the valley, some miles hence, and every neighbor on the telephone line would race to listen in when they heard "3 longs and a short ring". Everyone knew everyone's ring and everyone also knew you didn't tell anything during a telephone call you didn't want the entire valley to know. Have you ever heard, "telegraph, telephone, tell a woman"? -smile-

It's just been since Dave and I have lived at Thistle Cove Farm that Aunt Esther has gotten her own private telephone line and the folks up the river from her have gotten electricity. City people don't realize this country is still, basically, a rural country with the population majority centered on the East Coast and then on the West Coast. Virginia is within a day's drive of fifty percent of the country's population but even where we live, there are folks without central heating and indoor plumbing. Count your blessings, folks; count your many blessings.
~ Aunt Esther's 1930's hand made quilt ~

Aunt Esther made this quilt sometime in the 1930's and it shows a lot of love and wear. She gave it to me many years ago and I know there are some who would cut it up and use it for craft projects. I'm not one of them. I tend to be fiercely loyal...some would say I have "loyalty issues" -smile- and I Hang On to things. When someone would ask Aunt Bonnie if she would sell something they hankered after, Aunt Bonnie would say, "It's not eating nor drinking a thing so I guess I'll hang on to it." That's me. I hang on to things and it pains me to think of this quilt being cut up for craft. It hangs on a wall in a bedroom and that's where it will stay, at least while I'm living here. Hopefully, one of the nephews will want it when I'm gone.

~ Beginning of a hand work project ~

This little project is a small quilt hanging about 12 x 12 inches. The front and back is the same 100% cotton fabric and the middle is polyester batting.
~ Sewing the quilt on my Singer Featherweight, circa 1953 ~

My brother gave me a Lot of coned thread so I guess if I live to be three hundred and seventy-two it should last. You can see a cone of bright yellow thread behind the Featherweight and it's so much fun to be willy nilly in the use of the thread. Thread is so expensive, I've always been a bit judicious in my use but no longer! -smile-

~ Coming together nicely, I think. ~

The page is torn from a devotional and says, "You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures."

Ain't that just the truth?! Unfortunately, most of us plan our vacations with more care and precision than we plan our lives. Yet, we're all headed somewhere and most of us are going there fast! Recently, I heard a preacher say if a person was 55, they had a bit more than 19,000 days left to live. That's according to the Bible verse that says a person has "three score and ten" which is 70 years. That gets MY attention as I'm a tad older than fifty-five.

So, what am I going to do with my 19,000, more or less, days? I'm going to live them with wild and reckless abandon...I'm going to live them...one day at a time. I'm going to focus on breathing, just for today. I'm going to play with the kittens, snuggle with the puppies, drink wine with my husband, read my Bible, talk to God, pray for folks, travel, work in the studio, hang wet laundry in the hot sun, make short bread for my neighbors, carry my spinning wheel to the pasture and spin amongst the sheep, make snow ice cream, brush the horses, wake up at 3 a.m. and listen to the nightingale song, save as many animals as I can, bury the ones who have lived here long enough to die of old age, pray for our country, quilt, knit, make rag rugs, take photos of the full moon...in short, I'm going to LIVE as if today is the last day of my life. Because, you know, one day it will be the last day of my life and I want to live ready.

~ Some silk, ribbons, threads, buttons, smell good stuff, lace, bits and pieces. ~

So, if you're still with me, this is the finished small quilt. It hangs by a twig sewn on the back...nothing much fancy but made with love and prayers. If you want a chance to win it, leave me a note and I'll do one of those random generator deals and send it off next week. Sunday, 8 p.m. is when I'll stop taking names and by the time I find a box to fit it, I can probably get it mailed Tuesday. Nope, you don't have to blog about it nor follow me...although it would please me mightily if you did -smile-...all you have to do is leave me a note and say you'd like to win this little quilted, inspirational wall hanging. In my mind, you're already a winner.

Blessings ~ hand work ~ quilts, no matter the size ~ thread ~ my studio ~ folks who read this blog ~ folks who leave a kind word or three ~ life ~

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Weeks Worth of Work, Then Some!

~ Sam approves of the finished quilt. ~

This week has been full of...hand quilting! I've had this quilt cut out, pieced together and have been hand quilting it for months...seems likes years! As you may well imagine, it's warmer to quilt in the winter months and far warmer to quilt in the summer months -smile-. Also, it's not like I've not had anything else to do except finish this quilt; seems there's always work to be done and a juggling act to keep it all together. This week, canning has suffered because this quilt had to be finished by tomorrow night. And it is now finished.

This is the Turning Twenty pattern, which I've made about two dozen times, and have yet to tire of making this particular quilt. I find joy in the putting together of the colors and prints and always use cotton material for all my quilts. Some of them have been put together with flannel but all have been 100% cotton material.
~ Lively colors! ~

The quilt back is a solid pink with small yellow flowers and coordinates nicely with the front. I used variegated threads in the hand quilting and a solid yellow thread for both top and bobbin threads. The hem is machine quilted as I absolutely hate for someone to come back to me and say, "so and so caught their toe in the hem and ripped it out; will you re-hem it?" Grrrrrr! If they catch their dang toe in a machine sewn hem, it's their toe that will have to give -wicked grin-!

Dave's cousin, Kyle, married Ruth Anne, two years ago and they were given a wedding gift at that time. I also wanted to given them something hand made and, after about six months of work, this quilt will be given to them tomorrow night. It's been a mad rush to finish the hand quilting and the last two hours were put in tonight. For the most part, each block has something hand quilted inside it...hearts, stars, clouds, crosses, floral...as well as their initials and wedding date. I've reached an age when it's more difficult to see and my quilts tell that particular story, I'm sorry to say. There are boo-boos galore and the hem is a bit wonky but it's made with a lot of love and prayers so, perhaps, that covers my mistakes. I think about five or six of the darker blocks don't have hand quilting as it was simply too difficult for me to see. Hope it doesn't fall apart on them -grin- but they won't use it anyway. It will go on their guest bed and when guests visit, the quilt will go over the foot rail; in that way, it should last them a while. I signed it "To Kyle and Ruth Anne with love, Sandra 2009."

I've already got a couple more quilts cut out and the next one is going to Dave's sister then I'll make one for me. Dave and all my family have received quilts, as well as several friends. My brother and his wife received the second quilt I ever made, a slightly larger than double bed sized quilt which she put on their guest bed but she's since put in a request for a king size quilt but she'll have to wait. She gave me a lot of fabric, thinking it would do for a quilt but it's mostly polyester and that simply won't do for a quilt. Polyester does nicely for rag rugs so I'll cut it into strips and either braid or weave rag rugs. I may even get one or two done for Christmas gifts...if I start now and HURRY!

Blessings ~ eyesight ~ quilts ~ family ~ weddings ~ rag rugs ~ cheerful colors ~

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Tuesday

~ Butterflies near the wildflowers ~

Post Script ~ In response to queries regarding "what kind of butterfly..." I believe this might be a Morpho butterfly, of the genus Morpho. Although the research I unearthed said this particular butterfly is found mostly in Mexico and Central, South America it certainly looks similar if not the same butterfly.

What do you think?

I've visited a butterfly farm in Aruba and found it fascinating. I'll find those photos and do a blog post about the varying types of butterflies. There are also butterfly farms in the USA and some brides and grooms choose to release butterflies rather than throw rice or bird seed. A rather charming custom I believe and, depending upon the season, far more beneficial than rice and a lot prettier than birdseed! -smile-


When I stopped to pick wildflowers, I saw these butterflies at a mud puddle. While I don't know, my guess is while they are supping water, they are getting minerals at the same time. They didn't seem threatened by me, nor should they be, but allowed me to walk right to them, take my photos and then leave. Beautiful, aren't they?!

~ A small group of butterflies, some flitted in the air, others rested, drinking from the puddle. ~

~ The horses start their campaign for re-placement in the herd. ~

In the wild, stallions are kept in the herd for breeding and protection but it's the mares who lead the herd. It's the mares who decide where to settle for the night, where to foal...have their babies..., when and where to drink. It's a matriarchal society and the stallions always defer to the mares. In my small herd of eight horses, there are two mares who vie for dominance...Peaches, the oldest, and Tumbleweed, the newcomer. Over the years, they have reached a somewhat easy truce with Peaches giving way to Tumbleweed as long as Tumbles minds her manners. If Tumbles gets out of line with the other horses, Peaches steps in and corrects the situation. If Tumbles starts picking on Dandy, Peaches will kick some major horse fanny; Dandy is Peaches' favorite and there is NO picking on Dandy!

The herd chases each other around the round pen, first clockwise...~

~ ...then counter-clockwise, in the upper pasture. ~

Lightly, the first horse born at Thistle Cove Farm, is an "easy keeper". That mare could be fed bread and water and she'd gain weight, crying all the while she was being starved. She's such an easy keeper, she has to be put in a smaller lot in late spring early summer so she doesn't gorge, overeat, colic and founder. She's foundered once in her short life and the outcome usually isn't so good the second time 'round. All that to say, she and her brother, Dandy, have been separated from the other horses for a couple of months now. Dandy didn't need to lose as much weight but it's always best for animals, humans as well I believe, to be in pairs as they fare better emotionally.

I decided it was safe to let Lightly and Dandy join the herd, forgetting HayJ, the black and white gelding...castrated male...picks on Dandy, the other castrated male. HayJ is a American Curly cross Percheron and a big'un. He's at least twice the size of Dandy, both in weight and height so it's not a fair fight. Both Lightly and Dandy are the foals of Peaches and she takes up for both of them but Dandy especially.

~ HayJ, chasing Dandy, as Peaches, Dandy's mother runs to intervene. ~

~ The horses begin to settle down. ~

~ Tumbleweed decides the excitement is over so it's time for a back scratch. ~

Abbie, Sadie and Sam went with me to the upper pasture gate but I told them to stay behind the gate. Abbie will listen but Sadie and Sam are young yet, still headstrong and think they know best. I had the horse whip with me and it has a reach of about 15 feet. I don't have to hit the dogs, all I have to do is whistle the whip over their heads and they run like the devil has been loosed on them. This is a good thing as it helps me keep them safe from a distance. Oh, don't get me wrong...I'm not adverse to popping them with the whip...better a pop with the whip than getting trampled by a horse but as the whistle of the whip still works, they are saving themselves the actual physical pain. The same premise works with the horses; they detest the whistle of the whip and will turn and run the other direction. This is good, especially when it's me and me alone standing in the field and they are running full tilt boogie toward me. There's no way I can hold my own with one horse, much less eight of the beasts.

I earned my supper tonight but the soup is a bit different this time.

~ Garbanzo Bean, Tomato, Artichoke Heart Soup ~

Oh, it still has garbanzo beans, tomatoes, artichoke hearts but I added some corn and saffron which gives it that lovely deep golden color. It was still served over home made croutons...this time cheese croutons...and topped with Parmesean cheese. I also stirred a spoonful of pesto into each bowl and, yes, it was BETTER than before! How can it be...but it was! I believe I could eat soup, at least, once a day and will freeze the leftovers for another meal another day.

For supper tonight we're having fresh corn sliced off the cob, put into a bowl with salt, pepper and butter, sliced tomatoes with pesto and provolone cheese, and, for desert, sliced peaches with the banana walnut bread. We usually drink milk, sometimes I'll have ice tea or water but that varies little. We don't drink sodas and only buy them when company expects to drink soda; our limestone water is so sweet, it seems disrespectful to drink soda pop. How can God's good water be improved upon? It cannot.

Any leftover corn will be made into corn chowder for tomorrow's lunch or supper.

~ Banana Walnut bread, sliced and ready for the toaster ~

~ Miss Maggie, in the Granny Smith apple tree ~

~ Miss Emma in the Granny Smith apple tree ~

Miss Emma stays in during the night. Her cold is better, she's still receiving Lysine twice a day and she's improving, slowly. She's a quick little thing, waiting at the door to dart out once the door has been opened for the dogs. The puppies take their time, as do the older dogs, when the door is open. They must reach out their muzzles first, testing the air, seeing if there's anything worthwhile in going OUT, then, and only then, do they, sometimes, stretch a paw toward the porch. Most of the time, they need a little nudge in the nether regions to help them decide.

Today, Miss Emma, Miss Maggie and Miss Maddie, great friends three, chased each other around and around, up the fence post, into the apple tree, down the fence post, down the driveway to the barn...NO! You are NOT to go to the barn, the barn cats will have your guts for garters and may manage to chase you into the road. Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all! So, I allowed the dogs to "sort of" chase the kittens back up the driveway, towards the house and the kittens decided climbing the apple tree would be lots of fun. They look like little pixies as they chase each other around the tree limbs, although I couldn't get Miss Maddie in the photo. Miss Emma and Miss Maggie are photo hounds...so to speak...and took up all the room in the image.

~ Studio Wildflowers ~

Today the studio wildflowers include Queen Anne's Lace as well as a bunch of other flowers I either can't remember their names or don't know their names. Still, it's beautiful, isn't it?

I'm sorry but I have to end on a sad note; today we say good-bye to Miss Kitty. The cancer is much worse and has spread not only to her bones, in the form of growths, but also to her organs, specifically her lungs. She's begun to experience pain, is having difficulty breathing and, after thirteen good years, it's time. Dr. Anne will be here sometime today and the injections will be administered and she'll be laid to rest with all the other cats that have gone on before. It's always sad to say good-bye but I try and focus on the good years and the fact she was saved from the side of the road where surely she would have been killed. Miss Kitty has been a good lap kitty and has even shared our bed this week. She has born well the indignities of various dogs sharing her space and my life. Yes, I do know she's not a human but there's no doubt in my mind she'll be in heaven, with the others, waiting on me. Jesus' lap will have to do until I go home. -smile-
~ My Beloved Miss Kitty ~

Blessings ~ Miss Kitty ~ another beautiful day ~ sadness to balance the joy ~ expectations ~ heaven ~ Miss Maggie, Miss Maddie, Miss Emma ~ horses ~ more rain for the thirsty earth ~